Are Pedestrians Ever Responsible for Their Injuries?

When we think about crashes involving motor vehicles and pedestrians, we initially believe that the motorist is at fault since – it is assumed that – the pedestrian has the right-of-way. However, whether partly or entirely, there are cases when the pedestrian is actually at fault.

It is imperative to understand that pedestrians must still exercise reasonable care for his or her safety and others. The necessary care needs to be in proportion to the danger to be avoided and reasonably anticipated consequences.

If pedestrians fail to exercise this amount of care, contributory negligence can be used against pedestrians. California is a “comparative negligence” state, meaning that an injured individual shares a partial amount of fault for contributing to an underlying accident.

The most common scenarios under which a pedestrian may be found, at least, partially at fault for an accident involving a vehicle include:

  • Jaywalking
  • Crossing in the middle of the street, without using a crosswalk
  • Walking along highways or bridges, where pedestrian access is forbidden
  • Entering a street while intoxicated

Under a pure comparative negligence rule, an injured person can recover compensation from any other at-fault party, but the injured person’s own damages award will be reduced by a percentage that is equal to their share of the blame. For example, a drunk driver makes a turn at the intersection while a pedestrian, who has a “Walk” signal,” enters an intersection while texting, resulting in the driver hitting the pedestrian and causing injuries. The pedestrian sues the motorist, and the jury decides that the driver was 75% at fault for the collision, while the pedestrian was 25% at fault – since an alert person could have seen the driver coming and avoided the crash.

To learn more about comparative negligence, contact our Orange County personal injury attorney at Law Office of Marshall Silberberg today.

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