Trying to determine who’s at fault in a pedestrian accident depends on the facts of the particular incident. As with most other personal injury claims, it is governed by the law of negligence to determine who caused the accident. Basically, every person is expected to exercise a reasonable level of care under a given set of circumstances. So, for example, drivers and pedestrians are expected to obey traffic laws and the rules of the road when using streets, or highways, or crosswalks.
So, if Person A fails to act with reasonable care and ends up causing harm to Person B, the law considers Person A the negligent person, regardless of whether they were driving or they were walking. And so, if a pedestrian fails to exercise reasonable care in some way and it causes an accident, the pedestrian may be at fault as well. For example, if a pedestrian runs out between parked cars and into the path of an oncoming vehicle, and the driver of the vehicle cannot avoid hitting the pedestrian, the pedestrian will probably be considered at fault for the accident.
Similarly, if the driver of the vehicle had sufficient time or enough time to take evasive measures and failed to do so, they may be responsible for the accident. And so, ultimately, determining the negligence or the fault really depends on the particular circumstances. Obviously, a driver has a legal duty to know the roadway around them and to take reasonable care to avoid a pedestrian, whether that’s a person walking, or a bicyclist and, particularly, there is a greater duty of care around young children, who tend not to be predictable around vehicles.
When you’re looking at negligence of a pedestrian, you’re looking at a few common mistakes that either a driver or a pedestrian would make that may place them at fault for an accident. Common mistakes by pedestrians tend to be crossing a street on a Don’t Walk signal, walking or running into the flow of traffic, not using crosswalks, sprinting out in front of a car.
And a driver is usually considered negligent, and pedestrian accidents occur when they’re preoccupied for some reason, whether it’s on a cell phone, or some other reason, and failing to pay attention, or they’re not observing the speed limit, or a driver fails to yield the right-of-way at a crosswalk, or a driver fails to use a turn signal, or they fail to stop at a light or a stop sign, or as, in many cases, where they are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.