Who Is at Fault When an Accident Involves a Pedestrian?

Pedestrian Accident
Pedestrian Accident

Everyone has different preferences in how they get around town, but at some point, everyone ends up being a pedestrian. While overall car accident fatalities have been declining around the country, the number of people who have been struck and killed while walking has been steadily increasing. Statistics show that Texas is one of the top states for pedestrian deaths. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there was a more than 3% increase in the number of pedestrians killed in traffic crashes in 2018, totaling 6,283 deaths. But who is at fault in a car accident involving a pedestrian?

Most people think that in accidents between cars and pedestrians, the driver of the vehicle must be at fault. We were all taught that the pedestrian always has the right of way; however, from a legal standpoint that may not be true. In a car accident involving a pedestrian, the pedestrian can be at wholly or partially at fault.

How Is Fault Determined?

According to Texas Transportation Code, Title 7 §552, pedestrians do not have legal access to all roadways. In many parts of Texas, pedestrians are not allowed to walk across highways, bridges, and busy roads in high-traffic areas. Roads where pedestrians do have access contain rules, traffic signals, and signs that show pedestrians how and when to cross a street or intersection.

After a car accident that involves a pedestrian occurs, the police / emergency services should be called right away and medical attention should be given to anyone involved in the accident that was injured. The police will speak to all parties involved, including witnesses to the accident, and will put the information obtained into a police report. The police will note if the driver of the vehicle broke any relevant traffic laws and/or if the pedestrian had violated any city or state laws.

If the driver of the vehicle that hit the pedestrian is clearly at fault for the accident, the pedestrian should have no issues receiving fair compensation from the driver’s insurance carrier for the damages caused. The pedestrian may still need experienced legal representation to ensure the insurance company does not attempt to under-compensate them.

A pedestrian may be found partially or fully at fault for the car accident if they were:

  • Crossing an intersection when there is a “Do Not Walk” signal
  • Entering the street while intoxicated
  • Jaywalking (crossing the street outside of a crosswalk)
  • Walking in areas where pedestrian access is prohibited (freeways, bridges, etc.)

In some rare cases, the pedestrian may be fully at fault for the accident and they will not be able to recover compensation for damages that occurred. The driver could turn around and sue the pedestrian for compensation for their injuries and any damages to the vehicle.

Shared Fault in a Car Accident Involving a Pedestrian

Even if a pedestrian does some of the above behaviors to cause a car crash, the driver of the vehicle can also still be partially at fault. If the driver was speeding – even if the pedestrian was jaywalking – the driver would have been breaking a traffic law and would not have left enough time to react to the pedestrian walking into the road.

When both the driver and the pedestrian are found to be at fault, what happens? Texas courts may assign proportionate responsibility and compensation to both sides based on each side’s amount of responsibility. Whether you are the pedestrian or the driver, to receive partial or full compensation for your injuries, the court has to determine that you were less than 50% responsible for the accident.

South Texas Car Accident Attorneys

Car accidents involving a pedestrian can be complex and stressful situations. Whether you were the driver or the pedestrian, you should not have to handle this alone. By choosing experienced legal representation, the victim won’t have to worry about what steps to take to receive fair compensation for the accident. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an auto pedestrian accident, contact the Weslaco car accident lawyers at Ezequiel Reyna, Jr. Law Office today to discuss your case. There is limited time to act following a Texas car accident, so don’t delay.

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