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Can Pedestrians be at Fault?

Have you ever wondered whether the pedestrian can be at fault for an accident? This question isn’t common, because it’s well-known that the pedestrian always has the right of way. Surprisingly, the vehicle isn’t always at fault.


Normally, we assume that the driver is at fault. In many incidents, the driver is at fault. For one thing, running a stoplight, or hitting a pedestrian at a designated crosswalk is clearly the driver’s fault. Drivers behind the wheel should always be paying attention to what is going around them, including watching for pedestrians. However, there are some cases where the pedestrian is at fault.


Pedestrian Fault

Both drivers and pedestrians are expected to follow traffic laws. Drivers should always stop at a red light or stop sign, and pedestrians should walk on the crosswalk and wait for the walk sign. If a pedestrian fails to follow traffic rules, then they can be at fault. To clarify:

  • Jaywalking
  • Crossing the street without a “walk” signal
  • Walking along causeways, bridges, or highways
  • Intoxication – walking or entering a street or highway while under the influence could lead to a potential accident


Shared Fault

Ultimately, law enforcement, the insurance adjuster, or the court decides who’s at fault for an accident. Sometimes, both parties can be at fault.


There are two types of legal bases determining whether who is at fault. Depending on the state you live in.

Contributory Negligence: in law, behavior that contributes to one’s own injury or loss and fails to meet the standard of prudence that one should observe for one’s own good.

Comparative Negligence: A tort rule for allocating damages when both parties are at least somewhat at fault. Each pays their share of damages.


These are two types of legal bases to help determine who is at fault. If you have been in an accident, after you call 911, give 1-800-ASK-GARY a call to refer you to legal advice.

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DISCLAIMER: ASK GARY is not an attorney or law firm and as such can not provide you with legal advice, however may refer you to an attorney who can provide you with legal advice.

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