Do Pedestrians Always Have the Right of Way in North Carolina?

Pedestrian fatalities continue to occur in North Carolina and throughout the United States. Pedestrians are some of the most vulnerable road users, and drivers need to be on the lookout for pedestrians crossing the road. It is also important for pedestrians to be aware of the traffic laws and understand their rights when they are injured by negligent drivers in North Carolina.

Pedestrians Do Not Always Have the Right of Way in North Carolina

Several laws govern whether pedestrians or drivers have the right of way in different situations. Whether or not the pedestrian has the right of way depends on the location and local and state traffic laws. Specifically, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) states, “pedestrians have the right of way at all intersections and driveways but must yield to motorists when crossing at any place other than a marked crosswalk.”

In other words, vehicles are required to yield to pedestrians at any North Carolina crosswalk. However, pedestrians must obey marked signage and instructions, including “Do Not Walk” signals. All drivers must yield to pedestrians when there is a “Walk” sign indicated, regardless of whether or not they have a green light or are turning right at an intersection.

Unmarked Crosswalks

When a sidewalk ends at both sides of the intersection, but no specific markings indicate a crosswalk, the area is considered an unmarked crosswalk. The crosswalk is “implied,” and the pedestrian generally still has the right of way.

Crossing Highways

In North Carolina, except in emergencies, pedestrians are not allowed to walk across certain roadways, such as interstate highways. Regarding North Carolina highways and freeways, drivers have the right of way.

Do Pedestrians Need to Use Sidewalks in North Carolina?

When sidewalks are available, North Carolina pedestrians are required to use them. However, if a sidewalk is not available, the pedestrian must walk on the left side of the road facing oncoming traffic.

Pursuing a Personal Injury Claim After a Pedestrian Accident

As you can see, determining the right of way in pedestrian accident cases depends on multiple factors. When a driver violates North Carolina's right-of-way laws and hits a pedestrian, the driver is liable for the accident. The victim has a right to pursue a personal injury claim against the driver and any other negligent parties who contributed to the accident. Similarly, if a pedestrian violates the right-of-way laws and causes an accident, the injured party has a right to pursue compensation from the negligent pedestrian.

The first step in obtaining compensation after a pedestrian accident is determining who is liable for your injuries. If you have been injured as a pedestrian by a driver who ignored the right-of-way laws, you may have a right to sue the driver. Working with an attorney can help you identify all at-fault parties.

For example, suppose a drunk driver ignored the traffic signal and drove into the crosswalk where you were lawfully crossing. You would be able to pursue a claim against the driver. If the driver was employed by a trucking company and was on duty for the company when the accident occurred, you may also be able to bring a claim against the trucking company.

Companies that do not use reasonable care when hiring employees can be held liable for injuries caused by their negligent employees. If the trucking company ignored a history of drunk driving or failed to run a background check before hiring the employee, they may be financially responsible for your damages.

The Benefits of Reaching Out to an Attorney

A personal injury attorney can examine the facts and circumstances of your case to determine whether right-of-way laws have been violated by a pedestrian or driver. An attorney can also help you understand when you need to file a claim so you do not miss the deadline and lose your opportunity to obtain the compensation you deserve. Finally, an attorney can help you understand the value of your case by working with financial and medical experts to estimate all of your current and future medical expenses and other damages.

Reach Out to a Skilled Personal Injury Attorney

You are not alone if you or your loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident in North Carolina. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, are here to help. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC, to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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