When Pedestrians Are at Fault

Collisions with pedestrians and vehicles can be some of the most traumatic events due to the complete lack of protection that the pedestrian has. Often, the pedestrian suffers serious injury or death. In 2013, 4,735 pedestrians were killed and 66,000 were severely injured in traffic accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In the majority of vulnerable road user accidents, such as an accident with a pedestrians, the driver is at fault. Common examples of negligence include failure to yield, driver distraction, lack of proper observance (failing to see the pedestrian), and speeding. However, in some cases the pedestrian may be found at fault for negligence. In some cases the driver of the car may actually be able to recover damages from the pedestrian or their insurance provider if they were found to be negligent and caused physical injury or property damage to the driver.




Before the 1920s, pedestrians and other vulnerable road users had the right to the road. However, this caused car traffic to move at a slower pace and made driving less practical. With pedestrians holding up the growing number of vehicles on the road, the automotive industry initiated a campaign to force pedestrians off the roads to make room for cars. They popularized the term “jaywalking” by referring to people who illegally crossed the roads as “jays,” which used to be a term to describe a simple country person, according to the BBC. With the automotive industry’s successful campaign, road speeds could be increased as walking on the road in undesignated areas became illegal. A pedestrian may be deemed at fault if they cross a street outside of a crosswalk, against the traffic signal, if walking along bridges, highways, or other undesignated walking areas. However, the pedestrian may not always be found at fault in these scenarios. Missouri is a pure comparative negligence state, meaning that negligence may be divided between multiple parties. If the pedestrian crossed a crosswalk against the signal, but the driver was speeding, both parties may be negligent to some degree. The party that is more at fault will not be able to receive any compensation for their damages, and the party that was less at fault will only be able to recover a percentage of the total damages that they would have been entitled to had they not been found at all negligent.




Another cause of pedestrian accidents is intoxication. In fact, intoxication is responsible for almost half of all fatal pedestrian accidents. In 34 percent of fatal pedestrian crashes, the pedestrian had a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher. However, drivers were intoxicated in a large percentage of fatal pedestrian crashes as well. In 15 percent of fatal pedestrian crashes, the driver had a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher. If the pedestrian was intoxicated as well as crossing a street illegal (not in a crosswalk) there is a good chance that they will be held responsible, not the driver. If you have been injured in any type of traffic accident, as a pedestrian or as a driver, contact the Kansas City, Missouri, auto accident attorneys of the Krause and Kinsman Law Firm today.

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