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When Is a Pedestrian At Fault For A Car Accident

Colburn Law

When a pedestrian is involved in a car accident, many people automatically assume that the driver is the one who caused the accident. However, this is not always the case. Pedestrian and driver interactions on the road can be complex and nuanced. In some cases, the pedestrian is responsible for the collision. To understand these complicated situations, it is always best to consult with a Seattle pedestrian accident attorney.

Liability in Washington Pedestrian Accidents

Washington operates under a fault-based system for car accidents, including those involving pedestrians. This means the party responsible for causing the accident bears the liability for any damages suffered by anyone else in the accident.

Determining fault is pivotal, as it directly influences the ability of the injured party to recover compensation. Victims have the right to file insurance claims or personal injury lawsuits against the responsible person or entity.

Situations Where a Pedestrian May Be at Fault

Just as drivers have a responsibility to follow traffic laws and operate their vehicles safely, pedestrians must also adhere to rules designed to protect their safety and that of others around them. When they don’t uphold these responsibilities and subsequently cause accidents, they may be liable for any damages.

There are several instances where a pedestrian could be deemed at fault for an accident:

  • Ignoring Traffic Signals: A pedestrian may be at fault if they cross the street against a traffic signal, such as walking when the “Do Not Walk” sign is illuminated, increasing the risk of collisions with vehicles that have the right of way.
  • Jaywalking: When a pedestrian crosses the street outside of a designated crosswalk or intersection, they put themselves and drivers at risk. This action, known as jaywalking, can lead to accidents that the pedestrian may be liable for.
  • Walking While Intoxicated: Pedestrians under the influence of alcohol or drugs may have impaired judgment and slower reaction times. If their state of intoxication contributes to an accident, they could be considered at fault.
  • Distractions: Pedestrians distracted by their phones, headphones, or other devices may not pay attention to their surroundings. If this lack of attention leads to an accident, the distracted pedestrian may bear responsibility.

Contributory Negligence in Washington State

In some cases, a pedestrian may not be the primary party responsible for an accident. However, their actions may have contributed to the accident in some way. In these situations, Washington’s contributory negligence laws will apply to the case.

According to this statute, an injured pedestrian can recover compensation even if they were 99% at fault for the accident. However, the court will reduce their award by the percentage of fault they share.

Revised Code of Washington 4.22.005

In an action based on fault seeking to recover damages for injury or death to a person or harm to property, any contributory fault chargeable to the claimant diminishes proportionately the amount awarded as compensatory damages for an injury attributable to the claimant’s contributory fault but does not bar recovery. This rule applies whether or not under prior law the claimant’s contributory fault constituted a defense or was disregarded under applicable legal doctrines, such as last clear chance.

Speak to A Seattle Car Accident Attorney Today

Being involved in a pedestrian accident can be scary, especially when you are dealing with issues of potential liability. Do not navigate this challenging time alone.

A Seattle car accident lawyer can help you determine who is responsible for the crash and recover the compensation that you deserve. Schedule a free consultation as soon as possible after your accident to learn about your options and plan your next steps.