January 10, 2022
Auto Accident

Although many cities throughout Alabama are taking measures to become more walkable and pedestrian-friendly, there’s no denying that getting around on foot can be dangerous when there are cars on the road. Sidewalks and crosswalks are important safety measures to reduce the risks that pedestrians face, but they can’t eliminate the chance that they’ll be struck by vehicles.

When pedestrians get hit by cars, trucks, and SUVs, they almost always suffer serious injuries. And because pedestrians seem helpless compared to people in vehicles, many people assume that they’re never at fault for their accidents and injuries. In fact, it’s common for people to believe that pedestrians always have the right-of-way. But is that true?

When Pedestrians’ Negligence Causes Accidents, They Can Be Considered at Fault

Just as drivers are supposed to behave safely and responsibly behind the wheel, pedestrians are also required to walk on sidewalks, crosswalks, and road shoulders as safely and responsibly as possible. If they act negligently or recklessly and an accident occurs, they may be considered at least partially liable and may be even ineligible for compensation from their drivers who hit them.

While drivers should make every effort to avoid hitting pedestrians in the street, even when they are crossing unlawfully, situations where pedestrians can be blamed for accidents include:

  • Ignoring traffic signals: Pedestrians are required to obey traffic signals, especially in crosswalks. If a pedestrian enters a crosswalk before the “WALK” signal or green light is displayed and they get hit by a vehicle, they can be considered at fault for the accident.
  • Ignoring a crossing guard: Traffic lights and “WALK” signals are overruled when a traffic guard is present, such as in a school zone, in a busy downtown area, or when traffic signals are out due to weather, accidents, and power outages. Pedestrians can be at fault for accidents if they ignore crossing guards’ commands and enter a road, regardless of whether they have a green light or “WALK” signal.
  • Crossing outside of crosswalks when they’re available: When crosswalks are available, pedestrians must use them to cross the street. If a pedestrian crosses the street outside of a crosswalk when one is nearby and reachable and then gets struck by a vehicle, the driver of that vehicle is unlikely to be held solely liable.
  • Walking while distracted, intoxicated, or impaired: Pedestrians are supposed to be aware of their surroundings. When they cross or enter streets without paying attention to what’s going on, such as because they are looking down at their phone, or while they’re behaving unpredictably due to intoxication, they can be considered at fault if they’re struck by a vehicle.
  • Suddenly and unexpectedly entering the street: When crossing the street, pedestrians must do so either in expected areas, like crosswalks, or in a highly visible and predictable manner when crosswalks aren’t available. If a pedestrian suddenly runs out into the road in the path of a vehicle and gets hit, they’re at fault for the accident, as the driver likely did not have enough time to react to avoid striking them.

Pedestrians, Don’t Let Yourself Be Unfairly Blamed for Your Accident!

If you were injured while walking, there’s a good chance the driver’s defense will involve claiming that they didn’t see you or that you “came out of nowhere.” In some cases, innocent pedestrians end up getting blamed for their accidents, or the driver’s fault is inconclusive and never proven. When this happens, pedestrians may be unable to get the compensation they desperately need for their medical bills and lost wages.

At The Vance Law Firm, we uphold pedestrians’ rights when they’re hurt through no fault of their own. We know that many are unfairly blamed after accidents and injuries, and we work hard to help get them fair treatment from the insurance company. Contact us today for a free consultation if you were struck by a vehicle while crossing or walking near a road. We’ll work hard to get you maximum compensation for your damages.

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