If you’ve been in a car accident, you’ve probably been through the process where the fault is determined and liability is established. And more importantly, who pays for everything. There may have even been a pedestrian involved.
But what if the pedestrian was the cause of the accident?
It Happens Frequently
The Centers For Disease Control found in 2008 that a pedestrian is injured every eight minutes, and one dies every two hours in the US from traffic accidents, about 11% of all traffic fatalities (according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.) Since pedestrians don’t have the usual protection a car or truck would have, injuries from even an otherwise minor accident can be devastating.
Pedestrians normally always have the right of way, so many people believe that they can’t be at fault—but that’s not completely true. Drivers should yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and other intersections. Both drivers and pedestrians have a duty to “exercise reasonable care” on the road, and failure to exercise care as a pedestrian is considered negligent.
If you’ve ever seen someone walking down the street staring at their phone, you’ll understand how quickly a pedestrian accident can happen.
It’s not common, but a pedestrian can be found “at fault” for an accident, although successful legal action may not be possible. Distractions (like a smartphone), carelessness, impairment (alcohol, drugs) or otherwise not paying attention to surroundings and traffic can play a part in pedestrian negligence.
Under WV State Code 17C-10-01, pedestrians are also subjected to state law and rules of the road, including using crosswalks and obeying traffic signals. Violations are subjected to fines of at least $100.
In order to prove negligence against a pedestrian, you’ll need evidence, such as witness statements, surveillance video, a police report and other pieces of evidence that prove the pedestrian’s negligence.
Using the NTHSA data from 2008, it’s important to note that time is an important factor in pedestrian accidents.
- 38% of car/pedestrian fatalities involving drivers aged 16 or younger occurred between 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm
- 48% of all pedestrian fatality accidents happened on Friday, Saturday and Sunday
- 48% of the cases involved alcohol and/or inebriation as a factor with either the driver or the pedestrian
- 36% of involved pedestrians involved in these accidents had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit
- 13% of the involved drivers had a BAC over the legal limit.
It is possible, but somewhat unlikely, that you could pursue a claim against a pedestrian. It’s more likely that the driver will be sued in a personal injury claim by the pedestrian.
Both drivers and pedestrians can be found negligent and liable for an accident, either singly or together. West Virginia’s comparative fault rule means that if a pedestrian is found to be at fault for the accident, any settlement can be reduced by the percentage. If a pedestrian is found to be 25% responsible for an accident, he or she will see any settlement reduced by 25%. This is also true for a driver.
Intoxicated or otherwise impaired pedestrians who fail to follow the rule of law may be responsible for a higher fault percentage, and may not be eligible to recover damage and/or compensation.
We stand ready to protect your interests and help you get back on your feet after an accident. We’ll examine all the facts in the case, the police report, and advise you on how to proceed.
If you’ve been involved in a pedestrian accident, contact us at The Love Law Firm, or call us at (304) 344 5683. Your consultation is free, and we only collect if we win your case.