How Could a Pedestrian Be at Fault for a Car Accident?

How Could a Pedestrian Be at Fault for a Car Accident?

Untold numbers of Texas drivers are on the road today carrying a false and potentially dangerous belief: pedestrians always have the right of way. When these drivers collide with a pedestrian, they may try to offer a cash settlement on the spot to the victim or settle a claim as quickly as possible. Some may fear criminal penalties and flee the scene of the accident.

The truth is that pedestrians do not always have the right of way in Texas. Not only can pedestrians’ actions contribute to a wreck, but those actions can also sometimes be the primary cause of an accident. If you are caught in this situation while driving in San Antonio, you could be entitled to compensation if you suffer injuries or loss in the accident.

Basic Principles of Liability in Texas Wrecks

In any Texas motor vehicle accident, the injured party can recover compensation from the at-fault party as long as the at-fault party is the primary cause of the accident. If the victim’s careless actions are the primary cause of the accident, then that victim is unable to recover any compensation for their injuries.

For example, suppose that a car driver turns right and fails to see a pedestrian using the crosswalk. The driver accidentally strikes the pedestrian, causing the pedestrian to suffer broken bones and other injuries. In this situation, the driver will likely be responsible for compensating the injured pedestrian.

However, suppose that the car driver is operating the vehicle safely and at a sensible speed. The pedestrian suddenly darts out in front of the driver, giving the driver no opportunity to avoid a collision. If a court finds that the pedestrian’s carelessness is the primary cause of their injuries, the pedestrian would not receive any compensation.

Even if the pedestrian’s actions are not the primary cause of a collision, these actions can still affect the compensation they ultimately receive. If the pedestrian is 25% responsible for a collision, then the damages award the pedestrian receives would be reduced by 25%.

What Happens When an Injury Victim Is Also Negligent

There are three possible outcomes to a personal injury case when the injured party acted carelessly. First, the court can find the injured party’s carelessness played no role in the accident and award them full damages. Next, the court could award the injured party partial damages if their negligent conduct played some part in causing the accident.

Finally, the judge or jury may decide that the pedestrian was primarily responsible for causing the injury accident. If this happens, the pedestrian will receive no compensation, regardless of how seriously they were hurt.

Ways a Pedestrian Can Cause a Car Accident

San Antonio has plans to increase pedestrian safety throughout the community. Still, like car drivers, pedestrians can commit negligent acts that lead to accidents and wrecks, even with the proper infrastructure in place. Some of the most common ways a pedestrian can cause an accident include:

Disobeying Traffic Laws

Texas traffic laws cover how pedestrians should proceed on the road just as they regulate vehicles. This means that pedestrians should:

  • Cross streets at marked crosswalks, if they are available
  • Use sidewalks whenever possible
  • Obey traffic signals 
  • Avoid crossing access-controlled highways
  • Look for oncoming traffic before crossing the street outside of a crosswalk

Like drivers who violate traffic laws, pedestrians who fail to follow these and other laws can be found negligent. This can also lead to the pedestrian being found partially or wholly responsible for a collision.

Walking While Distracted

It is common to see pedestrians walking near roads and crossing streets while listening to headphones or looking at their cellphones. Despite their frequency, these and similar actions are often considered to be negligent. 

Pedestrians who are not watching where they are going or are not attentive to their surroundings may step in front of oncoming traffic, causing a collision.

Consuming Alcohol or Drugs

Alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs affect pedestrians in much the same way as they do drivers. A pedestrian may be unsteady on their feet and unable to clearly perceive dangers. They may also take unnecessary risks. 

Being intoxicated or impaired can lead to a pedestrian darting in front of cars, falling down while walking, or committing other acts that put them at risk of injury.

Proving Fault in a Car Accident Involving a Pedestrian

A thorough investigation of any pedestrian crash can reveal whether the pedestrian committed any careless actions and, if so, what role those actions played in the accident. Investigators, insurance companies, and attorneys will consider:

  • Eyewitness statements
  • Police reports and diagrams
  • Any debris at the crash scene
  • Video surveillance footage or dashcams
  • Cell phone records

This evidence can help ensure the parties involved reach a fair settlement agreement by taking the role that the pedestrian’s negligence played in the accident into account. If they cannot reach a settlement, the judge or jury can consider the pedestrian’s actions to determine liability for damages.

The Role of Legal Counsel

When you experience a car accident, seeking legal guidance is vital. This is because a car accident attorney can evaluate the unique details of your crash to accurately determine who is responsible. Your attorney can then fight on your behalf to secure compensation from the responsible party or their insurance company for the harm you suffered.

This compensation can cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other costs associated with your injuries. No matter who you believe is at fault for an accident, it’s important to consult an attorney before proceeding with a claim or other legal action.

Staying Safe on Texas Roads

Many people in San Antonio believe pedestrians always have the right of way. While this is incorrect, it’s vital to always do what you can to follow best practices when on the road, regardless of which party has the right of way. Doing so can help keep Texas roads safer for both motorists and pedestrians alike.