Pedestrians can get into accidents no matter where they are, be it in the busy regions of a city or the suburbs. Once they start sharing the same road with vehicles, the risk becomes higher. But when a pedestrian accident occurs, who is held liable? Things can become complicated, especially if no eyewitnesses or clear proof can tell what happened. This article can help clarify who will be held accountable during this time.
Who Are The Pedestrians That Can Get Into Accidents?
Pedestrians include those who are walking, hiking, jogging, or running on or alongside the roadways. They’re more at risk of getting into accidents when areas lack structural barriers for their protection. Unless they’re bikers, most also don’t wear any protective gear, such as helmets and knee or elbow pads.
Who Can Be Held Liable In A Pedestrian Accident?
Proving liability is the primary legal concern once you get involved in a pedestrian-car accident. The responsible party will have to pay for damages. Most of the time, the parties will try to identify which has been negligent.
In proving negligence, a driver or pedestrian involved in a car accident must show that the person at fault is subject to the legal responsibility called the ‘duty of care.’ While pedestrians don’t owe drivers the same standard of care, everyone has a legal obligation to follow traffic laws. Everyone must have a sense of responsibility and use their common sense to determine what a reasonable person of sound mind and body should do in these situations.
When The Driver Is At Fault
In most accidents, the driver takes on the responsibility if they’ve engaged in negligent and reckless acts on the road. As a driver, you can be held liable because of the following:
- Drunk driving
- Running the lights
- Distracted driving
- Making improper turns
These activities have an element of negligence that breaches the duty of care. In some cases, pedestrian accidents can occur because of multiple vehicles, with one driver causing the event. If a car bumps into a vehicle in front of it, causing the vehicle to hit a pedestrian, the driver that caused the bumping can be held liable.
When The Pedestrian Is At Fault
It’s easy to assume that the pedestrian can never be at fault in an accident because they have the right of way. This legal right is granted by a property owner (the government, in this case). It means pedestrians have the legal right to use sidewalks, crosswalks, and roads on foot. The drivers must also follow safety rules to keep pedestrians safe, such as letting them use a crosswalk and stopping so that other drivers can see them and stop, too.
That said, pedestrians must follow the safety tips set by the relevant authority, such as following the rules of roads, signals, and signs; avoiding alcohol and drugs; and not crossing roadways when their senses are impaired. Ignoring pedestrian safety rules can make them partially responsible for the accident.
For example, the traffic lights are still green and vehicles are running, but you couldn’t wait and decided to cross the road anyway. When you put yourself in that position, you risk your life and that of the drivers, their passengers, and other pedestrians. Walking on non-designated crossroads is also dangerous.
Here are other reasons why a pedestrian could be at fault:
- Walking or crossing in areas where pedestrians are not allowed
- Running suddenly on the road while disregarding the vehicles
How To Prove Who Is At Fault
You can ask for the assistance of an experienced car accident lawyer, whether you’re a pedestrian or driver. Seeking the right evidence is crucial, and your attorney may use all or any of the following:
- Police report
- Eyewitness accounts and expert opinions
- Security and traffic camera footage
- Photographs of the accident
Your attorney will need these to create a strong case for you and pursue a claim with the insurance company. In other words, being able to acquire these, along with professional legal advice, will help you get the compensation and justice you deserve.
The responsible party in a pedestrian accident depends on the specific situation. It can be an irresponsible driver or pedestrian.
For instance, running a stoplight resulting in a collision makes a driver liable. On the other hand, a pedestrian crossing the street with the signal still in the green or while intoxicated makes them accountable. If you’re involved in a pedestrian accident, call an experienced attorney for legal help.