Can a Pedestrian Be Liable for a Traffic Accident?

traffic accident

A traffic accident involving a vehicle and a pedestrian is not uncommon in Georgia. Usually, this type of accident is referred to as an auto-pedestrian accident or pedestrian accident. Claims arising from such an accident are handled by an Atlanta pedestrian accident lawyer.

Generally, as we’ve seen several times, a driver is usually the primary focus of an auto-pedestrian accident investigation. More often than not, this is because it is a vehicle driver that causes this accident type. However, a few times, the car driver is not the at-fault party in a traffic accident involving a pedestrian.

Our Atlanta auto accident lawyers discuss when a pedestrian would be the responsible party for an accident. Contact us at Calvin Smith Law if you are involved in an auto-pedestrian accident and believe you’re not at fault. We will get you the compensation you deserve.

When Will a Pedestrian Be Liable for a Traffic Accident? 

Under tort law’s negligence doctrine, there is a duty of care owed by specific persons in a fiduciary relationship or a relationship of trust. This duty exists between drivers and passengers, doctors and patients, product manufacturers and consumers, etc. When on the road, a car driver also has a duty to those outside their vehicle like pedestrians, cyclists, etc.

While the law expects drivers to uphold this duty at all times and exercise reasonable care, the pedestrian has a role to play. Generally, there is no explicit duty imposed on the pedestrian in respect to vehicle drivers. However, there is an implied duty for pedestrians to behave in a safe and orderly manner when crossing the road to avoid an accident.

This falls under the equity maxim “he who comes to equity, must come with clean hands.” Thus, where a pedestrian behaves in a way that makes it hard for a driver to uphold their duty of care, they would be liable for the accident. It simply means that where the crash evidence shows that the car driver drove in a careful, cautious manner to avoid a collision, the law will be on their side.

So, suppose a driver is driving at the right speed in a business district. Then a pedestrian runs out of a parking lot into the roadway without looking. They will be liable for damages. Similarly, a pedestrian who jaywalks, that is, crosses outside the designated crosswalk, will be liable for an accident.

The preceding would also be the case where the pedestrian wears dark clothing at night and jaywalks or lies on the road. Furthermore, suppose a pedestrian’s actions cause the vehicle driver to maneuver to avoid hitting them. Then, the pedestrian would be liable for any damage resulting from such a maneuver. For example, if the evasion caused the driver to strike another car or crash against private property.

Can You Get Compensation From an At-Fault Pedestrian? 

When it comes to traffic accidents, the conversation focuses more on fault driver’s liability. This often makes drivers wonder if they can get compensation when a pedestrian causes an accident. Since auto-pedestrian accidents come under personal injury law and the Georgia fault system applies, an at-fault pedestrian will compensate a driver for injuries and other losses.

However, note that getting compensation is often hard because the pedestrian in traffic accidents always ends up the injured party. The car driver might get only a scratch or escape unscathed with minimal damage to their vehicle. Thus, even though the pedestrian caused the accident, the driver would not receive compensation.

This is largely because one of the elements of negligence a person must prove to get compensation is damages. Thus, even if a duty of care existed, the pedestrian breached it and caused the accident, a compensation claim might fail if there were no damages. Here, there would be nothing for the pedestrian to compensate the driver for as they suffered the most impact of the accident.

The case would turn out differently if the at-fault pedestrian were uninjured and a driver struck another person or damaged private property in trying to avoid them. The pedestrian will pay for the damage to the property and compensate the car driver if their vehicle gets damaged or they suffer an injury.

Contact Calvin Smith Law Immediately After a Pedestrian Accident 

Our Atlanta auto accident attorneys could help you identify the at-fault party if you were in an auto-pedestrian accident. Once we do, we will commence the process to get you the maximum compensation. We’ll represent you irrespective of whether you’re a pedestrian or driver as long as you’re not at fault. Contact us at Calvin Smith Law today for a free initial consultation.

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