According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 137,000 pedestrians suffered injuries, and 5,977 pedestrians died in traffic crashes in a recent year in the United States. These statistics indicate that pedestrians are regularly at risk of accidents and injuries, and such an accident might happen to you or a family member.
When you hear about pedestrian accidents, you might think of a driver who is not paying attention who hits someone while they are walking. While many pedestrian accidents are the fault of drivers, this is not true in every situation. In some cases, pedestrians might be negligent, and that negligence might lead to the collision.
Pedestrian Negligence that Causes Accidents
While pedestrians are often viewed as the victims of crashes, pedestrians can be careless and make mistakes while they are walking that lead to their injuries. Some examples of how pedestrians can be negligent include:
- Distraction – We’ve all heard of distracted driving, but have you considered the risks of distracted walking? When pedestrians have their attention on their smartphones or other distractions, they can fail to notice cars coming or other obstacles that can lead to pedestrian accidents.
- Impairment – Alcohol and drugs can cause impairments, whether you are driving or walking. If you are impaired, you can have less focus and slower reaction times, or you might even stumble and fall in the roadway, leading to a traffic crash.
- Not following safety laws – Pedestrians are expected to abide by safety rules just like drivers. These include crossing at crosswalks when available, following walk signals, and more. If a pedestrian decides to cross the street without the clear right-of-way in a crosswalk, it can cause an accident.
- Children – While parents can do their best to teach children to stay away from the street, it might not stop a child from darting off the sidewalk to retrieve a ball or crossing the street before looking both ways. This can increase the risk of pedestrian accidents, especially because small children can be more difficult to see for drivers.
It is true that pedestrians can cause accidents, but what does that mean for insurance claims or lawsuits arising from the crash?
Drivers can often sustain injuries in pedestrian accidents, as well. If a pedestrian was fully to blame for causing a crash, and you sustained injuries, the negligent pedestrian should be liable for your medical bills and other losses.
However, in many situations, both a pedestrian and a driver might have been partially responsible for causing an accident. For example, if a pedestrian crossed against the walk signal, and a driver failed to stop because they were distracted, both can share liability. This means that pedestrians in California might still be able to recover for partial losses.
If you were a pedestrian found to be 75 percent liable, and a driver was deemed 25 percent liable for a crash, you have the right to recover for 25 percent of your losses. This can be significant, especially because pedestrian injuries can be particularly severe. Always discuss your pedestrian accident with a California injury attorney.