pedestrian going over crosswalk

When Can a Pedestrian Be Held Accountable for an Accident?

When a car strikes a pedestrian, the pedestrian almost always suffers more serious injuries. After all, unlike the driver, they have no protection. For this reason, it’s difficult to imagine that the pedestrian could have any real liability in the accident. However, just because the pedestrian suffers more serious injuries, it doesn’t mean that they can’t have any liability. 

Pedestrians Share Responsibilities with Drivers

While every driver has the responsibility to drive safely and yield to pedestrians, pedestrians also share a responsibility to only cross the street where legal (e.g. crosswalks) and to do so with caution. If a pedestrian fails to follow the law, they can likely be found negligent and may be at least partially liable for any accident that occurs. 

There are various negligent behaviors that could potentially make a pedestrian liable. Such behaviors include:

  • Jaywalking (crossing the street outside of a crosswalk)
  • Crossing the street without the walk signal lit 
  • Standing behind vehicles
  • Standing in the street
  • Crossing in front of vehicles without a signal

CA Follows Comparative Negligence Laws

California follows what is known as comparative negligence regarding accidents. Comparative negligence is as it sounds: the court compares the percentage of negligence of each party and they are only able to recover monetary compensation for the negligence they were not responsible for. 

For instance, imagine that Sam jaywalked across a busy road and is hit by a car driven by John, who was going 20 miles above the speed limit. The court finds that Sam is 30% responsible for the accident (and John is 70%). The court awards Sam $100,000 for all of his damages. However, because he is 30% liable for the accident, he can only receive 70% of the compensation, or $70,000.

Comparative negligence is helpful in that even if a pedestrian is at fault for the accident, they can still receive compensation if they were injured. This helps them to pay for their medical bills.

Contact a Qualified Bay Area Personal Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident while a pedestrian, you may have options – even if you are partially at fault. That’s why it is so important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney.

At the Law Offices of David P. Kashani, our experienced California personal injury lawyers work strategically to help our clients obtain some compensation for their damages. While no amount of money can change what has transpired, it can help to lessen the burdens you face moving forward. When you become our client, you will have peace of mind knowing that our legal team is on your side. We will guide you through all aspects of your personal injury claim and make sure that your interests are protected. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, call us today!