When most people think of an accident between a car and a pedestrian, they assume that the driver was responsible. After all, pedestrians “always have the right of way.”
No matter who was at fault, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports that about 5,000 pedestrians in the US die every year in vehicular accidents, and an additional 76,000 sustain injuries.
Drivers who are drunk, texting, speeding or not paying attention are frequently the cause of accidents with pedestrians. Unsafe conditions such as broken sidewalks, missing crosswalks or other pedestrian safety structures may be the fault of local government or the Department of Transportation.
Pedestrians may also be injured in other places as a result of a third party (i.e., walking by a construction site.)
But there are times when the pedestrian, not the driver, is the cause of an accident.
The Pedestrian And The Right Of Way
Most people believe that pedestrians always have the right of way, but that’s not always true.
The pedestrian is in greater danger in a car accident, but he or she also has a duty to exercise reasonable care on streets and roadways, just like a driver. Ignoring that duty of care creates negligence on the part of the driver or the pedestrian.
A pedestrian can cause an accident with a number of negligent actions:
- Not paying attention, usually walking while texting, reading, or looking at a smartphone instead of where they are going
- Crossing against traffic lights, when a red light is indicating “Do Not Walk”
- Jaywalking, or walking outside of a crosswalk where a driver wouldn’t ordinarily see a pedestrian
- Walking under the influence, which can have the same results as someone who is driving drunk or inebriated.
- Walking where pedestrians are prohibited from walking, such as freeways, bridges, on-ramps and off-ramps and other areas where a driver is traveling at higher rates of speed. Drivers don’t expect pedestrians in areas like these except in emergency situations, and a pedestrian will likely be held responsible for any accidents that result.
Comparative Fault In Pedestrian Accidents
Missouri’s pure comparative fault laws means that parties involved in an accident are assigned a percentage of fault. If one individual is solely responsible, he or she is assigned 100% of the fault. However, shared percentages means that one party can collect even if the fault is shared.
A pedestrian who is assigned 25% of fault can still collect damages, even though only 75% of the fault is assigned to the driver. In the reverse, if the pedestrian is 60% at fault, the driver can still attempt to collect from the pedestrian, since the driver only shares 40% of the fault. Proving you were not at fault will likely involve evidence such as video from traffic cameras, witness statements and police reports.
Unfortunately, it may be difficult to collect from a pedestrian who was severely injured in an accident. You may find it easier and more beneficial to file a claim with your own insurance company for any damages.
Kansas City’s Pedestrian Accident Firm
Since 1918, The Popham Law Firm has been representing people just like you in all types of personal injury cases. We’ll be happy to review your case, let you know if you have one, and how to proceed. Call us at (844) 243-2288, or use our online contact form to get started.