VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

Are pedestrians ever at fault for an accident?

Throughout a lifetime, most people have been on both sides of the situation. Most of us have been the pedestrian jogging across the street, trying to make the most of the crosswalk light that (probably) changed while crossing. Most of us have also been the driver, forced to slam on the brakes for someone who was not paying attention.

Thankfully, most of the scenarios like this that play out every day only result in frustration. For a few, however, the same situation ends in damage and injuries.

This is what you should know about fault when it comes to car accidents with pedestrians.

The adage is false

Whether it was from a parent or a driver education teacher, you may have heard the phrase, “pedestrians always have the right of way.” The implication is that pedestrians can walk wherever they want without having to consider the cars on the road, and that is not the case.

Just like cars must obey traffic signals, pedestrians do as well. Additionally, everyone on the road should be looking out for each other to prevent accidents.

There can be more than one

In some car accidents, the fault is clear. One driver’s bad act or negligence caused the collision, and that person should be responsible for any damage or injuries. The same is often also the case when a car hits a pedestrian. The driver should have seen the person in the street and stopped.

There are times, however, when the pedestrian shares at least some of the liability. A pedestrian who is jaywalking, for example, has contributed to the accident by not following the rules of the road.

It is important to note, that while a pedestrian may share some of the responsibility for a car accident, it is rare that a pedestrian is completely responsible for the accident. More likely, both parties would be liable for a part of the damage.

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