In car vs. pedestrian accidents, pedestrians are usually the victims—and the more vulnerable of the two parties—but not always. The idea that the “pedestrian always has the right of way” isn’t necessarily true.
Everyone using a public road or sidewalk has a responsibility to use a reasonable degree of care and caution. If they act negligently, they may be liable for causing an accident. Alternatively, their comparative negligence may limit the amount of damages they’re able to recover.
Pedestrians and Negligence
Both drivers and pedestrians are expected to use a reasonable degree of care when using the road. Most of the time, pedestrians can avoid getting caught in (or causing) accidents simply by staying out of the road.
However, pedestrians can act negligently, too. In legal terms, negligence occurs when a person fails to meet a reasonable standard of care, that failure causes an accident and someone is harmed as a result.
When it comes to pedestrians causing accidents, they often happen when pedestrians fail to use common safety measures. If a pedestrian walks out in front of traffic, or jaywalks, that can easily cause an accident. Whether a driver hits the pedestrian, a building or another car, the pedestrian can be held liable for damages.
Why can the pedestrian be hit if a driver swerves to avoid them, and hits another car? Because the accident wouldn’t have occurred, but for the pedestrian’s negligent conduct. Therefore, they’re responsible for any damages that they cause.
Sometimes both driver and pedestrian are at fault. In that case, comparative negligence applies. When a plaintiff sues a defendant, the defendant can present evidence that the plaintiff was also at fault.
Ohio is a modified comparative negligence state, which means that the amount awarded is reduced by the percentage at which the plaintiff is at fault. If the plaintiff is more than 51 percent negligent, they cannot recover any damages at all.
This could apply in a situation where the pedestrian contributed to the action—for example, walking across the street on a red light—but the driver was also acting negligently, such as texting and driving. No matter who sues, the other party is entitled to request their negligent act reduce the available damages.
In short, yes, pedestrians can be held liable for road accidents. It’s not as common, but it’s possible.
Get Advice from an Ohio Personal Injury Attorney Today
Anyone can cause an accident, even pedestrians. If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, I’ll Make Them Pay!® You shouldn’t have to bear the costs of your injuries alone. Call me today at 877.944.4373 to discuss your case and decide how to proceed.