When a Vehicle Hits a Pedestrian, Who Is at Fault?

We put PERSONAL back Into Personal Injury Law

When a Vehicle Hits a Pedestrian, Who Is at Fault?

Most of us assume that when a vehicle in motion hits a pedestrian, the driver is to blame. Aren’t drivers responsible for avoiding striking pedestrians, even when the person on foot may not have the right of way? Mostly, yes—but sometimes no.

People on foot definitely have the legal right of way at marked crosswalks, for example, or when a traffic light signals it’s time to walk. However, there are cases where the pedestrian can be held responsible for the accident. What if a pedestrian suddenly runs out into the street from between two parked cars to hail a passing cab without paying enough attention to traffic, or forgetting to “look both ways,” and gets hit? Surely, it isn’t the fault of the driver, who has no time to swerve or stop.

When a pedestrian is injured as the result of a vehicle crash, that person is well advised to hire an experienced personal injury attorney and pursue a claim for damages from the responsible driver’s insurance company. Sometimes, the situation is clear: the driver was responsible, and the attorney can negotiate a fair settlement, or, if negotiations fail, bring a case to court to obtain a decision. When it’s not clear which party was at fault in the accident, most states follow a “comparative negligence” rule, which considers that the injured person shares some part of the responsibility. When both parties are found to share blame for an accident, the injured party can still be awarded damages, but the amount of compensation will be reduced according to the percentage of the pedestrian’s responsibility determined under the rule.

Texas, like most states, follows a “modified comparative fault rule,” which says that a person injured in a vehicle accident, including pedestrians, cannot recover any damages from the vehicle’s driver if she or he is determined to be 51 percent or more at fault (“the 51 percent bar rule”).

The City of Carrollton reminds residents that, “Whenever you are not in your vehicle (car, bike, or otherwise), you are a pedestrian,” and suggests safety tips such as:

  • “Be predictable. Follow the rules of the road and obey signs and signals. Walk on sidewalks whenever they are available.
  • If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible.
  • Keep alert at all times; don’t be distracted by electronic devices that take your eyes (and ears) off the road.
  • Never assume a driver sees you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach you to ensure you are seen.
  • Be visible at all times. Wear bright clothing during the day, and wear reflective materials or use a flashlight at night.
  • Keep alert at all times; don’t be distracted by electronic devices that take your eyes (and ears) off the road.
  • Never assume a driver sees you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach you to ensure you are seen.
  • Be visible at all times. Wear bright clothing during the day, and wear reflective materials or use a flashlight at night.”

At Hudson Law Firm, we put PERSONAL back into Personal Injury Law. For an injury claim evaluation, call us at (972) 360-9898, or visit our website to chat with an associate. We understand and care about your injury, and look forward to helping you with your accident claim.