Can You Sue a Pedestrian for Causing a Car Accident?

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Can You Sue a Pedestrian for Causing a Car Accident?

Written by Malman Law, reviewed by Steve J. Malman.

Legal Representation for Victims of Accidents Caused by Pedestrians in Chicago

When you take driver’s education, you are taught that the pedestrian has the right-of-way. This is often why some pedestrians feel safe enough to enter traffic, regardless of whether there are cars present. They assume that all vehicles will stop for them. However, does the right-of-way prevent a pedestrian from being liable if he or she were to cause a motor vehicle collision?

The answer is quite complex, and if you were involved in an accident because of a pedestrian, you may need to contact an attorney to explore your options.

Determining Fault in a Pedestrian-Automobile Accident

If a vehicle hits a pedestrian, it is not as easy to assign fault. It is not up to the witnesses, passengers, driver, or pedestrian. Instead, it is up to a judge, jury, or insurance claims adjuster to determine who was at fault for the incident.

These parties will have evidence in front of them which will help determine who was at fault, including police reports, witness statements, and expert testimony. If the driver is clearly at fault for the accident, the pedestrian can then file a lawsuit against that driver for compensation.

If, however, the pedestrian was at fault, the pedestrian cannot recover damages. Instead, the driver may be able to file a personal injury suit against the pedestrian for any harm experienced because of the accident.

Examples of When a Pedestrian May Be At-Fault

It is rare for a pedestrian to be found at-fault for a car accident, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t occur. There are certain scenarios that increase the likelihood that a pedestrian is at fault, including:

  • When a pedestrian jaywalks.
  • When the pedestrian enters the street while intoxicated.
  • When the pedestrian is walking along unauthorized strips of road, such as along the highway or on a bridge.
  • When the pedestrian crosses traffic against the posted traffic signal (i.e., there was no “walk” command posted).

Shared Fault

Typically, pedestrian accidents with motor vehicles involve shared fault. The state of Illinois has adopted the comparative negligence rule. This assigns responsibility to each party, and when both parties contributed to the accident, it determines who will receive compensation and how much will be received.

For example, a pedestrian was crossing the street without a proper signal to do so. The driver, who was not paying attention and was talking on the phone, struck the pedestrian. While the pedestrian should not have been on the road, the driver should not have been talking on the phone. The court would then determine how much each party was at fault. The party that was less at fault can collect damages, but only based on their percentage.

If the driver in this example was determined to be 25 percent at fault, while the pedestrian 75 percent at fault, then the driver’s settlement would be reduced by 25 percent to account for his or her own negligence.

Involved in an Automobile-Pedestrian Accident? Contact an Attorney

If you or a loved one was injured in an accident with an automobile or pedestrian, you need to contact an attorney right away. There are complex laws at play any time when a pedestrian is involved. Schedule a consultation now with the car accident team at Malman Law by calling us, or request your consultation appointment online.

Steve Malman

Malman Law’s founder Attorney Steven Malman has over 30 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, truck accidents, car accidents, premises liability, construction, and workers’ compensation cases in Chicago, IL.

Years of experience: +30 years
Justia Profile: Steve Malman
Illinois Registration Status: Active and authorized to practice law—Last Registered Year: 2024

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by President and Founder, Steven J. Malman who has more than 20 years of legal experience as a personal injury attorney.

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