Determining Fault in Pedestrian Accidents

ELI5: Negligence

You can probably recall a time where you’ve almost hit a pedestrian. Maybe it was night and the person wasn’t wearing any reflective clothing. Or, perhaps, it was daylight and the pedestrian was jaywalking across a busy street. You might have even been the pedestrian. Tragically, many people are hit and fatally injured: nationally, over 6,000 people were killed in pedestrian-traffic accidents in 2019. And this number does not include the countless people who were critically injured in these accidents.


Though pedestrian accidents aren’t nearly as common as motor vehicle accidents, they can be just as deadly. Pedestrian accidents account for 14% of Utah’s road fatalities and, in 2020 alone, nearly 700 people were injured in a pedestrian accident.  Nationally, 84% of all pedestrian fatalities occurred when a pedestrian struck the front of a vehicle. In Utah, the most common cause of a pedestrian accident was the driver’s failure to yield the right of way.


Determining Fault in Pedestrian Accidents

If you were involved in a pedestrian accident, you’re likely wondering who had the right of way. The right of way can be a nebulous thing as it varies from circumstance to circumstance. Generally speaking, pedestrians have the right of way when they’re on a sidewalk, using a crosswalk, or using a school crossing. Pedestrians also have the right of way if they are using an unmarked crosswalk and the vehicles are stopped. When drivers are not stopped at an unmarked crosswalk, pedestrians must yield to them. Pedestrians cannot cross intersections diagonally or walk alongside freeways.


Determining who is at fault can be a tricky thing in pedestrian accidents. Utah is considered to be a Modified Comparative Fault state. This means that, in Utah, an accident does not have to be 100% one party’s fault. Two parties can share fault. However, in order to have a claim, you must be less than 50% at fault. A personal injury lawyer will be able to best determine how much fault you had in the accident.


Determining Fault in Pedestrian Accidents

The driver may be found at fault if they were somehow impaired when the accident occurred. If the driver was intoxicated, or under the influence of drugs, they may be found liable for the injuries the pedestrian sustained. Furthermore, if the driver was distracted by texting or using a phone while driving, they may also be responsible for any injuries. If the pedestrian was using a crosswalk, the driver will likely be responsible for the accident.


The Utah Department of Public Safety defines jaywalking as, “crossing at any point other than a marked crosswalk if you are between two adjacent intersections with traffic lights (41-6a-1003)”. A lot of people assume that jaywalking pedestrians cannot sue for personal injury. This is untrue; motorists are supposed to look out for anything that may cross their path, including pedestrians. Also, it is important to remember that two parties can share fault under Utah’s laws.


Pedestrian-traffic accidents are often confusing for all parties involved. A lot of pedestrians are critically injured and many drivers are understandably shaken up. If you were hurt during a pedestrian-traffic accident, Moxie Law Group may be able to aid you in seeking the compensation you deserve. Our attorneys understand the complex nature of pedestrian accidents and are able to help answer any questions you may have.

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