Can a Pedestrian Be At Fault for Causing an Accident With a Car?

Posted on behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak

on September 14, 2020

. Updated on March 23, 2022


pedestrian crossing street while on phonePeople operating a car are expected to always be alert for pedestrians, but in accidents where a pedestrian is hit by a car, is it always the driver’s fault?

Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak discuss pedestrian versus motor vehicle crashes, including who may be liable for an accident.

Whether you are a pedestrian injured by a car or the driver of a car that hit a pedestrian, it is important to understand your legal options. We strongly recommend that you contact our firm as soon as possible to speak with one of our experienced attorneys. Our initial consultations are completely free, and we are prepared to discuss whether you may have a case.

Who is Liable When Pedestrians Are Hit by Cars?

According to Smart Growth America, an advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., a recent study shows that the number of pedestrians killed after being hit by a car has risen by 35 percent in the last ten years. Often the blame is placed on the driver, but there are times when a pedestrian may share partial or full liability for this type of accident.

Both drivers and pedestrians are required to follow state laws to help protect others from getting injured. Some examples of how a pedestrian may share liability for an accident include:

  • Darting into the road suddenly without checking to see if it is safe to do so
  • Walking along in the road instead of using the shoulder or sidewalk
  • Walking at night or in bad weather without safety gear to make them more visible
  • Crossing a street while intoxicated
  • Entering a crosswalk before the traffic signals that it is okay to cross
  • Misjudging the speed of oncoming traffic
  • Failing to check for traffic before crossing the street

Pedestrians need to stay alert as much as a driver does. This means not staring at a cellphone or grabbing something out of a wallet or handbag while walking or crossing the street. It is easy to miss a car, bicycle or motorcycle coming at you, or other situations that could result in serious injury or death.

What is the Driver’s Role in Maintaining Pedestrian Safety?

Drivers are responsible for staying alert and yielding the right-of-way to pedestrians, especially in residential areas. Additional safety reminders for drivers include watching for pedestrians:

  • Before making any turns
  • Around schools, parks and other areas where there may be children
  • In bad weather or at night when it may be difficult to see a pedestrian
  • Behind school buses
  • Behind other vehicles that are stopped, as they may be waiting for a pedestrian to cross

Indiana’s Pedestrian Laws

While Indiana law requires cars to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians, it does not mean that pedestrians should consider themselves relieved of any responsibility for maintaining safety on the road.

Pedestrians should never walk into a crosswalk without first making sure traffic has stopped. Even if the drivers are paying attention, a car could malfunction, a driver may accidentally hit the accelerator instead of the brake, or the driver may be distracted or driving impaired. There are many reasons why you could be placing yourself in danger by just walking across any area of a street without watching for traffic.

Additionally, Indiana requires pedestrians to use the sidewalk or shoulder whenever possible. If there is no designated area to walk, pedestrians are required to walk as close to the edge of the road as possible. Pedestrians are prohibited by law from stepping into the pathway of a vehicle that is driving close enough to be a danger.

Comparative Negligence Laws

If a pedestrian contributes to the accident in some way, such as not following traffic signals, walking into the street while intoxicated or crossing without checking for traffic, he or she may be assigned partial or full fault for an accident.

If both parties contributed to the accident and you are less than 51 percent liable, you may still pursue compensation for your injuries. However, according to Indiana’s comparative negligence laws, the awarded settlement will be reduced by your degree of liability. If you are 51 percent or more at fault for the accident, you will be barred from any recovery.

Contact Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak for Legal Help

Even if you think you may have been partly at fault for an accident, we recommend that you speak with a knowledgeable attorney to see if you may still have legal options for recovering compensation for your injuries.

At Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak we have more than 100 years of combined legal experience and obtained millions in compensation on behalf of our clients.

Our South Bend car accident lawyers are prepared to meet with you in a completely free initial consultation. We can answer your questions and discuss your legal options, and there is no obligation or risk to you. If we represent you, there are no upfront costs or fees to pay until the case is resolved. We do not get paid unless you do.

Contact our firm for your free consultation today: (844) 678-1800

Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak

Serious Attorneys for Serious Cases