Who is at fault in a pedestrian-car accident?

When a pedestrian is involved in a collision with a motor vehicle, the consequences can have life-altering physical and psychological impacts. Because of a car’s comparatively high weight and sturdiness, the damage a driver incurs from such accidents is relatively minimal. Therefore, it can be easy to automatically view the pedestrian as the victim and the driver as the guilty party.

In reality, however, the liability is not so cut and dried. In today’s article, we discuss the traffic laws that factor into the determination of fault in a pedestrian-car accident.

Intersections and turns

Drivers must yield to pedestrians at any marked or unmarked crosswalk. However, pedestrians must yield to drivers if they cross the street in any other area—and they can be found at fault if they cause an accident while jaywalking.

In some states, a driver must yield anytime a pedestrian enters a crosswalk. In Ohio, the law specifies that the driver must only yield if the pedestrian is in the same half of the road as the vehicle or approaching closely enough to that half of the road that driving would endanger the pedestrian.

For instance, if a driver is turning right at an intersection while a pedestrian simultaneously enters the crosswalk from the opposite side of the road, the driver may still legally execute the turn as long as the pedestrian will not reach the driver’s half of the road during that turn.

Reckless behavior

A judge may find a pedestrian to be at fault—or partially at fault—for an accident if they exhibit reckless behavior, such as:

  • Suddenly entering the street in front of a moving vehicle without warning—thereby creating an immediate hazard,
  • Walking in the street while intoxicated or
  • Walking along a road not intended for pedestrians—such as a highway.

Partial fault

Ohio follows modified comparative negligence law, meaning that if a court finds that both parties are partially at fault in an accident, the plaintiff can still recoup money for damages—e.g., car repairs, medical bills—if they are less than 50 percent at fault. In such cases, the court assigns a percentage of fault to each party and deducts the plaintiff’s percentage of fault from the total compensation sum.

As a pedestrian, being involved in a collision with a motor vehicle can be devastating. An experienced personal injury attorney can effectively assess all factors that led to the crash in order to make a convincing case for your fair compensation.

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