If you are crossing a street when the light is green and you’re clearly walking in the crosswalk, you would be considered in no way at fault if you are hit by a vehicle, a motorcycle or a cyclist.
Other situations, however, are not so definitive.
For example, if you are jaywalking or walking in a crosswalk against the light because you didn’t see any cars coming when you began crossing the street, you may play a part in your accident. Depending on in what state you live, it could have an impact on the compensation you receive to cover the cost of your medical care, no matter how serious your injuries.
Do pedestrians always have the right of way?
Most people believe that pedestrians have the right of way at all times, and at one time, that was true.
Today, however, that’s not always the case. Certainly, vehicles should stop for vulnerable pedestrians, even when they are crossing the street illegally. But that’s not always possible.
If you are out for a run and are clearly on the proper side of the road, running against and out of the lane of traffic if possible, wearing clothes that make you clearly visible to oncoming vehicles, you do have the right of way, and if you are struck by a car, you would not be considered at fault.
In cases such as those, the driver of the vehicle responsible for the accident would also be responsible for any of your medical bills, and possibly pain and suffering, which is paid on top of hospitalization and other necessary treatments because of the potential seriousness of pedestrian accidents.
But what if you were in the road under other, less favorable conditions? In those situations, you could be found at fault.
Depending on where the accident occurred, you can still possibly pursue compensation for your injuries.
When is a pedestrian considered partially at fault?
Pedestrians play a bigger role in traffic accidents than many people think, because they often expect vehicles to stop for them, no matter the circumstances.
Pedestrians often put themselves at risk by wearing dark clothing at night, crossing the street against traffic signals or starting to cross too soon. They jaywalk, walk into bike paths without checking for oncoming cyclists, or walk into the street between parked cars, making it difficult for oncoming traffic to notice you, despite their best efforts.
Walking on the street late at night after leaving a club can also be a risky move, because you are less likely to be paying close attention to your surroundings after having a few drinks.
If you are struck by a vehicle in a situation such as these, your own actions likely contributed, and you would be considered at least partially at fault for the accident.
But depending on the state in which you live, you might still recover some compensation for your injuries. But insurance adjusters will examine all aspects of the accident, talking to witnesses and gathering information. if you are found to be partially at fault, your damages will be reduced.
If I am injured, who will pay my medical bills?
If you are a pedestrian that’s been hurt in an accident with a motor vehicle and it is determined that you are at least partially at fault for that accident, you may receive no compensation if you live in a contributory negligence state, and your car or medical insurance will be responsible for your medical bills.
Most other states reduce your compensation by the percentage equal to the fault you’re found to have played in the accident. In some other states, however, if you are found to be more than 50 percent at fault for the accident, you will not receive any compensation, no matter the extent of your injuries.
If you are uncertain whether or not you have a case, a personal injury lawyer at the Law Office of Richard J Banta, P.C can help you navigate the complex legal system and advise you on what’s best for your personal situation.