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Are Drivers Liable When Pedestrians Break the Law?

Are Drivers Liable When Pedestrians Break the Law?

In regard to “pedestrian accidents,” it’s typical for people to assume that whenever a pedestrian is hit by a car, that the driver is automatically at fault for the accident. After all, most drivers have heard the adage, “Pedestrians always have the right of way,” but is this true 100 percent of the time? Contrary to popular belief, drivers are not always on the hook for pedestrian accidents, which we explain below.

Imagine you’re driving along on a busy road and a man casually starts walking out in the middle of the street. You have to slam on your brakes and so do several other vehicles. As you sit there waiting for him to pass, you watch three near-collisions as cars have to stop for the man, who doesn’t seem to care that he’s not only impeding traffic but causing a potentially dangerous situation. What if a crash were to occur because he jaywalked? This type of thing happens all the time and it raises questions about legal liability.

When Pedestrians Break the Law

There are definitely scenarios where pedestrians break traffic laws, and when this occurs, the pedestrian can be to blame for pedestrian accidents. Examples of this include:

  • Jaywalking
  • Walking outside of a crosswalk
  • Not using a crosswalk
  • Walking where pedestrians are prohibited
  • Darting out into the street
  • Crossing on a red light

When a pedestrian violates a traffic law and it causes an accident, the pedestrian may not be able to obtain compensation from the driver’s insurance company or the driver. Instead, the driver may be able to sue the pedestrian for the damage to their vehicle and for their medical bills. A few things that help in these situations are the police report, eyewitness accounts, and any camera footage from the area or a dashcam on the driver’s vehicle.

Next: Lost Wages in a Car Accident Claim

Were you injured in a pedestrian accident, whether as someone on foot or as the driver? If so, reach out to our firm to file a claim for compensation.


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