In nearly every case involving a car accident with a pedestrian, the blame is placed on the driver. Pedestrians generally have the right of way, but what happens when that individual is crossing the street illegally? As it turns out, it depends on the circumstances surrounding the accident. Here’s what you need to know.
Right of Way
Pedestrians almost always have the right of way, but there are various times when right of way goes to the driver. For instance, every walker is protected in a crosswalk unless there is a sign that tells them not to cross. If there are no crosswalk signals, drivers must yield. However, pedestrians must give drivers time to yield.
Most diagonal crossings are illegal, but there are areas where pedestrians may do so. These locations have crossing signals that identify the ability to cross diagonally, however. Pedestrians will also face no liability when a driver speeds around a car yielding for them and when a sidewalk extends across a road or driveway.
Instances where a pedestrian crosses illegally generally happen when they cross a part of the street as a shortcut without using a crosswalk. This is commonly referred to as jaywalking, which has an interesting history. While fault placed on pedestrians is rare, it does happen.
The Case of Partial Liability
So, what does happen when an illegally crossing pedestrian is struck by an automobile? Liability can be placed on the person walking when the driver is following all of the rules, but instances where the driver is breaking the law cause cases of partial blame on both parties.
If the driver is texting or drunk, for instance, then they are partially liable for the accident. Speeding is another example of the driver breaking the law. The law becomes tricky regardless of the circumstances that lead to partial liability.
Under comparative fault laws, liability is rarely split 50/50. Usually, courts decide which party holds most of the blame, the driver or the pedestrian. Damage awards are then reduced or dropped based on percentage. If the pedestrian was found 30% responsible, for instance, then they would have 30% of their damage awards deducted.
Investigating Partial Liability
Determining which party is more liable requires a thorough investigation. If you struck a pedestrian crossing illegally while speeding and drunk, then you would be found mostly liable and be in need of a felony DUI attorney.
If the pedestrian crossed at an unmarked area on a divided highway and was hit by speeding car, then the person walking would have made the more irresponsible action. Cases of partial liability are rarely so cut and dry, however.
While first responders and police at the scene conduct an initial investigation, you should never rely on their findings in court regardless of which side of the accident you were on. It’s in your best interest to hire a pedestrian accident lawyer to conduct an independent investigation of the accident, offering a more accurate reflection of the events during the trial.
Your lawyer can help you secure the appropriate amount of compensation based on your percentage of fault and keep you from overpaying in the event that most of the liability falls on you. Attorneys have access witnesses, evidence, and accident recreation technology that police rarely use when creating their report. With partial liability being a complex area of the law, you’ll need all the help you can get to protect yourself and gain the compensation you deserve.