When Is a Pedestrian At Fault?
Nearly every driver has heard that “pedestrians have the right of way.” It’s true that drivers have a responsibility to yield to pedestrians, but it is important for drivers to understand that, just because pedestrians have the right of way in most situations, that doesn’t mean that they are never liable for an accident.
Pedestrian traffic accidents can result in substantial physical, emotional, and financial damages. Sometimes drivers are liable for accident damages, but sometimes pedestrians are at fault for an accident. When this type of accident occurs, lawyer Daniel D. Moody, who serves Lakeland, FL, Winter Haven, FL, and surrounding areas, works with investigators to examine all the details that led up to a crash, so that he can determine who should be held liable for resulting losses.
Pedestrians and “Duty of Care”
Most personal injury lawsuits are based on a concept known as “duty of care.” Essentially, duty of care holds that everyone has a responsibility to exercise a reasonable level of care to minimize the risk of accidents and prevent others from harm. In terms of driving, drivers are responsible for operating their vehicle safely, obeying traffic laws, adhering to posted traffic signs and signals, and looking out for the safety of other drivers, passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
Duty of care does not just fall on drivers. Pedestrians should also exercise reasonable care to avoid accidents and injuries. This means that pedestrians are expected to obey traffic laws and other rules of the road, which may include crossing the street in designated areas, following posted traffic lights and signals, and walking on sidewalks rather than in the middle of the road.
If a pedestrian neglects their duty of care or acts recklessly and an accident occurs, they can be found at fault for the accident. Examples of pedestrian negligence that could lead to a pedestrian traffic accident include:
- Jaywalking (crossing the street between intersections)
- Crossing the street against a red light or “no crossing” sign
- Walking into the path of an oncoming vehicle
- Walking on roadways where pedestrians are prohibited
Proving Pedestrian Liability
To prove that a pedestrian is at fault for an accident, involved drivers must present appropriate evidence. Daniel D. Moody works with drivers in the Lakeland area to demonstrate pedestrian liability following an accident. Potential sources of evidence include:
- Photos or video of the accident or accident scene
- Witness testimony
- Police report
- Expert testimony
Shared Accident Liability
There are situations where both a driver and pedestrian may be held partially at fault for an accident. For instance, if a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle after entering a crosswalk against a red light, but the driver was speeding at the time of the crash, they are likely to share accident liability.
In cases of shared liability, comparative negligence comes into play. Comparative negligence allows injured parties to pursue compensation for accident damages, but the amount awarded is lessened by the degree of fault. For example, a pedestrian who suffers $100,000 in damages may only be awarded $60,000 if they are found 40 percent at fault for the accident ($100,000 - $40,000, or 40 percent).
If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident and believe that another party is at fault, lawyer Daniel D. Moody can help you explore your right to financial compensation for accident damages. To discuss the details of your case with our legal team, contact our law firm online or call (863) 284-9090 at your earliest convenience.