Sep 13 2019

Determining Responsibility in Vehicle-Pedestrian Accidents

Whether you’re the driver of a vehicle or a pedestrian, you are responsible for safely and appropriately sharing the road. There are numerous basic laws and regulations in place to assist with this concept, from traffic lights and pedestrian crossing areas to turn signals and simple vehicle warnings.

However, we still see a number of unfortunate pedestrian accidents at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, LLC, including many where our car accident attorney services are requested by one party or another to help recover damages based on someone else’s negligence. Generally speaking, fault and liability in a pedestrian-vehicle accident can be grouped into three categories: Driver, pedestrian or municipality. Let’s look at examples of each area and how a pedestrian accident you’ve been involved with may shake out.

responsibility vehicle-pedestrian accidents

Examples of Driver Responsibility

In virtually every state in the US, it is the driver’s responsibility to be alert to their surroundings, including everything from potential road hazards to pedestrians (technically pedestrians qualify as road hazards as well). If the pedestrian in question is acting within the law and observing their right to certain areas of the road, and is hit by a vehicle driver, responsibility will usually lie with the driver.

The simplest example here is when a pedestrian is within a legal crosswalk, but it’s not the only one. Even if the pedestrian is elsewhere, for instance, a speeding driver may still be found liable for such an accident. The same goes if the driver ran a red light or otherwise broke the law soon before the incident occurred.

Examples of Pedestrian Responsibility

Pedestrians themselves have responsibilities here too, however, and it’s important not to forget about these if you’re walking near or between busy roadways. If a pedestrian uses a non-crosswalk area in a reckless manner while attempting to cross, and is struck in the process, they may be held liable for both their own damages and any to the vehicle or driver. Pedestrians can’t simply enter the street anywhere and expect moving traffic to stop for them.

Examples of Municipality Responsibility

Finally, there are cases where neither the driver nor the pedestrian in question is responsible. An example of this would be if a traffic light and connected pedestrian signals malfunctions, telling a pedestrian it’s okay to walk despite directing oncoming traffic their way. Similar examples may include concealed or improperly printed stop signs, unsafe crosswalk placement or any other safety hazards based on the way a given roadway or traffic markers are designed. In these cases, both pedestrians and drivers involved in pedestrian accidents may have liability cases against the municipality responsible for such hazards.

For more on who is responsible for a given pedestrian accident, or to learn about any of our personal injury or auto accident attorney services, speak to the staff at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates LLC today.