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The old adage of “pedestrians have the right of way” is true in most cases, but not in all cases. Just as cars have to obey the rules and laws of the road, pedestrians have their own set of rules and laws to follow. What happens if a pedestrian caused an accident? Known as the Pedestrians’ Rights and Duties in the state of California, these sections under the California Vehicle Code (CVC) outline the legal responsibilities that pedestrians must follow when out for a walk or doing something as simple as crossing the street.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), California had 858 pedestrian fatalities, the highest number across the US for 2017. Nationally, there were 6,206 pedestrians killed and more than 76,000 injured in 2019 — and not all of them were the driver’s fault.
Crosswalk laws are in place to not just protect pedestrians but also the driver. When it comes to determining pedestrian accident liability the answer depends on the circumstances that caused the accident, including whether the pedestrian was jaywalking or if the driver was speeding.
Can a Pedestrian be at Fault?
In cases where a pedestrian is the cause of an accident, it’s important to note where the accident took place. Pedestrians do not have the right of way when crossing a highway and must yield to oncoming traffic. If you hit a pedestrian, is it always your fault? This is a common question that drivers have. The answer isn’t always straightforward and it depends on where the incident took place, like as a crosswalk or in the middle of a street.
A pedestrian accident case might not always rule the driver at fault, especially if a pedestrian is the cause of harming more than just the driver. It’s not uncommon for an accident to occur due to a jaywalker stepping off a curb causing the driver to swerve and hit another vehicle or person. In this case, the pedestrian at fault has to pay a fine and may be held liable for any injuries and damages sustained by all parties injured due to the pedestrian’s actions.
The majority of pedestrian accidents also happen at night when visibility is low and a person is wearing dark colored clothing. It’s also important to know if the pedestrian was intoxicated at the time of the accident. According to the NHTSA, 32% of fatal pedestrian accidents occurred when the pedestrian had a blood alcohol level more than .08 g/dL. Although it’s not illegal to be intoxicated while walking, alcohol does increase the chances of a pedestrian causing traffic accidents. If a pedestrian is at fault for an accident, then they are responsible to pay for any damages, including their own medical expenses.
Pedestrians Can Be Legally at Fault for Causing a Crash
According to the Pedestrians’ Rights and Duties, drivers must yield to pedestrians at all controlled and uncontrolled intersections. Other than that, it’s the pedestrian’s responsibility to take due care by yielding to oncoming traffic and following the traffic lights for their own safety and the safety of others. This includes not holding-up traffic by standing in controlled or uncontrolled intersections.
Pedestrians can also be at fault if they cause an accident while entering a bicycle only lane. If there’s an adequate adjacent sidewalk, then pedestrians must stay in their own designated walkway to avoid the risk of causing an accident.
No matter who is at fault for an accident, it’s the responsibility of everyone involved, including the driver, to stay on the scene to report their side of the incident. However, if the driver does leave the scene, they can be held liable for leaving the scene of an accident.
If you’re a driver with questions about a pedestrian accident case, there are legal options available for you. The first step is contacting a law firm with an experienced pedestrian injury lawyer who understands the complexities of your case.
If you ever find yourself the victim of a hit and run accident there are definitely legal options available to you, regardless who is at fault. An expert pedestrian injury attorney will be able to provide more information about suing a hit and run driver.
How Can I Find a Pedestrian Accident Attorney?
Avrek Law is here to help you understand your legal options if you need a pedestrian injury attorney or if you have questions about what your options are if a pedestrian struck your vehicle. The consultation is free, and you’ll get expert advice from a law firm with more than $1 billion recovered in more than 10,000 cases. View one of our locations and contact Avrek Law for a free consultation. We want to hear more about your pedestrian accident case!
Check out this video about pursuing a successful pedestrian accident lawsuit.