Is the Driver Automatically at Fault in a Pedestrian Accident?

Many people assume that the driver is always responsible in an accident involving a pedestrian. However, this is not always the case. While pedestrians do generally have the right of way, there are still scenarios where they can be partially responsible for an accident.

Some examples include:

  • Jaywalking — There are designated crosswalks and areas where pedestrians can cross the street safely and legally. When someone crosses the street outside of a crosswalk or at a place where it is prohibited, that is considered jaywalking, and it is a common cause of accidents involving drivers and pedestrians.
  • Crossing the street against the signal — It is illegal to cross the street against a red light or flashing hand signal. Pedestrians who do this are at risk of being hit by cars, and they may be held partially responsible for any accidents that occur as a result.
  • Wearing dark clothing at night — Pedestrians who wear dark clothing at night are more difficult for drivers to see. This can increase the risk of an accident, especially in poorly lit areas where drivers may not be able to spot someone walking in time to stop.
  • Distracted walking — Distracted walking is crossing the street while talking on the phone, texting, listening to music or generally not paying attention to surroundings. Pedestrians who are distracted are less likely to be aware of their environment and are more likely to be hit by cars.

Arizona is a comparative negligence state, which means that both parties can be held responsible for an accident, even if one party is more at fault than the other. The percentage of fault assigned to each party will determine how much compensation they are entitled to receive. For example, if a pedestrian was jaywalking and hit by a car, the pedestrian may be held 50-percent responsible for the accident, with the other half of the fault being attributed to the driver, who was speeding. In this scenario, if the pedestrian is seeking $100,000 in damages, their award would be reduced by half, leaving them with a $50,000 award.

It is important to remember that both drivers and pedestrians have a duty to exercise reasonable care on the roads. Pedestrians who are involved in accidents should not automatically assume that the driver was at fault.

If you were injured in an accident and are concerned that you may not be able to recover damages, contact an experienced personal injury attorney as quickly as possible. An attorney can consult with accident reconstruction experts and investigate the circumstances leading up to the accident to give your case the best chance of success, whether that’s through an award or settlement.  

Located in Flagstaff, the Law Office of Matthew J. Poirier PLLC represents those involved in pedestrian accidents throughout the greater Flagstaff region. If you or a family member have been in a car accident, feel free to contact me online or call 928-222-2803 for a free initial consultation.