Am I at fault if a pedestrian becomes injured after walking into my car, when I have the right of way?

The popular belief that pedestrians always have the right of way has lead to an outright disregard for safety and rules among walkers, skaters, and bikers. A certain sense of entitlement has seemed to creep in and take over common logic among many pedestrians. They seem to think that they no longer have to be aware of traffic or follow traffic laws because vehicles should always stop for them no matter what.

Unfortunately for many reasons, this can’t be—and far too often isn’t—the case.

Imagine you’re driving through Georgetown’s campus, when all of a sudden your windshield is smashed by a football; a split second later, your car jerks and the right side goes up as if it ran over a speed bump. You slam on your brakes, hoping that it was just a tree branch or something inconsequential. But as you look behind you, you see a crowd gathering around a bloodied, half-drunken college student, grasping his leg and screaming in pain. You almost have a panic attack as you start to hear the sirens.

It all happened so fast. Are you really to blame?

Pedestrian vs. Driver Fault

In severe pedestrian accidents, the pedestrian usually suffers the worst injuries and is therefore considered the “victim,” while the driver of the car, who generally suffers less severe injuries, is perceived as the one at fault. However, this isn’t always true; depending on the circumstances and his actions, the pedestrian (no matter how severe his injuries) could have been the one whose negligence caused the accident.

Pedestrian’s Fault
  • When he disregards vehicle’s right of way
  • When he disregards traffic laws (jaywalking, walking against pedestrian signals, walking where pedestrians are prohibited, such as bridges, on ramps, shoulders, etc.)
  • When he didn’t practice reasonable care

Although reckless behavior by a pedestrian can cause a tragic accident, the driver of the car involved can also be at fault if he disregarded traffic laws that ultimately contributed to the collision.

Driver’s Fault
  • Driver hit pedestrian when the pedestrian had the right of way, was in a crosswalk, or had a “walk” signal
  • Driver had ample enough time to stop but was too distracted to see the pedestrian to avoid the crash
  • Driver was intoxicated
  • Speeding caused the driver not to see the pedestrian, or the high speed caused additional and worse trauma to the pedestrian
  • Driver fled the scene

No matter if you’re a pedestrian or a driver, practicing common sense and safety can help prevent serious accidents from occurring. However, sometimes in spite of all the precautions you take, you can’t control other people’s actions and poor decisions. That’s where we come in. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a pedestrian/car accident, we can help you file a legal claim to get the justice you deserve. Don’t let the guilty party get away with it.

Contact us today for a free consultation.

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