5 Factors That Impact Fault In A Pedestrian Accident

Pedestrians often take the brunt of damages when involved in an accident with a vehicle, but that doesn't mean they are automatically free of fault. There are several factors that are used to determine who is at fault in a pedestrian-vehicular accident. 

1. Right Of Way

It's a common fallacy that pedestrians always have the right of way. Although right of way does tend to favor pedestrians, sometimes the car has the right way. For example, at lighted crosswalks, the right of way is determined by the lights, so a pedestrian crossing on a "no walk" light will likely be at fault. Right of way can also vary depending on local laws, as in some areas pedestrians are free to cross at will while in others they must be at a corner or marked crosswalk. 

2. Traffic Flow

In areas without a dedicated sidewalk or pedestrian lane, the law dictates where pedestrians should walk in relation to traffic. Typically the proper place to walk is facing traffic so that you are walking toward oncoming cars and can see if there are any hazards approaching. Be aware that specific situations can override this, though, such as if there is signage indicating that pedestrians should only walk on one side of the road. 

3. Reckless Walking

Although most people know about reckless driving, it is also possible to be considered a reckless pedestrian, and this can impact fault. Examples of reckless walking include walking under the influence of drugs or alcohol, walking while texting, stepping off curbs, or wandering off the sidewalk without warning. A pedestrian can sometimes be found at fault if the accident would have been avoided if reckless walking wasn't at play. 

4. Duty of Care

Drivers are expected to maintain a duty of care when behind the wheel. This means keeping an eye out for potential pedestrians approaching crosswalks and intersections and yielding to them when required by law. Pedestrians must also maintain a duty of care, which includes not stepping off a curb without first briefly yielding to make sure they are visible to any oncoming traffic. 

5. Shared Fault

In some cases, both the driver and the pedestrian can share fault, and the degree shared can vary. For example, a driver can be ruled 75 percent responsible if they were driving recklessly or speeding, but the pedestrian may be found 25 percent responsible if they were texting and stepped into traffic without yielding first. How shared fault is applied varies depending on case specifics and local laws. 

Contact a pedestrian accidents lawyer for more information.