Is the Pedestrian Ever at Fault in a Pedestrian Accident?

April 19, 2021 Posted In Car Accidents

In the majority of pedestrian accidents, the driver of the vehicle is at fault, but that is not always the case. Not all pedestrian accidents can be prevented by drivers, and in some instances, the pedestrian can be held accountable. 

When is a Pedestrian At Fault? 

Pedestrians are required to obey California traffic laws and have a duty to exercise reasonable care for those around them. It is when someone disobeys those rules or otherwise acts recklessly that they can become liable for an accident. When an accident occurs, a pedestrian may be considered at fault if they were: 

  • Jaywalking or crossing in the street outside of a crosswalk.
  • Crossing a street when a traffic signal says not to walk.
  • Darting out into the street and failing to check for oncoming traffic.
  • Talking on a cellphone, texting, or engaging in other dangerous distractions.
  • Walking when intoxicated and making reckless decisions.
  • Walking where it’s prohibited.
  • Wearing dark clothes with no reflective gear when walking or jogging at night.

All pedestrians are expected to take reasonable precautions when walking near traffic, using a crosswalk, or navigating a parking lot. However, liability will not be straightforward in most pedestrian accident cases. 

Fault Determination

There are times when a driver is clearly at fault for a pedestrian accident and other times when it is disputed. Examples of drivers being clearly liable are when they run a stoplight, do not stop at a designated crosswalk, or turn right at a red light where a pedestrian is attempting to cross the street.

When liability is disputed, an insurance adjuster or jury will take the evidence into account to determine fault. To make their decision, an adjuster or jury will hear explanations from each party involved. They will also consider eyewitness testimony, available camera footage, the applicable laws like speed limits, the findings in the police report, and sometimes expert testimony. 

Shared Fault in California Pedestrian Accident Cases

Usually, even when a pedestrian bears part of the blame for causing an accident in San Bernardino, chances are the driver is also at fault. For instance, if a walker disobeyed the traffic signal, looked both ways, and crossed the street, but a driver speeding through the intersection quickly made a right turn at a red light, hitting the pedestrian.

California courts apply the rule of pure comparative negligence to determine damage awards in pedestrian accident cases. Under this law, each party can obtain compensation, but their percentage of fault reduces it. As an example, if a pedestrian is awarded $100,000 and found 20 percent to blame, they can still recover 80 percent of the damages in their settlement or $80,000.

An Experienced Pedestrian Accident Attorney Can Help 

If you were injured as a pedestrian, don’t assume that an insurance company is accurate if they argue you were partially to blame. It could be an unfair tactic being used to devalue or deny your claim. 

Hire a skilled Riverside Pedestrian Accident Attorney who understands both pedestrian and car accident laws. They will ensure your case is properly investigated and gather the evidence you need to support your claim. Call Hanson & Mouri today at (951) 688-0006 for your free consultation. 

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