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Is the pedestrian ever at fault in a car accident?

Photo of Christopher Seleski

It's often said that the driver is always at fault, or that the pedestrian always has the right of way. Now, while drivers should certainly make an effort to avoid hitting pedestrians, is it true that the pedestrian can never be at fault?

The reality is that there are some pretty clear ways that a pedestrian can be at fault after a wreck in New York City. Many of them come down to negligence or pedestrians who act in a dangerous manner, perhaps putting drivers in a position where there is nothing else they can do but hit them. For example, they might:

-- Cross the street even though the signal clearly says "don't walk."-- Run or walk right out into the general flow of traffic.-- Cross dangerously at a place without a crosswalk; this is also known as jaywalking.-- Sprint out into the road, right in front of a vehicle.

On top of that, pedestrians are supposed to be alert and pay attention, rather than just looking at signals. A malfunctioning signal should not cause an accident because pedestrians should see the danger.

As you can see from these examples, drivers can't avoid pedestrians in all cases. If a person is texting and walking and he or she steps off of the curb into traffic without looking up, a driver who is just a few feet away cannot prevent an accident at any serious speed.

Determining who is at fault in an accident is very important, and so one must be aware of what is expected and what laws are in place.

Source: FIndLaw, "Car v. Pedestrian Accidents: Who's at Fault?," Brett Snider, accessed July 27, 2015

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Past President NYSTLA
Big Apple | Pothole & Sidewalk Protection Committee
Trial Lawyers Care
Super Lawyers
Take Justice Back | www.takejusticeback.com
Life Member | Million Dollar Advocates Forum | Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum | The Top Trial Lawyers in America
American Association for Justice Leaders Forum | Patron 2015
American Association for Justice | Sustaining Member 2015
Avvo Rating | 10.0 Superb | Top Attorney Medical Malpractice

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