Are Pedestrians Ever at Fault?

Are Pedestrians Ever at Fault?

Posted By Maher Law Firm || 22-Mar-2017

When we think about collisions between motor vehicles and pedestrians, we initially assume that the driver of the vehicle is at fault since “the pedestrian has the right of way.” However, there are many cases when the pedestrian can actually be to blame, whether partly or entirely.

Pedestrian’s Duty of Care

Despite having the right of way in mostly all situations involving vehicles, pedestrians must always exercise reasonable care for his or her own safety. The required care must be in proportion to the danger to be avoided and reasonably anticipated consequences. If they fail to exercise such care, contributory negligence may be evaluated against pedestrians.

The following are the most common factors contributing to pedestrian negligence:

  • Ignoring the “walk” signal at an intersection
  • Failing to use marked crosswalks
  • Entering traffic and disrupting the flow
  • Darting in front of a vehicle

A normal, cautious individual would take steps to avoid hitting someone walking across their path if possible. However, if the pedestrian acts in a way which makes it impossible for someone driving in a normal, cautious manner to avoid a crash, a judge or jury will find that the pedestrian caused the collision.

Comparative Negligence

In many cases, even when a pedestrian is partial to blame for causing the accident, the driver of the vehicle may be somewhat at fault as well. For instance, if a pedestrian is jaywalking, and the motorist was driving a few miles above the posted speed limit before striking the pedestrian.

Florida is a “comparative negligence” state, which means that an injured person shares some amount of fault for causing or contributing to the underlying accident. An injured individual can recover compensation from any at-fault party, but the injured person’s own damages award (the amount of compensation they are awarded) will be reduced by a percentage which is equal to their share of fault.

Contact our Orlando personal injury attorney at The Maher Law Firm today for more information.

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