There is a popular misconception that, unless a pedestrian is struck while crossing a street in a crosswalk or at an intersection while the “walk” signal is activated, the driver who struck them would not be liable for the accident. In fact, motorists have been held liable for pedestrian injuries even when the pedestrian has been reckless, irresponsible.
Even if a motorist have such a right of way and the pedestrian is drunk, jaywalking or running again across the street and are close late at night, the motorist might be held liable to some degree for the pedestrians injuries if he or she failed to take reasonable steps in the circumstances.
For example, a motorist has been held partially liable where the pedestrian was running across a highway at night wearing dark clothes. The court found that while the plaintiff was negligent for jaywalking and wearing dark clothes, the lighting was sufficient for him to be seen in the driver should have braked. In other cases, drivers have been held partially liable even though pedestrians made a sudden movement into the vehicle’s path because they were in an area where there was partying or festivals occurring and the motorist should have anticipated carelessness.
Pedestrian accidents require careful witness interviewing and, at times, expert engineering evidence to deal evidence concerning lighting conditions. In accidents with serious or catastrophic injuries, it is important to interview witnesses, examine the vehicles involved and the roadway as soon as possible, to ensure that all necessary evidence is obtained and preserved.