When it comes to car accidents involving an automobile and a pedestrian, the general public immediately assumes that the fault lies on the driver of the vehicle. This may probably stem from the belief that the pedestrian always has the right of way, although in a legal standpoint this is not always correct. There are situations where a pedestrian can be the one at-fault in a car accident, whether wholly or partially.
A pedestrian can recover damages or compensation if the driver is the one clearly at fault for the accident. This compensation will be provided by the driver or his or her insurance company. However, a pedestrian will not be able to get any compensation if he or she carries the burden of fault in the accident, and the driver can even sue them for damages or injuries stemming from the pedestrian:
- Disobeying traffic signals (crossing the street when the right traffic light is on)
- Walking on areas where pedestrians are not allowed (such as causeways, bridges, and highways)
- Coming into highways or streets while intoxicated, and
According to the website of the Dallas Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter, when fault is shared between the driver and the pedestrian, different states have their own rules that they follow regarding shared fault in accidents, all based on two basic legal concepts. First is the comparative negligence, where the injured person also has an amount of fault in causing or contributing to the accident. Pure comparative negligence, an injured person will receive compensation, although deductions according to the percent equal to their share of fault will be awarded. A variation called modified comparative negligence gives the injured person the right to collect compensation provided that the injured person has less than 50 percent fault in the accident.
Another type of shared fault is contributory negligence, where any injured person involved in the accident can’t file a lawsuit against one another if they have any contribution to the accident. Basically, if anyone is partially at fault for the accident, both parties will be held accountable for their own injuries and can only file a claim from their own respective insurance company and not against each other.
Determining fault in an accident regarding a pedestrian and a vehicle requires more than witness reports. It also includes explanations from both parties, police findings from the investigations, and applicable laws relevant in the situation. Proving fault can sometimes be difficult, therefore hiring lawyers is required.