Can a Pedestrian Be At Fault for an Accident?

Drivers have a legal duty to protect others on the road by using reasonable care while driving. Similarly, pedestrians have a responsibility to keep drivers safe by using reasonable care while walking. Pedestrians who breach their duty by engaging in negligent or reckless behavior can cause serious car accidents. Even when the pedestrian is more seriously injured than the driver, that pedestrian may still be liable for the driver's damages. Proving that a pedestrian caused an accident is not always easy. Still, a driver or passenger can hold a pedestrian liable for causing an accident in North Carolina.

When is a Pedestrian At Fault for an Accident?

Just as drivers are more distracted than ever, many pedestrians ignore their surroundings while walking. It can be easy to assume that a driver caused an accident between pedestrians and vehicles. On the contrary, negligent pedestrians frequently step into the road without looking, fail to use marked crosswalks, or try to jaywalk across busy streets. 

Due to the pedestrian's negligence, a driver may hit the pedestrian, hit an oncoming driver in another car, or veer off the road. When a pedestrian causes an accident, the injured driver or passenger has the right to file a claim against a pedestrian for any injuries they suffer. Some of the most common scenarios involving an at-fault pedestrian in an accident include the following:

  • A pedestrian crossing the street in an area other than the designated a crosswalk
  • A pedestrian does not follow a traffic signal
  • A pedestrian crossing the street while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • A pedestrian walks on roadways in which pedestrians are prohibited from entering
  • A pedestrian recklessly runs or darts out into the street without checking for oncoming traffic
  • A distracted pedestrian causes an accident by not paying attention to their surroundings 
Proving Liability When a Pedestrian Causes an Accident

When a pedestrian is at fault for a car accident, the injured parties can hold the pedestrian responsible for damages they have suffered. Damages may include medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. Even if the pedestrian becomes seriously hurt, the driver can still hold them accountable for their injuries. To recover compensation, the driver or passenger must prove that the pedestrian is liable for the accident. 

Part of proving liability includes showing that the driver could not have avoided hitting the pedestrian or colliding with another vehicle. Proving liability can be challenging and will require gathering evidence showing that the pedestrian breached his or her duty to act reasonably under the circumstances and caused the accident that resulted in the victim's injuries.

Many crosswalks have surveillance cameras in cities and towns. Accessing the footage on the camera can establish the sequence of events that resulted in the car accident. Any other videos or photos taken at the scene can be used as evidence to prove that the pedestrian was liable. Eyewitnesses can also help drivers prove that the pedestrian was at fault. A witness may be able to testify that the driver could not have avoided hitting the pedestrian. It is crucial that you gather contact information for any witnesses to the accident.

Finally, if there is a dispute about who caused the accident, expert testimony can help provide information about what occurred. You may need to hire an accident reconstruction expert to testify about the causes of the accident. They can use evidence gathered at the accident scene to construct the events that led to the accident.

Damages Available in a Pedestrian-Caused Accident

As with any other type of personal injury claim, victims of pedestrian accidents can speak to recover economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include easily quantifiable expenses, such as past and future medical expenses, property damage, lost income, and the cost of rehabilitation. Victims can also seek non-economic damages for the pain and suffering they have endured due to their injuries.

Contact an Experienced Pedestrian Accident Attorney in North Carolina

If you were injured in an accident caused by a pedestrian, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries. One of the best things you can do to recover the compensation you deserve is to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you begin investigating your claim and gathering evidence. Contact the North Carolina personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, today to schedule your free case evaluation and learn more about your legal rights. 

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