In many cases when a car hits a pedestrian, the driver who struck the pedestrian is deemed at fault after an accident. This is especially the case when a pedestrian is hit while in a crosswalk or not on the road.
That being said, in some scenarios, a pedestrian can be found partially at fault for an accident if they were not obeying the rules of the road.
How Fault is Determined
The person held liable for the expenses associated with a crash is the one whose negligent action led to the accident. Negligence involves four main elements that can help identify the party that can be held at fault:
- Duty of care: What are the expectations for both parties to keep each other safe?
- Breach of duty: Which party acted thoughtlessly or recklessly?
- Causation: Did that thoughtless or reckless action cause injury?
- Damages: If so, the negligent party can be held responsible.
Our pedestrian accident lawyers evaluate each case this way, pinpointing the negligent act that set off the chain of events. In some cases, it is a driver’s negligence, but pedestrians can also behave in reckless ways.
When a Driver is at Fault
Any number of negligent behaviors can lead to a collision between a car and a pedestrian, such as:
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving
- Failure to yield
- Improper turns
- Running lights or signs
These all may result in the driver being considered at fault. According to the elements of negligence, many of the above behaviors represent a breach of duty of care. Someone who turned on red without checking a crosswalk, striking a person, was not exercising proper care.
Rideshares increasingly pose risks to pedestrians, especially at pick-up and drop-off locations. Distracted driving plays a particular role in rideshare-pedestrian accidents; drivers are focused on the GPS, rideshare app, or texting, leaving them at fault.
When Another Driver is at Fault
A pedestrian accident may involve more than one car. For instance, a crash involving two cars may push one vehicle upon a sidewalk or into a crosswalk, striking a pedestrian. In that case, the driver who caused the accident can be held liable, even though they were not the one who hit the pedestrian.
When the Pedestrian is at Fault
Pedestrians can be guilty of their own negligence, such as:
- Being under the influence
- Being distracted, like texting while walking
- Crossing outside a crosswalk
- Darting into traffic unexpectedly
For example, a drunk pedestrian who suddenly stumbles into the street doesn’t leave a driver time to stop. Although the pedestrian was injured, their reckless action caused the crash. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that the pedestrian was intoxicated in 33 percent of fatal pedestrian accidents studied.
The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety points out that jaywalking is not illegal in most places, but pedestrians must still yield to traffic. As a result, while crossing outside a designated area may not be illegal or negligent behavior on its own, failing to check for traffic can leave a pedestrian at fault for being hit.
When Another Driver is Involved
Just as a second driver can be held liable despite not hitting a pedestrian, so too can a pedestrian be held liable for accidents involving other vehicles. For instance, if a pedestrian caused a crash that caused other collisions, the pedestrian can be held liable for part or all of those expenses.
When a Third Party is at Fault
Sometimes, when a pedestrian is hit by a car, neither party is at fault. The driver’s tire may have blown. A nearby construction site may have created a hazard that caused the crash.
These other parties may not be the obvious culprits at the time of an accident. Still, our team of pedestrian accident lawyers evaluates the circumstances of your crash to learn more.
Potential Liable Third Parties
Liable third parties could include:
- City or municipality
- Car designer
- Auto parts manufacturer
- Private property owner
- Construction company
- Trucking company
- Taxi or driving service
In some of these scenarios, the driver may have behaved negligently. However, the driver might work for a larger company that takes on the liability, such as a cab or rideshare service.
The latter can have more protections that may clear them of liability, though. Likewise, a city’s laws may also protect them from being sued, even if poor road or walkway maintenance, lack of signage or lighting, or other negligence contributed to the accident.
We Can Help Make Sense of Your Pedestrian Accident
When you call the team at Kaine Law, you receive a free consultation to ask questions about your pedestrian crash.
With this consultation, we can help you better understand who can be held at fault after a car strikes a pedestrian, as well as advise you on how to pursue damages. Call our office today for more.