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  • Leitner Varughese Warywoda

Can the Pedestrian Be at Fault for a Pedestrian Accident?

One of the most famous movie scenes that encapsulates the feeling of New York traffic is the scene in Midnight Cowboy, where Dustin Hoffman yells, “I’m walkin’ here!” at a taxicab driver who narrowly avoided hitting him. New York City may have taken great pains to clean up its image since that movie came out, but it has yet to live down its reputation as a place where drivers have little regard for pedestrians.

In bumper-to-bumper traffic, most interactions between cars and pedestrians are nothing that a few harsh words and the occasional obscene gesture will not fix, but even if a car traveling at a low speed hits a pedestrian, the chances are considerable that the pedestrian will suffer serious injuries. As surprising as it sounds, a driver who hits a pedestrian does not automatically bear 100 percent of the fault for the accident. If you got injured because a car struck you when you were walking, contact a New York car accident lawyer.

Pedestrians Have a Legal Duty to Be Cautious, Too

When insurance companies determine fault for a collision involving two vehicles, they consider which driver had the right of way. The same also applies to accidents involving one vehicle and one pedestrian. Contrary to popular belief, pedestrians do not always have the right of way. Here is how to determine when pedestrians have the right of way and when they must yield to vehicular traffic:

  • At a crosswalk, the pedestrian has the right of way when the “walk” sign is on. When the “don’t walk” sign is on, the cars have the right of way.

  • At an intersection with traffic lights but no “walk” and “don’t walk” signs, pedestrians have the right of way when crossing in front of lanes of traffic that are stopped at a red light. Vehicles attempting to turn must yield to pedestrians.

  • When a pedestrian attempts to cross a road at a place where there are no traffic signals or crosswalks, they do not have the right of way. This is jaywalking.

If you get hit by a car while jaywalking, the insurance companies may attribute some or all of the fault for the accident to you. An even clearer case of pedestrian negligence is when a pedestrian attempts to cross one or more lanes of traffic while drunk or under the influence of drugs. Insurance companies and courts may also consider other factors when apportioning fault for a pedestrian accident, such as how well-lit the road was and whether the pedestrian could have chosen a point with better lighting to cross the road or whether the pedestrian was engaging with a cell phone at the time of the accident instead of paying attention to their surroundings.

Contact Leitner Varughese Warywoda About Car Accidents Involving Blind Spots

A personal injury lawyer can help you if you get hit by a car while you are walking. Contact Leitner Varughese Warywoda PLLC in Brooklyn, New York, or call (212)671-1110 to discuss your case.


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