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Who is at Fault in a Pedestrian Accident?

Mixing pedestrians and vehicles can often be a dangerous combination. The well-known rule that the pedestrian has the right of way is most often accurate, but there are certain times when it’s not. In the event of a car accident with a pedestrian, determining who is at fault depends on the details of the incident.

According to All Law, all drivers have what is called a duty of care. This means that the “driver is held to the same standard of what a normal, careful and prudent person would do in the same circumstances.” For example, drivers being cautious and responsible operate their vehicles with extra precaution when a pedestrian is nearby. A person may be driving the speed limit, but if he or she sees a toddler coming into the road, duty of care should lead the driver to slow down and come to a stop.

A pedestrian can be held liable for an accident when the vehicle is driving at the speed limit and the pedestrian acts in a careless way that makes it impossible for the driver to avoid hitting the individual. A pedestrian jumping out in front of a moving vehicle or walking the street at night wearing dark clothing are both examples of pedestrian carelessness. In these circumstances, a driver may be unable to prevent an accident, and therefore the fault would lie with the pedestrian.

There are times when a judge or jury may decide that the pedestrian and driver are equally at fault in an accident, indicating that both parties acted with negligence. Guidelines for accident liability differ from state to state, as does the amount in damages that each party is responsible for paying.

According to Nolo, “Hitting a pedestrian while driving a car is a scary occurrence, but not uncommon. According to statistics gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 60,000 pedestrians were injured in traffic accidents in 2006. Hitting a pedestrian at a speed of over 30 miles per hour results in more serious injuries and fatalities—yet a driver can severely disable a pedestrian in a crash where the driver is traveling only 10 miles per hour.”

To learn more information regarding pedestrian accidents, read our article: “What to Do Immediately Following a Pedestrian Accident”.

**NOTE – this article and all content at Injurylawcolorado.com is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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