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Is the Driver Always at Fault in a Car-Pedestrian Accident?

When it comes to collisions involving cars and pedestrians, we initially assume that the driver of the motor vehicle is often at fault. One of the most common phrases we here regarding car-pedestrian accidents is “the pedestrian always has the right-of-way.” However, the old adage isn’t always correct from a legal standpoint.

Sometimes, pedestrians can actually be wholly or partially to blame. An individual who fails to exercise a reasonable standard of care under the circumstances may be considered “negligent.” This means that pedestrians, just like motorists, must exercise reasonable care for his/her own safety, and the care required must be proportionate to the danger to be avoided and reasonably anticipated consequences.

The following are the most common factors which contribute to pedestrian negligence:

  • Jaywalking
  • Crossing against the traffic signal
  • Failing to use marked crosswalks
  • Darting in front of a vehicle
  • Entering a street or highway while under the influence
  • Walking along restricted areas, such as highways, bridges, or causeways

However, both the driver and the pedestrian can be negligent. For example, the pedestrian may be jaywalking while the driver is texting on his cellphone. So what happens if both parties are partially at fault?

California negligence laws adhere to the legal doctrine of “comparative negligence,” which enables a plaintiff to sue for the percentage of damages attributable to the defendant. This means that a pedestrian can recover some damages, even if he/she was partly at fault.

If you have been in a pedestrian accident and was injured, it is imperative to retain legal representation from an experienced personal injury attorney. At Eliot Reiner, APLC, our Sacramento personal injury lawyer can evaluate the facts surrounding your case and determine how to obtain the best results possible.

For more information, contact us and request a free consultation today.

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