Who to blame: Are Pedestrians Ever at Fault
Pedestrians always have the right-of-way in Texas, so are pedestrians ever fault in a traffic accident? Like any other person on the roads and walkways, pedestrians have a duty to follow all traffic laws, and they can be held responsible for failing to do so.
In certain situations, pedestrians may be at-fault for an accident on the road, either partially or in whole. Here are five things to know about pedestrians who are to blame.
#1 – How Pedestrians Can Be at Fault
There are a few common scenarios where pedestrians can be responsible for a vehicle accident; at least in part.
- Violating a ‘Do Not Walk’ signal
- Walking on bridges, highways, or byways where pedestrians are prohibited
- Entering traffic on foot while intoxicated
- Darting into traffic
- Jaywalking, or walking outside a crosswalk
#2 – The Modified Comparative Negligence Rule
Texas follows what’s known as the modified comparative negligence rule. In accident cases where both the driver and pedestrian are at-fault, this rule provides a formula for deciding how much each party is at fault, which helps to determine damages.
For example, let’s say a pedestrian was crossing the street, even though there was a ‘Do Not Walk’ signal and was struck by an oncoming vehicle. The pedestrian would be allocated part of the blame. However, the driver was using his cell phone to update his Facebook status while driving, which means part of the blame would be allocated to him, as well. The circumstances would all be factored in to assign a specific percentage of the blame to each party.
The percentage of blame would then be used to determine how much damages can be awarded. So, if our pedestrian was only 25% at fault because the driver updating his Facebook status was 85% at fault, the pedestrian would be able to collect 85% of the total costs of her damages.
#3 – Pedestrians Who Are More At-Fault May Not Be Able to Recover at All
Under the 51/50 rule, pedestrians who are more than 51% at fault for an accident will not be able to recover any compensation for their injuries. This is a hard and fast rule under Texas law.
#4 – Insurance Companies Will Try to Blame the Victim
It’s widely known that insurance companies will try to get out of paying a claim if they can. In the case of vehicle v. pedestrian accidents, they often try to blame the victim, whoever that may be. It’s important to understand that they will not automatically try to protect the pedestrian.
#5 – You Need an Attorney
Vehicle v. pedestrian accident claims can be complex, especially because of the comparative negligence rule. Whether you were the driver or pedestrian, you’re likely to get an unfair percentage of the blame without legal representation to defend you. You need an attorney to ensure the process is fair.
What Happens if you Hit a Pedestrian Jaywalking?
Jaywalking is a particularly common scenario where a pedestrian is at least partly to blame for an accident. If you do hit a pedestrian jaywalking, it’s important to stay at the scene. If you flee, it will be assumed that you were doing something illegal, and most of the blame may be assigned to you.
You should call 911 and cooperate with the police when they arrive. Do not lie about any details, but do not admit fault, either. The police will perform an investigation and prepare a police report.
Even if you feel the pedestrian was completely at fault, it’s important to seek legal advice. Remember, the insurance company will try to blame the victim so it’s necessary to have representation right away.