The driver is at fault when the vehicle hits a pedestrian most of the time. You would think the pedestrian will never be at fault for a vehicle-pedestrian accident, but you would be wrong. When is a pedestrian at fault for a car accident? While each state varies, the situations where the pedestrian is solely or partially responsible are as follows.


There’s a reason law enforcement emphasizes the crosswalk to cross the street. It protects you from at-fault accidents. When you cross the road in an area without a crosswalk, you risk a car accident and being at fault for it. Whether the driver cannot brake in time doesn’t matter in this scenario. Whether the driver had time and swerved into something else to avoid hitting you don’t matter either. It’s still your fault.

Crossing between two intersections with traffic lights may count as jaywalking or a separate rule, and you will be at fault if a car hits you as you cross the street.

Failure to Obey Traffic Laws

The crosswalk can only do so much if you are not obeying traffic. Cross the street when the traffic lights and walk signs tell you to. Look both ways before crossing. Being in a hurry or impatient is not a valid reason to dart out onto oncoming traffic or disobey traffic lights. Vehicles are already speeding at the speed limit and do not have time to brake. If there is no crosswalk, cross the street at the street corner.

Standing in the middle of the street to talk to someone or flag down a ride is your fault should a car hit you due to not following traffic rules. Crossing the parking lot by going across vehicles can put you in the path of a car driving across the parking lot and cause an accident that is your fault. Crossing the street intoxicated, high on drugs, or distracted with a cellphone adds negligence to disobeying traffic laws.

Forgoing the Sidewalk

Not walking on the sidewalk is another reason you will be at fault if you are involved in a pedestrian-vehicle accident. Should the road not have a sidewalk, walk as close to the curb as possible. Do not walk in the middle of the street or a traffic lane.

Crossing Non-Permitted Areas

The high-speed areas of the expressway, freeway, or highway make it too dangerous to walk on the curb due to speeding vehicles. It is also fatal to cross the ramp as vehicles are veering off the freeway up the ramp. Crossing the street is unsafe because vehicles cannot brake fast enough for you to cross the road safely.

Bridges are another place where crossing the street and walking on the curbside is dangerous. Vehicles cannot steer clear of an accident without damaging or driving off the bridge.

The pedestrian does not have the right of way all the time. If there is negligence on the pedestrian’s part, that person is responsible and pays full or partial restitution to the driver, passengers, and vehicle. While this list explains the common reasons, pedestrians must learn the dos and don’ts for their state. Additionally, talk to an accident lawyer expert about your rights.

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