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If a Jaywalker is Hit By a Car, Who’s at Fault?

May 27, 2017

In most cities, a person walking across the street has the right of way because they are the more vulnerable entity between the person and any vehicle driving near them. So when we consider any accidents between cars and pedestrians, we first believe that the driver of the vehicle is the one that’s at fault.

Interestingly, this isn’t always the case, as some pedestrians can be at fault in a vehicle-pedestrian accident. They might be partially to blame or even fully to blame.

How to Determine who is at Fault

There are some conditions that have to be met for a person walking across the street to be at fault in an accident with a motor vehicle.

Scenarios in Which a Pedestrian is at Fault

When discussing personal injury law in pedestrian-vehicle accidents, a driver has what’s called a duty of reasonable care or due care. That means that a normally cautious driver should have strict control of their vehicle and show extra caution when pedestrians are close by.

But there are some instances where a pedestrian’s actions are wholly to blame in an accident with a vehicle:

1. Walking Where Pedestrians are Prohibited: This could be along major highways or bridges, where pedestrians aren’t supposed to be walking.

2. Jaywalking (Crossing in the Middle of the Street): When a pedestrian walks from one street to another and doesn’t use the crosswalk, they are endangering themselves and other pedestrians that might be hurt by an oncoming car that must swerve to avoid them.

3. Crossing Against a Traffic Signal: If the crosswalk sign says Don’t Walk, that means vehicles have green lights to proceed through the area. So going against that is asking for trouble.

4. Entering a Street When Intoxicated: If the person walks into traffic because they’re inebriated, it’s quite difficult to fault the driver for the pedestrian’s impaired judgment.

Sharing the Fault: Comparative Negligence

There are still cases where a pedestrian is at fault, but the driver of a vehicle takes some of the blame as well, especially if they were speeding or distracted while driving.

Comparative negligence in shared fault cases means that an injured person can receive compensation from another at-fault party, but the injured person’s own compensation will be reduced by a percentage that is their share of the fault.

For example, if a drunk driver hits a drunk pedestrian that wandered into the road, they could both be at fault, but a jury could determine that the driver was 75 percent at fault, and the pedestrian just 25 percent at fault. In this case, a pedestrian would have their damages award reduced by 25 percent.

Sharing the Fault: Contributory Negligence
In this instance, one party is unable to file a liability claim against the other party if they were both found to be partially responsible. Both would be responsible for paying for their own injuries and damages that came from the accident.

If you are looking for a personal injury lawyer in the state of Texas, call one of the officers of Fears Nachawati at (866) 705-7584.


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