Most people assume that, whenever there is an auto accident involving a motor vehicle and a pedestrian, the driver of the vehicle is generally at fault. In addition, it is also assumed that “pedestrians always have the right of way.” However, there are circumstances where a pedestrian can be the one at fault in a car-pedestrian accident.
The following are several examples of how a pedestrian can be at fault:
- If a pedestrian is jaywalking or crossing the street in a place not designated as a crosswalk. Many drivers are not expecting pedestrians to cross at those spots and may experience difficulty stopping their vehicle in time.
- Crossing an intersection when the crosswalk signal says not to cross.
- Crossing the street while intoxicated. Normal decision-making skills become compromised and normal movements become exceedingly difficult when under the influence.
- Walking onto a highway or highly traversed roadway.
All drivers are responsible for driving carefully under the given circumstances, so any cautious individual would take steps to avoid striking a pedestrian if possible. However, if the pedestrian acts in a way that makes it impossible for someone operating a vehicle in a cautious manner to avoid a crash, a judge or jury will typically find that pedestrian at fault for the collision.
Alas, not all accidents—including car-pedestrian collisions—have one completely guilty party and one completely innocent one. In many cases, both parties may have failed to act in a normal and cautious manner under the circumstances.
New York has “no-fault” car insurance and accident compensation, meaning that if you are involved in a car accident in this state, rather than filing a claim with the other driver's insurance company, you file with our own--unless you suffer a severe and/or permanent injury. In that case, then you can file a claim against the other driver’s insurance and, if necessary, a personal injury lawsuit. In regard to these additional claims, you may be able to obtain noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering.