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Who Is Liable in a Pedestrian Accident?


Pedestrians face some of the gravest dangers on the road, since they have no protection and can easily be overlooked by drivers. In 2012, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that there were more than 4,700 pedestrian death and 76,000 injuries. Those who walk, jog, hike, or run along roads are considered pedestrians. While it is true that pedestrians typically have the right of way, that doesn’t mean they may not be held liable for their accident.

Can a Pedestrian Be Liable for Their Own Injuries?

Like any accident, pedestrian accidents can be complicated. At first glance, it may appear that the driver of a vehicle is the one to blame for the accident. Often, the true liability of these cases comes down to the right of way. A pedestrian may be liable for their accident when they do not have the right of way.

Understanding Right of Way

It is a commonly held misconception that pedestrians always have the right of way, no matter what. While they generally do, there are certain situations in which a pedestrian doesn’t have the right of way. Some of these situations include:

  • When the pedestrian jaywalks or crosses the street outside of a marked crosswalk.
  • When a pedestrian crosses against a traffic signal.
  • When a pedestrian is walking in an area where pedestrians are forbidden.
  • When a pedestrian jumps out into the street suddenly.

Who Is At Fault for a Pedestrian Accident?

Since pedestrians can potentially be at fault, or partially at fault, for an accident, it is important to examine the facts of an accident to determine who contributed to the accident. If a driver hits a pedestrian who has the legal right of way, it is likely that the driver will be at fault. If the pedestrian acts in a way that makes it impossible for a driver who is driving in a reasonably cautious manner to avoid an accident, they can be held liable for the accident. Pedestrians may also be held liable for other accidents caused due to their actions, such as a driver swerving into oncoming traffic to avoid a pedestrian.

Pedestrians may also be held liable when they proceed, despite not having the right of way. Like an auto accident, pedestrians are expected to follow traffic laws and yield to cars when they do not have the right of way. When a pedestrian fails to do so and is injured as a result, the driver may be found to only be partially liable or not at fault for the accident.

Florida is a pure comparative negligence state, which means that both parties can be held liable to some amount for the accident, but the claimant may still recover damages. Even if the pedestrian is found to be partially at fault for their accident, they still can recover some of the compensation they are owed. The amount they receive, however, will be reduced in proportion to the amount of fault they are assigned.

For instance, if a pedestrian is found to be 25% at fault for their accident, they can only collect 75% of the value of their claim. Unlike other states, Florida doesn’t have a limit on the percentage of fault you can be assigned before you are unable to recover compensation. This means that you still may be able to recover a small amount, even if you were mostly at fault.

Injured? Call Our Dunedin Personal Injury Attorney Now – (727) 270-8260

After an injury, it can be stressful and confusing to file your insurance claim and fight for the compensation you need. At the Paulsen Law Group, our team can help you navigate the twists and turns of your claim and ensure that you recover your damages. With more than 15 years of experience in personal injury law, our Dunedin personal injury lawyer has the proven skills and knowledge to effectively advocate for you.

Schedule a free consultation to begin your case. Contact us online or call (727) 270-8260.

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