Can Pedestrians Be at Fault for Car Accidents?

Were you involved in an auto/pedestrian accident? Even in this situation, it's important to determine who was at fault and who wasn't. Getting this part right affects compensation for your injuries, medical treatment, and future recovery. 

But can a pedestrian be at fault when hit by a car? In fact, they can. Here's what you need to know about this.

Does a Pedestrian Always Have the Right of Way?

There's plenty of confusion surrounding the idea that a pedestrian always has the right of way. In fact, the truth is that they do have the right of way most of the time. However, this doesn't mean pedestrians can act however they want without any legal consequence. 

Pedestrians generally have the right of way when they are following the rules of the road. Crossing a street at a marked or unmarked intersection? Pedestrians have the right of way. Jaywalking in the middle of traffic? Generally not. 

Can a Pedestrian Be at Fault?

Because a pedestrian does not have a blanket right of way on the road, they can be at fault for their own accident. 

The primary base of fault for a car accident is known as the duty of care. Each person has a duty of care when sharing the road. The driver's duty of care is to act reasonably to avoid causing harm to others. The pedestrian's duty of care is to act reasonably to avoid harm to themselves. 

If a pedestrian fails to act on their own behalf, such as by crossing against the traffic signal, they have breached their duty of care and can be held at fault for the consequences. 

Can Both Driver and Pedestrian Be at Fault?

Some auto accidents are caused by only one party or one action. However, many are caused by more than one thing. So a pedestrian and a driver who both breached their respective duties of care can both be partially at fault. 

How might this work? Perhaps you, the pedestrian, are walking on a section of the road where pedestrians are not allowed. But the driver who hit you was speeding or texting on their phone. Both persons can often be considered partly at fault. Damages for your injuries may be reduced or certain insurance policies may be required to cover costs. 

Where Should You Start?

Whether you were the driver or the pedestrian, one of the most important steps you'll take is to determine who was at fault and how you are affected by this. Start by meeting with a car accident lawyer in your state to learn more.