Who Is at Fault in a Pedestrian Accident?

crosswalk scene mom and sonDrivers must remain alert for potential dangers, including pedestrians. If a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle, it is easy to assume that the driver is at fault – but pedestrians sometimes bear some or all of the fault for these accidents.

If you were involved in a pedestrian accident that you think was not your fault, it is important to talk to an experienced car accident lawyer about your case. We can help explain how fault is determined, how California state laws impact this determination and your ability to pursue compensation.

Determining Fault in a Pedestrian-and-Vehicle Accident

In some collisions, the driver of the vehicle is clearly at fault, such as when the driver:

  • Ran a red light
  • Failed to stop at a crosswalk
  • Made a right turn without looking for pedestrians

However, there are also some situations where it is not as obvious who is at fault. The pedestrian may be at fault if he or she:

  • Was jaywalking at the time of the accident
  • Did not cross the road at a crosswalk even though one was available
  • Was impaired by alcohol or drugs
  • Was walking where pedestrian traffic is prohibited

The insurance adjuster may conduct an investigation to determine who was at fault for the accident. This investigation may include:

  • Talking to the motorist and the pedestrian
  • Talking to any witnesses
  • Reviewing the police report
  • Determining whether the speed limit was obeyed by the driver
  • Determining whether a crosswalk was available and used by the pedestrian

If the case goes to trial, the jury will likely be provided with these types of evidence for consideration.

Shared Fault in Pedestrian Accidents

Fault may also be shared between both parties. A combination of factors may cause an accident, such as the driver speeding and the pedestrian entering the roadway when it is not permitted.

If both parties share responsibility, rules regarding pure comparative negligence apply. Under this system, fault is divided between the parties involved. This rule allows personal injury victims to pursue compensation even if they were partially or mostly responsible for the accident.

However, each party’s recovery is reduced by his or her own share of fault. For example, if a pedestrian is 30 percent responsible for an accident and suffers $100,000 in damages, he or she can recover up to $70,000 since his or her award is reduced by 30 percent, or $30,000. This reduction is made by an insurance adjuster when making a settlement offer or by a jury when determining fault.

The term “pure" refers to the ability of each party to pursue some compensation even if he or she was more than 50 percent at fault. In other states, parties cannot pursue compensation if they were 50 percent or more at fault for the accident.

Contact a Lawyer for Assistance

If you were injured in a pedestrian accident, contact the Arnold Law Firm for assistance. Our injury attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation to determine your true degree of fault and help you receive the compensation you deserve for your medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.

Contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation with an experienced lawyer to discuss your case and learn about your legal options.

Call (916) 777-7777 or fill out our Free Case Evaluation form to get started.