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Can the Pedestrian Be at Fault in a Car-Pedestrian Accident?

Posted on October 21, 2022 in

When a pedestrian is hit by a car, serious injuries and damages can occur. Typically, the pedestrian suffers more damage than the motor vehicle or its occupants, resulting in a disparity in damages. While a pedestrian may be more vulnerable, this does not always mean that the driver is automatically at fault.

There are certain situations where a pedestrian may be at fault for a collision. However, proving liability will require sufficient evidence that shows that the pedestrian’s actions caused the accident. 

How to Prove Fault in a Pedestrian Accident Claim

There are four facts that a plaintiff will need to establish in order to prove a pedestrian accident claim:

  • The at-fault party owed the plaintiff a responsibility to uphold a certain duty of care.
  • The at-fault party breached the duty of care through a negligent act or failure to act.
  • The at-fault party’s actions caused the accident and the plaintiff’s injuries.
  • The plaintiff suffered damages that he or she can recover compensation for in the claim.

There are several pieces of evidence that could be leveraged to prove a pedestrian accident claim. Witness testimonies and traffic camera footage could establish what each party was doing at the time of the accident. Medical records could prove the nature and extent of the victims’ injuries. 

When Is a Pedestrian at Fault in an Accident?

Drivers have a responsibility to follow traffic laws and act with reasonable care when traveling on roads or highways. Pedestrians have the same obligations—and a failure to uphold these duties of care can result in negligence. If a pedestrian’s actions cause an accident, he or she would be liable for any collisions that they caused.

There are some situations where a motor vehicle driver is clearly at fault for the accident. A driver who speeds through a stop sign and strikes a pedestrian who crosses the street breaks the law and is liable for the accident. 

However, if a pedestrian fails to exercise his or her duty of care, he or she would be at fault. For example, say that a pedestrian runs into the road in front of a moving vehicle. In this situation, he or she failed to act with a reasonable degree of care and could be held responsible for the accident. 

Shared Liability in Car-Pedestrian Accidents

In some pedestrian accident cases, liability is shared between the driver and the pedestrian. For example, a pedestrian may be jaywalking, but the driver is texting and failing to pay attention to the road. In these situations, Oregon’s comparative negligence statute will apply to the case.

Under this law, the plaintiff’s settlement would be reduced by the percentage of liability that he or she shares. If the plaintiff holds more liability than the defendant, he or she would not recover any financial compensation. 

Using the example above, the pedestrian may be assigned 30% of the fault. If the pedestrian had claimed $40,000 in damages, he or she would only be able to recover $28,000.

Speak to an Attorney about Your Pedestrian Accident Claim

If you were involved in a Portland pedestrian accident, it can be difficult to know what to do next. In these situations, it is important to speak with a Portland personal injury lawyer who can protect your right to compensation and identify the liable party. As soon as possible after your collision, contact a Portland pedestrian accident lawyer to schedule a free case consultation and plan your next steps.