Your Legal Rights at Work

Auto Accidents Involving Pedestrians: What You Need To Know

by Lewis Hamilton

Auto accidents involving pedestrians are not as common as accidents that involve two vehicles, but they still occur far too frequently. Pedestrian-related accidents often result in serious injuries to the pedestrian, so legal actions sometimes arise from these unfortunate events. This article takes a closer look at some of the legal issues surrounding mishaps between vehicles and individuals on foot.

At Fault

Laws generally demand that drivers must be extra careful in order to avoid striking a pedestrian. For example, if you are driving in a 30 mph zone and see a pedestrian ahead, it's your responsibility to slow down to avoid the individual, even if you are already under the speed limit. Because of these laws, most pedestrian accidents are judged to be the fault of the driver. In some instances, however, the pedestrian might be at fault. For instance, if someone runs out into the road from behind an obstacle, the driver might have no legal responsibility.

Shared Blame

An important concept relating to auto accident lawsuits is known as shared blame. This occurs when both the drive and the pedestrian contributed to the accident. Which party is judged to be more at fault by a judge or jury can have a major impact on any damage award. For example, if you as a driver are determined to be 30 percent at fault and the pedestrian is determined to be 70 percent at fault, then you may only be liable for 30 percent of the pedestrian's damages, or even none, depending on the state law.


Most accidents involving pedestrians do not result in lawsuits. When the driver is at fault, as is usually the case, the driver's  insurance company will typically enter into negotiations with the pedestrian or his attorney. They will then offer to resolve the case with a compensatory settlement.


If you are hit by a car while walking and the driver does not stop, it's crucial to try to determine the driver's identity. Perhaps a witness can identify the driver or someone obtained the vehicle's license plate. If the driver is not found, then you may have to seek compensation from your own insurance company. This often done through the uninsured motorist provision of your policy.

If you are involved in a pedestrian-related accident as either a drive or pedestrian, it's not a good idea to try to resolve the situation yourself. Contact a local accident attorney for professional advice.