When you’re on foot going anywhere, you are considered a pedestrian. Pedestrians are particularly vulnerable for obvious reasons; however, as a pedestrian, if you are involved in an accident, you may well be held responsible.
Recently, while driving just after dark, a person crossed the street in front of my moving car. The person was dressed in black pants, a black shirt and black shoes. I was driving through a small town with several restaurants in the area; perhaps he had just finished a shift and was headed home.
At any rate, I was startled because I could have easily hit him as he was very difficult to see. Although motorists tend to take the blame for many accidents involving pedestrians, sometimes the person walking is held liable. I think this would have been the case with this man jaywalking in the dark.
Most pedestrians are held liable, when accidents occur, under a doctrine called “contributory negligence”. This means that the pedestrian should have been paying attention, not jaywalking and wearing reflective clothing when crossing a street.
As a pedestrian, vehicles are not the only accidents in which you may be injured. Thousands of non-vehicular accidents occur each year. There are various reasons, such as poor property maintenance, parking lot or sidewalk defects, and debris on walkways.
If you are injured in a pedestrian accident whether vehicular or due to a product defect, you may recover damages for your injuries if the other person was negligent. Negligence is considered the failure to do (or not do) something that a reasonable person in the same situation would do.
If you’re walking, you must exercise reasonable care for your own safety. Here are some of the things you should keep in mind:
- Don’t ignore “Walk” signals at intersections
- Don’t dart in front of traffic
- Don’t jaywalk – always use a crosswalk
If you need legal help and have questions about an accident you or a loved one has endured, please consult our Online Legal Directory to find an attorney in your area.