When can a pedestrian be blamed for a collision with a car?

While drivers have a duty of care to watch out for pedestrians and to avoid hitting them if at all possible, there are times when the driver will attempt to pass blame on to the pedestrian for a crash. If he presents a strong case, the driver of the car may not be held liable, or may share blame with the pedestrian. We take a look at situations where the pedestrian may be found to be at fault for his or her injuries.

Pedestrians Do Have Responsibility

Many people believe that pedestrians always have the right of way because they are more likely to be injured in a run-in with a car. However, this is not true. Drivers cannot be expected to watch for pedestrians in areas where they are not expected to be. In particular, if a pedestrian is in violation of traffic law when he is hit, he is likely to be held at least partially responsible for the crash. Some examples of this include the following:

  • Crossing in the middle of the street, outside of a crosswalk—also known as jaywalking
  • Walking along a highway, bridge, or causeway where pedestrians are prohibited
  • Crossing in a crosswalk, but against the signal
  • Walking while distracted or intoxicated

However, even when a pedestrian is breaking a traffic law, a driver is still expected to take reasonable action to avoid hitting him. Depending on the exact circumstances of the situation, the pedestrian could be held partially or fully responsible for the accident.

Comparative Negligence in Pennsylvania

If you're hit by a car and seriously injured in Pittsburgh, you may find yourself fighting for compensation if the driver of the car claims that you were partially to blame for the accident. Pennsylvania follows the law of comparative negligence, which means that your compensation from the other party’s insurance will be reduced by the amount you are found to be at fault.

For example, if the driver claims you crossed against the light, but the driver was found to be exceeding the speed limit, a jury may decide that the driver was 75 percent at fault and you were 25 percent at fault, so your recovery would be reduced by 25 percent. It is important to understand that the lawyer or insurance adjuster for the driver will almost always try to pin a portion of the blame on the pedestrian to reduce their monetary responsibility. You may have to argue your side and provide evidence to prove it.

Why You Need an Attorney

Unless you are offered a maximum settlement right away by the driver’s insurance company, you would be smart to consult with an attorney following a pedestrian accident. We will take a look at the circumstances, gather necessary evidence, and fight for the recovery you deserve. Do not hesitate to call the pedestrian accident attorneys at Accident & Injury Law Group when you are hit by a car in Pittsburgh.


Pellegrino Certa
Pittsburgh Personal Injury and Car Accident Attorney