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Can the Pedestrian Be At Fault for a Car Accident?

In most automobile accidents that involve pedestrians, there’s almost always an assumption that the driver of the automobile was to blame. One of the fundamental rules of driving is that “the pedestrian always has the right of way,” after all.

However, from a legal standpoint, it’s not always the case that the driver is at fault. A pedestrian can be seen as being partially or fully at fault for a vehicle-pedestrian accident. If you are the victim of a vehicle-pedestrian accident, you should fully understand your legal options as well as learn about who may or may not be at fault.

Who’s at fault during a vehicle-pedestrian accident?

In some situations, a pedestrian may be found fully or partially at fault for an accident. Some common scenarios where a pedestrian may be at fault can involve:

  • Crossing a street in the middle of the street, jaywalking, or otherwise crossing in part of the street outside of the bounds of a crosswalk
  • Crossing the street against the traffic signal, meaning crossing even when a “Do Not Walk” sign is present
  • Walking in a street while intoxicated
  • Walking along highways, bridges, or causeways where pedestrians are not permitted

If the driver is clearly at fault for a pedestrian accident, the pedestrian can typically recover compensation from the driver and the driver’s insurance carrier for the damage. However, the initial settlement offer will likely be lower than what’s needed to adequately cover damages, so you may need to make a counter-offer.

If the pedestrian bears all of the blame for the accident, the pedestrian will probably not be able to recover compensation for injuries.

When does Indiana traffic law give the right of way to vehicles?

While drivers should always watch out for pedestrians walking or running along the street, this doesn’t necessarily mean that pedestrians always have the right of way. In fact, Indiana law says that in many situations when a pedestrian is on a road, the pedestrian must yield the right-of-way to vehicles.

Indiana traffic laws pertinent to pedestrians include:

  • Pedestrians should yield to vehicles if crossing a street anywhere outside of a crosswalk.
  • Pedestrians may cross a street only when there’s a steady or flashing “walk” signal at intersections with pedestrian control signals.
  • Pedestrians should not cross a roadway diagonally unless they are at an intersection with a pedestrian control signal that stops traffic in all directions and permits diagonal crossing.
  • Pedestrians should not step off a curb into the path of an oncoming vehicle.
  • Pedestrians may not stand in the road to solicit business or a ride from drivers.
  • If a sidewalk is available, pedestrians should use it. If there is no sidewalk, pedestrians should walk only on the shoulder of the road.

Drivers still have a duty to watch out for pedestrians at all times. This includes taking extra precautions like double-checking for pedestrians in crosswalks, checking before turning right at a red light, and moving over to give pedestrians extra room when they’re walking on the shoulder of a road.

Can a pedestrian be partly at fault for an accident?

Pedestrians may hold some responsibility if they are walking while distracted, such as if they’re texting or checking something on their cellphones while walking.

It’s important to note that Indiana is a modified comparative negligence state. This means that any party involved in an accident might be able to recover compensation for the damages incurred from an accident if they are 50% or less at fault for the collision. But the compensation they receive would be reduced by their percentage of fault.

An Indiana personal injury lawyer on your side

If you’ve been involved in a pedestrian accident, you’ll want the right law firm fighting for your compensation and looking out for your rights. At the Crossen Law Firm, our legal team is committed to getting you the best results possible and to taking the time to truly learn about and understand your case.

Give us a call at 317-401-8626. We’re happy to provide a free consultation so that we can get to know you and your case.

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