Can A Pedestrian Be at Fault in a Car Accident?
Car accidents can have many causes– negligent motorists, defective vehicle parts, and even poor road conditions. While less common, pedestrians can also cause a crash. In most cases, they do have the right of way. There are some circumstances, however, where the pedestrian could be at fault.
If you are involved in an accident with a pedestrian, your first instinct might be to blame yourself. It is important to understand that in some situations, the pedestrian could be to blame. Assigning fault is a legal matter, so it is important not to rush to conclusions. Before you accept fault for a crash, discuss your case with our team of New York City car accident lawyers.
Determining fault in a pedestrian accident
At their core, vehicle accidents involving pedestrians are similar to any other type of collision. Unlike other accidents, there are some assumptions made about collisions with pedestrians that are not accurate.
There are laws that govern the interaction between motorists and pedestrians in New York. Determining who is at fault depends in part on where the collision takes place.
They generally have the right of way within a crosswalk. This is the case whether or not the intersection has traffic control signals. Motorists must make every effort to avoid striking a pedestrian in a crosswalk, even if the driver has a green light. However, a pedestrian could be liable in a crosswalk if they leave the curb and step into traffic without giving the driver time to avoid a crash.
The rules are different when they cross the road outside of a crosswalk. When this occurs, the pedestrian must yield the right of way to vehicles.
When it comes to sidewalks, pedestrians have the right of way. This is true not only of sidewalks but also where the sidewalk intersects with alleyways or parking lots. Before a motorist pulls into out of a side street or parking lot, they must watch for them.
Pedestrians walking along a street or boulevard must remain on the sidewalk. Not all streets have sidewalks, however. In that case, they may walk along the shoulder. Drivers in this situation must yield to them.
The importance of complying with traffic laws
The failure to comply with these rules could have a significant impact on a personal injury case. When a court or insurance company makes a determination of fault in a pedestrian accident, the first thing they will consider is the right of way. While responsibility often falls on the driver, pedestrians can be liable for the damages to a motorist’s vehicle.
If you struck a pedestrian while driving, you could have a civil claim against them if you were within your rights. For example, if a person abruptly stepped into your path– you would likely not be found liable. What’s more, you could pursue them for any damages you might have.
Unfortunately, pedestrians rarely have any form of insurance policy that would cover a third-party liability claim. Had you been struck by another driver, you could pursue a claim against their insurance company. With pedestrians, your only avenue for recovery could be to sue them directly. That’s why it’s important to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
How an attorney could help
If you have been involved in a collision with a pedestrian in New York, Douglas & London are ready to help. Our firm has spent over 20 years fighting for the injured, and our extensive experience could help you recover the compensation you need.
If the sudden actions of a pedestrian caused you to crash while driving, you might be able to seek compensation from them through a civil lawsuit. To discuss this possibility, schedule a free consultation the New York City personal injury lawyers at Douglas & London right away.