Most people think that pedestrians always have the right of way and that whenever a pedestrian is struck by an automobile, the driver of the vehicle that hit him or her is at fault. That’s not always true, and there are some situations in which a pedestrian may be wholly or partially at fault for an auto accident resulting in injury to the pedestrian.

Auto accident lawyers can help pedestrians injured in car crashes assess their situation to determine whether recovery of damages is possible.

Pedestrians, just like drivers, are expected to follow traffic rules when using streets, crosswalks, sidewalks, etc. If a pedestrian fails to exercise reasonable care, and that failure results in an auto accident, the pedestrian may be considered at fault in the accident.

For example, if a pedestrian darts out into traffic and is struck by a vehicle, depending on several factors including the speed and attentiveness of the driver, that pedestrian may be considered at fault in the accident. If the driver of the other vehicle evades the pedestrian but strikes another vehicle, the pedestrian may also be liable for that accident.

In some circumstances, the pedestrian and the driver may share blame for an accident. If a pedestrian darts out into traffic, but the driver is also speeding, a court may find that both parties are at fault in the accident.

When these cases go to trial, partial fault may result in a lower damage award or no award at all to a pedestrian struck by a vehicle. In five states—Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.—the system of contributory negligence holds sway. Under this system, if a pedestrian is partially at fault for an accident, he or she can recover nothing from the driver.

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In other states, the system of comparative negligence governs damage awards. Depending on how much fault is determined to be the pedestrian’s, the amount of damages awarded to that pedestrian can be cut. For example, if a court determines a pedestrian is at 30 percent fault for the accident, damages awarded to that pedestrian will be cut 30 percent.

A modified comparative negligence system bars recovery for plaintiffs who are more than 50 percent at fault for an accident.

Pedestrians who have been injured in an accident involving a vehicle need car accident attorneys with experience and solid knowledge of the law. Attorneys with Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers can help, providing advice and representation that will help accident victims make the right decisions going forward.