Car vs. Pedestrian Accident Liability

Car accident happens when a car collides with another vehicle, debris, animal, a stationary object such as trees, or pedestrian. It is common nowadays in any part of the world, and its results could be devastating to both the driver and the pedestrian.

In the United States, traffic and personal injury laws cover car accidents. The process involved in the case is tedious, and it often takes months or years before rendering a judgment.

The court decides auto-accidents through the gathering of evidence, interview with the witnesses and the opposing parties, and the application of laws to determine who is to blame.

Whoever is at fault has to pay damages and hospitalization bills to another party. However, there are also times that both the driver and the pedestrian are at fault in the accident.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA, there are about 5,000 people killed and 64,000 people injured each year in car-pedestrian accidents in the United States.

Meanwhile, the car speed is a significant factor in one-third of the auto-accidents. The faster a driver drives, the higher the chances that the pedestrian and even the driver to sustain broken bones, paralysis, lacerations, and even death.

In this article, we will outline in greater detail the car versus pedestrian accident liability.

1.      Driver Is Liable Because Of Required “Due Care” in Operating Automobiles

Every driver has a responsibility to operate an automobile with due care. However, the law also states that not all situations are the same.

Thus, due care requires that drivers act with caution just how a reasonable person would do if faced with the same situation. It also supersedes other federal and states laws such as the required speed limit. Here are some of the examples:

  • An average person would usually slow down and pay attention whenever they see pedestrians nearby the road.
  • If a driver sees a child riding a bicycle on the road, the law states that it is not reasonable to maintain the 30 mph speed limit. In case of collision, the driver will be at fault.

Indeed, the due care of the driver is the focus of most car accident lawsuits. After a collision, the plaintiff has the burden to prove to the court that the damages he incurred are due to the negligence of the driver or breach of due care.

If drivers are found guilty, they may face punishment, fines, and jail time.

On the other hand, pedestrians are also expected to act with reasonable care to avoid accidents, especially when they are staying or walking on the road, or else they will be at fault under the law.

2.      Pedestrians Are Liable Because Of Negligence

Drivers are trained to avoid causing harm to pedestrians when they are on the road. However, there are instances when pedestrians behave in such a way that they create a collision on the road. Here are some examples:

  • Pedestrian wear dark clothes at night and tries to walk or cross a busy street
  • A person dart out in between parked vehicles and pass in front of a moving car
  • A person is blocking the road, and the drivers swerved to avoid hitting the pedestrian and hits another car

A person could be at fault, especially if he forced a driver to take evasion action which results in damage to other automobiles.

Cautious drivers would even find it hard to avoid collision with the above examples. With this, the court may decide that the pedestrian will be held liable.

3.      Shared Liability Of Both Pedestrian And Driver

In some cases, no single party is entirely liable for the accident. Usually, both the driver and the pedestrian share the liability.

In this case, the court determines the percentage of the liability of the driver and the plaintiff for their injuries and damages. This determination varies according to the laws of each state in America.

Here are some instances:

  • In some states, when the pedestrian has a 60% liability in the accident, and the driver has 40% liability, the driver must pay the 40% damages which is related to the crash.
  • In other states, the driver will not pay anymore since the pedestrian has more than 50% responsibility for the accident.


In sum, it is essential for both the pedestrians and the drivers to act with caution whenever they are on the road. Drivers are required by the law to operate the automobile with due care, but this does not mean that pedestrians are immune from the rules.

Contrary to common belief, the drivers are not always at fault in auto-accidents for there are pedestrians who misbehave in such as way that drivers find it impossible to avoid a collision.

Thus, if you wish to have someone guide you in a lawsuit involving auto-accidents, you need to have a good lawyer like ones on this site.

Adeline Robinson

Adeline Robinson is one of most promising young law writers. She writes pieces on law topics for common readers. She is an avid sports fan and loves watching games if she has free time.

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