If you hit a pedestrian while driving your car, you may think you will be held accountable for the accident. To be sure, it is often the fault of the driver, but this is not always the case. The following are four notable reasons that the pedestrian may be at fault.
The pedestrian was jaywalking
Any time a person is crossing the street illegally it is referred to as jaywalking, but it can be tricky determining what is illegal. Everyone knows you should cross at the signal light or in a crosswalk, but it can more complicated than this. In some jurisdictions, there is an implied crosswalk from one street corner to another, so if a person was crossing in this manner and there was no marked crosswalk, they can still be crossing legally. It is important to consult with an attorney, and explain exactly where the accident took place so a lawyer can determine the legality of the crossing.
Walking against a red light
The most common situation for this is when a pedestrian anticipates a green light. Traffic has already stopped for a red light, but there are cars turning on a green arrow. The pedestrian sees that it is safe to cross the first half of the street, but will need to wait in the middle for the cars making left turns. Sometimes a pedestrian will get impatient and attempt to cross the second half of the street and get hit by a car making a left turn. Of course, the pedestrian should not have been crossing against the red light.
A person is intoxicated
Although a pedestrian will not be held liable for walking in a legal area while intoxicated, it is possible for an individual to veer into a moving vehicle because they cannot walk a straight line. An example of this is when a man or woman walks in the crosswalk with a green light, but they drift out into the moving vehicles traveling on the same green light in the same direction. The intoxicated pedestrian then gets struck from behind.
Walking where it is not allowed
There are many roads and highways where a pedestrian is not allowed to walk under any circumstances. A driver can be surprised to see someone walking where they didn't expect it, and the result is an accident. Occasionally, for safety reasons, there will only be a single crosswalk at a four-way stop. In other words, a pedestrian can only cross on one corner, but not both. In these circumstances, there will always be a posted sign, so a pedestrian will know it is illegal to cross on a specific corner.
If you have been in an accident involving a pedestrian, contact an auto accident attorney and explain all of the details. You may not be at fault.