Assigning Fault in Pedestrian Accidents

An accident in which a pedestrian is struck by a moving vehicle can be extremely devastating for the involved parties. Because of the much greater weight and force of the vehicle, the pedestrian will likely suffer serious injuries and may even be killed.

Although it is commonly assumed that any vehicular accident involving a pedestrian is entirely the fault of the vehicle’s driver, that is not always the case. There are a number of things a pedestrian can do that may cause or contribute to an accident.

  • Jaywalking – If a pedestrian attempts to cross a street in the middle of a block or in another undesignated area, the driver will not be expecting them and may not see them in time to avoid a collision.

  • Ignoring Crosswalk Signs or Traffic Signals – Even if a pedestrian crosses the street in a designated area, failure to yield to yellow traffic lights or blinking crosswalk signals may place them in the path of moving vehicles.

  • Walking in Forbidden Areas – Pedestrians may ignore signs barring them from walking along certain roadways or in restricted areas. For instance, a pedestrian may be struck while walking beside an interstate highway.

Driver Fault in Pedestrian Accidents

Despite the exceptions noted above, the majority of pedestrian/auto accidents are the fault of the vehicle’s driver. Since he/she is controlling a several thousand-pound mass of metal, he has the greater responsibility to avoid collisions. Unfortunately, drivers make a number of mistakes that can easily injure an unsuspecting pedestrian.

  • Driving Under the Influence – An obvious cause of any auto accident is an impaired driver. When someone gets behind the wheel without full control of their faculties, terrible things can happen.

  • Ignoring Traffic Signals – This can occur when a driver runs a red light, turns when pedestrian traffic has the right-of-way, or otherwise ignores the direction of a traffic signal.

  • Disregarding Crosswalks – A careless driver may neglect to slow for signs and pavement markings that indicate a pedestrian crosswalk.

  • Passing a School Bus – For unexplainable reasons, a driver in a hurry may pass a stopped school bus. Ignoring the flashing red light and other indications may cause the driver to strike a child who has just left the bus.

  • Careless Driving – Even if a pedestrian is in an inappropriate location, a driver should exercise reasonable caution to avoid a collision.