A pedestrian who was injured in a car accident in California.

Many people think that accidents involving pedestrians mean that the driver is always at fault. However, that is not always the case. Understandably, prospective clients want to know, Can a pedestrian be at fault?

Liability differs in every case, and yes, a pedestrian can be at fault in a car accident. You often hear the saying that “pedestrians have the right of way,” but that isn’t necessarily always the case.

Drivers and pedestrians have a duty to act as a prudent person with reasonable care. Failure to do so could result in potential negligence against a pedestrian in an accident claim.

If you sustained injuries in an accident caused by a negligent party, speak with an experienced California pedestrian injury lawyer at the Beliz Law Firm.

Pedestrian Accidents in California

Pedestrians have the right-of-way at marked and unmarked crosswalks in California. When a pedestrian fails to comply with the crosswalk or pedestrian laws, the driver may have the right-of-way. The law doesn’t protect pedestrians when they violate the law, such as jaywalking between vehicles. That means pedestrians can be legally at fault for causing a crash. 

An example would be a pedestrian who darts out between two parked cars in front of a vehicle, causing the driver to crash into the parked cars. In this case, the pedestrian might be liable for the damage to those parked vehicles.

Other examples of situations where pedestrians might be liable in an accident include:

  • Crossing at a crosswalk, but violating a traffic law such as crossing on a red light when it says don’t walk;
  • Walking on a bridge or highway where pedestrian traffic is prohibited; or
  • Acting recklessly, negligently, or while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

While pedestrian traffic is prohibited in places such as a highway or freeway, it doesn’t mean a driver can hit someone and have no fault. A motorist may break down and walk to a call box or get off the highway to get assistance. Drivers still have a duty to be cautious and avoid striking them.

Shared Fault for Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrian accident liability is sometimes split between the driver and pedestrian, where both parties are deemed to be partially responsible for the accident. California is a pure comparative negligence state. That means you can collect a portion of your damages in an accident, even if you are primarily at fault for the collision.

Even in cases where it might appear a pedestrian is clearly at fault, it’s possible the driver will still have some liability. For example, maybe a pedestrian jaywalked, but the driver was distracted and speeding or under the influence of alcohol.

The defendant’s insurance company will do their best to put some if not all the liability on you, whether you’re the driver or pedestrian. Even if they can prove only 10% or 20% liability, it means they can reduce their exposure and potential payout. For example, if a jury finds you 15% at fault, you would collect 85% of your damages. It also means the other party would be able to pursue 15% of their damages from your insurance.

How a California Pedestrian Injury Attorney Can Assist You

If you sustained injuries in a pedestrian accident, retaining a skilled California pedestrian injury lawyer is essential. You need a legal advocate on your side who can protect your rights and help you fight for the maximum compensation in your case. When you retain the Beliz Law Firm to represent you, we will immediately open an independent investigation. Our team will order your medical records and police report, speak with witnesses, and do a scene investigation.

In some cases, we may need to hire an expert, such as an accident reconstructionist. This expert will review the facts of the accident. They will prepare a report deciding whom they believe to be at fault for the collision. They can also testify on your behalf should your case eventually go to trial. An accident reconstructionist’s report can be a crucial part of your case.

We will also handle all communication and settlement talks with the other party’s insurance or legal practitioners. Insurance companies rely on the fact that you don’t do this for a living. Adjusters will rarely ever offer you the total value of your claim. Instead, they will do their best to minimize your payout and put the majority of the blame on you when investigating pedestrian accident liability. Should the other party’s insurance fail to negotiate or refuse to accept any liability, we will file a lawsuit on your behalf.

Contact a California Pedestrian Attorney Today

If you or someone you love sustained injuries in a California auto accident with a pedestrian, contact The Beliz Law Firm. We have nearly two decades of experience assisting injured victims just like you. We understand the applicable laws and tactics insurance companies use to avoid paying damages. Our firm has the skills and resources available should you choose to proceed with preparing a case for trial. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation. We will review your case, help you identify the liable party, and assess what your case is worth. Let us determine the best course of legal action and help you fight for the compensation you deserve.

Author Photo

Michael Beliz

Michael A. Beliz, Esq., established The Beliz Law Firm in the spring of 2011.  Michael has been a practicing attorney since 2006 and worked for two of the most prominent plaintiff’s personal injury law firms in Southern California.  He has worked on and handled hundreds of cases as an attorney in all types of personal injury cases, including vehicle accidents, pedestrian accidents and dog bites, and successfully recovered millions of dollars for his clients.

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