According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of pedestrian deaths in 2015 increased to 5,375. On average, a pedestrian is killed every two hours in motor vehicle crashes. Are the vehicle drivers, though, always responsible for pedestrian fatalities?

More Than One Party May Be Liable for Pedestrian Death

In some accidents involving a motor vehicle and a pedestrian, there may be more than one party who could be held liable for the serious or even fatal injuries a pedestrian suffers. This could include the driver of the motor vehicle that strikes the pedestrian, the pedestrian him or herself or the agency responsible for the roadway and crosswalk design.

What Is the Driver’s Duty of Care?

If a driver does not exercise reasonable care when operating a motor vehicle and strikes a pedestrian, he or she could be held liable for the pedestrian’s injuries and/or death. In addition, the driver could also be charged criminally. Failing to operate a motor vehicle with reasonable care is considered negligence. Some of the most common actions that can contribute to driver negligence include distracted driving, disobeying traffic signals or signs, failing to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks, speeding, and driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Does a Pedestrian Have a Duty of Care?

A pedestrian has a responsibility to exercise reasonable care as it pertains to his or her own safety. A pedestrian may be assessed contributory negligence if he or she fails to exercise the proportionate amount of care to the danger and anticipated consequences to be avoided. In other words, the pedestrian can contrite to his or her own injuries. Some factors that can contribute to pedestrian negligence include failing to use a marked crosswalk when one is present, ignoring an intersection’s walk sign, disrupting the flow of traffic or darting in front of a motor vehicle.

When You Are Involved in a Motor Vehicle Versus Pedestrian Crash

If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident, others who are involved may try to blame you for the crash and your injuries. You should seek medical care and have a police officer respond to the crash scene to make a report. If you feel that the driver of the motor vehicle that struck you or another party is responsible for the accident and liable for your injuries, a local, experienced attorney can help you learn more about your legal options for seeking compensation.