When it comes to car accidents involving motorists and pedestrians, we may initially assume that the driver of the vehicle is at fault because many people believe “the pedestrian has the right of way.” However, that is not always the case.
The following are common circumstances under which a pedestrian may be found, at least partially, at fault for a car accident:
- Pedestrian fails to exercise reasonable care – Just like drivers, pedestrians are required to follow the rules of the road. If a pedestrian fails to exercise reasonable care, such as jaywalking, crossing against a traffic signal, or walking in restricted areas including highways, bridges, and causeways, they could be liable in a car-pedestrian accident.
- Pedestrian was using electronics – Drivers are not the only ones who are distracted by cell phones and other electronic devices. Pedestrians who are distracted by their smartphone or listening to music may fail to pay attention to their surroundings.
- Pedestrians who are impaired – According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an estimated 34 percent of fatal pedestrian crashes each had a pedestrian with a BAC of .08 or higher.
In most cases, even when a pedestrian is responsible for causing a crash, the driver of the vehicle is most likely also partially to blame. For instance, a pedestrian may be entering a street while intoxicated, but the driver may have been distracted from texting and therefore unable to stop in time.
In South Carolina, the comparative negligence rule is in effect when an injured person shares some amount of fault for causing or contributing to the underlying accident. So even if a plaintiff is partially negligent, that individual can still recover if their negligence does not exceed the negligence of others.
For example, if the plaintiff is 35 percent at fault, and the defendant is 65 percent to blame, and damages—as determined by a judge or jury—are $150,000, the plaintiff would get a verdict of $97,500 from that defendant.