The old adage “pedestrians have the right of way” may hold true in most cases, but it is not always accurate. In a vehicle vs. pedestrian accident, there are times when the pedestrian is at fault, or (more common) the driver and pedestrian both share some responsibility for the accident.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that approximately 76,000 pedestrians were injured in the United States in the year 2012, and 4,743 were killed. According to a study regarding pedestrian deaths, our beautiful state of Colorado had 247 pedestrian deaths alone over a five year period from 2008 to 2012.
When determining who is at fault in a pedestrian accident, sometimes it is very obvious and other times it’s not. For example, the driver is obviously at fault if they ran a red light or failed to stop at a crosswalk. Liability becomes more difficult to determine, however, if a pedestrian crossed a road when they shouldn’t have and the driver was speeding well above the limit. Who’s to blame then?
As NOLO states, the law of negligence comes into play when determining any personal injury claim, including pedestrian accidents. Both the pedestrian and the driver are expected to obey traffic laws and use a reasonable level of care. If either party fails to use a reasonable amount of care while crossing the street or when behind the wheel, he or she could be held partly liable for the accident.
There are also times when an accident is considered a “shared fault” accident, wherein both parties are to blame. In this situation, depending on the state where the collision occurred, the injured pedestrian and negligent driver may have to split costs 50/50 – or it could be determined that one person was 75% responsible and the other was 25% at fault, meaning they will each have to pay a comparative amount of the total damages.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian accident in Denver, Aurora or elsewhere in Colorado – as either the driver or person on foot – contact pedestrian and auto accident attorney Mack Babcock for a free consultation.
For more information regarding pedestrian accident cases, visit our knowledge center.
As your fellow pedestrians, cyclists and drivers, the Babcock legal team urges all Coloradoans to pay attention when behind the wheel, obey traffic laws and slow down!