If a driver hits a pedestrian not in a crosswalk, they’re most likely at-fault for the pedestrian’s injuries. However, there can be scenarios where the pedestrian is considered at-fault, depending on the case and location of the accident.
Because liability is subjective, whether you’re the pedestrian or the driver, you need a personal injury lawyer to represent you. How you present your case determines the settlement amount you earn. You need an attorney who specializes in pedestrian accidents to further prove your liability.
When is the Driver At-Fault?
Drivers owe a larger duty of care to pedestrians, whether they’re on a crosswalk or not. This means drivers have a larger legal obligation to follow the rules of the road compared to pedestrians.
People walking have a shorter reaction time to a speeding vehicle compared to the other way around. Pedestrians also risk far more damages when encountering a negligent driver. Many states like Massachusetts have duty of care laws that outline this discrepancy between driver and pedestrian.
Examples of violating duty of care while driving include:
- Excessive speeding while driving at night
- Leaving the scene after hitting a pedestrian
- Texting while driving
- Failure to yield to those crossing a street or standing by an intersection
- Failure to follow traffic laws like yielding during stop signs
Even though the driver is more likely liable during a pedestrian accident, there are fringe scenarios where the pedestrian is more responsible.
When is the Pedestrian At-Fault?
Pedestrians may be found at-fault for an accident if they exhibited gross negligence to cause the crash and their injuries. If the driver was found violating a traffic law during an accident, they may be found at-fault due to their duty of care. But pedestrians also have a duty of care they must follow for other drivers.
If pedestrians egregiously violate their duty of care, they may be found at-fault despite their damages. Examples of pedestrians violating their duty of care include:
- Running into aggressively busy traffic
- Walking under the influence in the middle of the road
- Violation of pedestrian traffic laws, like laying down on the road
- Walking while distracted, like texting while walking
- Crossing dangerous environments, like bridges and crossroads
- Excessive jaywalking
Pedestrians have more to lose when caught in a crash with a two-ton vehicle, but don’t forget to avoid these risky behaviors. If the court deems you slightly liable for the crash, your settlement amount is reduced.
What is Jaywalking?
Jaywalking is when pedestrians cross the road outside a crosswalk or designated walking area. Some states like Georgia prohibit jaywalking on their roads, as stated in their legislature:
“(a) Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right of way to all vehicles upon the roadway unless he has already, and under safe conditions, entered the roadway.”
Some states like California have lenient laws on jaywalking, even allowing pedestrians to jaywalk on specific occasions. California specifically enacted a jaywalking law that allows pedestrians to cross roads if there is no immediate danger to their being.
Find out your state’s jaywalking rules to determine how much you’re at-fault for an accident.
How to Determine Fault in a Pedestrian Accident
The first step in determining fault in a pedestrian accident is knowing if your area’s an at-fault or no-fault state. An at-fault state only requires parties to pay for the damages they’re responsible for. A no-fault state requires all parties to file a claim for their own damages, regardless of who’s at-fault.
Determining fault in a no-fault state like Massachusetts is simpler because your insurance company will pay for the damages, even those you didn’t directly cause.
This type of negligence allows both parties to carry responsibility during a pedestrian accident. There are several different types of negligence laws that apply throughout the United States. Find out how your state handles pedestrian accidents by talking with a legal professional in your state.
Find a Personal Injury Lawyer to Protect You in a Pedestrian Accident
If you were a pedestrian that was hit outside of a crosswalk, contact a personal injury attorney as soon as you can. Even if you were jaywalking, depending on the case, you may still qualify for damages. Drivers carry a heavier duty of care compared to pedestrians, and simple violations may count for a higher settlement amount.
Contact our network of 500+ law firms all throughout the United States. Most of our personal injury attorneys work under contingency fees, meaning your legal fees are free until you get your settlement in the mail.
Make sure to call soon because the statute of limitations is ticking at the date of your accident. If the deadline to file your claim closes, you won’t be able to file for the same claim again. To start your free consultation, complete this short evaluation form or call 888-927-3080 to speak to a representative soon.
Jan Reburiano is a content writer and SEO specialist for law firms focusing on personal injury, disability, employment law, among other practices. He has written and edited numerous articles and created commercial spots for broadcasters that you can find in his LinkedIn. Jan currently lives in Los Angeles, California while writing for clients from around the United States.