When Is a Pedestrian at Fault for a Car Accident?

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Pedestrians crossing a crosswalk when they do not have the signal and may be at fault for an accident.

Although it’s generally known that “pedestrians have the right of way,” this does not mean that pedestrians cannot be held liable or partially liable for causing an accident. The laws of negligence typically determine a party’s percentage of fault in an accident. Both pedestrians and drivers are responsible for obeying traffic laws and exercising reasonable care so as not to injure another party or cause catastrophic circumstances.

Have you or a loved one been involved in a pedestrian-car accident? Contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Tatum & Atkinson, ‘the Heavy Hitters,’ to receive your free, no-obligation consultation by calling us at (800) 529-0804 or contacting us online.

What Happens if a Pedestrian Caused an Accident?

If a pedestrian jumps out in front of a car, giving a driver no room to stop safely, they can be held 100% liable for the resulting accident. Likewise, when pedestrians fail to exercise reasonable care when crossing parking lots, highways, or roads, they can be held at fault or partly at fault when involved in an accident, even if the pedestrian wasn’t injured. For example, suppose a pedestrian jumps in front of a vehicle, and the car swerves to avoid hitting the pedestrian and causes an accident. In that case, the pedestrian can be held liable for the accident.

When Is a Pedestrian at Fault for a Car Accident?

North Carolina is an at-fault state, meaning when an accident occurs fault will need to be determined  in order to receive compensation for damages. A pedestrian can be held either fully or partially liable for an accident.

Pedestrians may be held liable for a collision when the following circumstances occur:

  • When a pedestrian crosses the road without looking for traffic
  • When a pedestrian crosses the street outside of a crosswalk or street corner
  • When a pedestrian crosses the street while drunk or high
  • When a pedestrian fails to obey traffic signals
  • When a pedestrian jumps in front of a car
  • When a pedestrian walks in areas where pedestrians are prohibited

If you were involved in an auto accident as a pedestrian, you will want to contact a North Carolina personal injury attorney for a free, no-obligation legal consultation. An attorney will be able to help determine fault in a pedestrian accident.

Pedestrian Damages

If you have been hit by a vehicle while walking due to the driver’s negligence, you may be able to recover many of the damages drivers do when involved in a multi-vehicle accident. The NHTSA reports that over 76,000 pedestrians are injured annually. The following safety precautions can help decrease your injury risk while walking.

  •   When walking at night, increase visibility by carrying a flashlight and/or wearing reflective clothing
  •   Cross streets only at designated crosswalks when it is time to walk
  •   When possible, choose to walk on sidewalks or pathways instead of on the road.
  •   Don’t choose to walk when intoxicated – instead, call a rideshare service, such as Lyft or Uber.

Contributory Negligence

It is easy to believe that drivers are automatically at fault when involved in an accident with pedestrians. Most people have heard the saying that “Pedestrians ALWAYS have the right of way.” However, pedestrians can be negligent too. North Carolina is one of only a handful of states which follow an all-or-nothing legal rule known as contributory negligence. Under this stringent legal rule, if a party contributed even 1% to an accident, they will be unable to receive compensation. As this rule can make receiving compensation from a pedestrian accident extremely complex, it is best to discuss the unique circumstances surrounding your case with an Experienced North Carolina car accident attorney right away.

Pedestrian Accident Liability

One or more parties may be liable for a pedestrian car accident, including one or more of the following:

  •   The drivers of the car involved in the accident
  •   Employer of the driver involved in the accident, if driving a company vehicle
  •   A pedestrian
  •   A government agency that failed to maintain a road or crosswalk

How Much is a Pedestrian Accident Claim Worth?

As each car crash involving a pedestrian is unique, it is impossible to predict how much a claim may be worth. The value of a claim will consider the following:

  •   The extent and severity of your injuries
  •   Medical expenses
  •   Future medical expense
  •   Lost wages
  •   Lost earning capacity
  •   Pain and suffering

While economic damages such as medical expenses and lost income are easy to calculate, intangible damages such as pain and suffering are more difficult to enumerate. An experienced personal injury attorney can help determine your case’s worth.

Pedestrian-Car Accident Liability

If you or a loved one have been injured due to a pedestrian-car accident, it can be a devastating experience. Injuries from these accidents can be significant, resulting in substantial medical expenses, lost wages, or even death. In addition, pedestrian-car accident cases can be complex. For example, what occurs when a pedestrian walks on a roadway with no sidewalk, if walkways are improperly marked, or if signals are out of order? It is best to discuss the unique circumstances of your case with an experienced attorney to see what options you may have.

Do Pedestrians Have Right-of-Way in North Carolina?

When it comes to pedestrians crossing the road or walking alongside it, generally, pedestrians have the right-of-way over vehicles when crossing the street. However, North Carolina law also provides that the pedestrian must exercise reasonable care when crossing the road (e.g., not leaving the sidewalk into the path of an oncoming vehicle). As this area of personal injury law can become murky, it is best to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your case’s facts.

What Happens When a Pedestrian Causes a Collision?

Although many pedestrian-car collisions are due to drivers’ negligence, this is not always the case. For example, in North Carolina, a pedestrian may only recover compensation in a lawsuit against a driver when they did not contribute to the accident due to contributory negligence laws. For example, suppose a pedestrian steps in front of a moving vehicle leaving the driver with no way to avoid contact. In that case, the pedestrian may be liable for the resulting accident. Likewise, they may be held responsible if a pedestrian fails to exercise reasonable care when walking and is distracted or influenced by drugs or alcohol.

The Dangers of Distracted Walking

As pedestrian accidents increase annually, this is thought to be due to the rise of cell phone and electronics usage. Pedestrians are responsible for being diligent, observing, and following the law as drivers. Unfortunately, texting or wearing headphones while walking through parking lots or intersections can have disastrous consequences. In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has shown that in the past seven years, the number of pedestrians being treated in the emergency room due to distracted walking has quadrupled.

Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

You may feel worried, frustrated, or confused if you have been involved in a pedestrian accident. It is common to wonder who is responsible for paying your medical expenses or wonder who will be liable for paying for someone’s collision-related damages. An experienced attorney can answer your legal questions, advise you on your best options, and help determine who is at fault. Although both pedestrians and drivers can practice safe habits, accidents can still occur, and you should never have to pay for another’s negligence.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a pedestrian accident, don’t delay reaching out to the law offices of Tatum & Atkinson, ‘the Heavy Hitters,’ today to see what we can do for you. You will receive a free, no-obligation case evaluation with one of our experienced pedestrian accident attorneys to discuss what your legal options are and what steps to take next. Here at Tatum & Atkinson, the ‘Heavy Hitters’, we accept pedestrian accident cases on a contingency fee basis. This means you will never have to pay attorneys fees out of pocket, and we will not get paid unless you win. Contact us today by calling us at (800) 529-0804 or contacting us online  to receive your free case evaluation to see what we can do to help you.