Is the Driver Always at Fault in a Pedestrian Versus Auto Accident?

Pedestrian on phone at crosswalkWhen a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle, people usually assume the driver is the at-fault party. While this is often true because the driver was distracted or impaired by drugs or alcohol, there are times when a pedestrian either shares fault or may even be completely at fault.

Since there are many factors that affect who is at fault for a pedestrian accident, it is a good idea to seek legal help from an attorney who has a detailed understanding of Tennessee state law and how pedestrians may share responsibility for an accident. The experienced Knoxville personal injury attorneys at Greg Coleman law can evaluate the circumstances surrounding your accident and determine if you hold any fault for the crash. We will fight tirelessly to try to prevent you from being assigned more fault than you deserve so we can pursue the maximum compensation on your behalf.

Pedestrian Laws in Tennessee

Just like motorists, pedestrians must follow a set of laws. These rules were established to help keep you safe and prevent accidents with passing cars. There are a variety of pedestrian laws in Tennessee that must be followed, including laws governing:

  • Use of sidewalks – When a sidewalk is available and a pedestrian is walking alongside a roadway, he or she must use the sidewalk.
  • Crosswalks – Pedestrians must obey the walk signal and only walk when the signal is illuminated.
  • Crossing a street – If a pedestrian crosses at another location where there is not a crosswalk, he or she must yield the right-of-way to motorists on the roadway.
  • No soliciting – Pedestrians cannot solicit for rides near public roadways or alleyways.
  • Impaired walking – It is illegal for pedestrians to walk along a highway or other public roadway while impaired by drugs or alcohol.

If a pedestrian was violating one of these state laws at the time of the accident, he or she may be found completely or partially responsible for the accident.

Read more on these pedestrian rules here.

What Is Pedestrian Negligence?

The law requires all people to act in a reasonably safe manner to avoid injury to others. Everyone is expected to exercise a reasonable level of care. Drivers are required to follow the rules of the road while pedestrians are required to act in a sensible manner. If a pedestrian fails to exercise reasonable care and a collision results, the pedestrian can be found negligent and responsible for some percentage of the accident.

Driver Duty of Care

Tennessee law requires that drivers exercise due care to avoid colliding with pedestrians and authorizes the use of a horn when necessary. Additionally, drivers must be particularly vigilant to watch out for children and confused or incapacitated persons on a roadway. The driver’s duty of care requires him or her to do the following:

  • Drive at a safe speed
  • Keep a proper lookout for pedestrians and other hazards
  • Keep the vehicle under control
  • Keep attention on the road
  • Avoid colliding with a person

If a driver violates this duty and an accident happens, he or she may be found partially or completely at fault for an accident.

When the Fault Is Shared in Car Versus Pedestrian Accidents

In some situations, both the driver and the pedestrian may contribute to the accident. For example, the pedestrian may have been illegally crossing the road while the driver was slightly speeding.

To handle these situations, Tennessee uses the principle of comparative negligence. According to this principle, the damages that a personal injury victim receives are reduced by the degree of his or her own fault in the accident. For example, if the pedestrian is found to be 20 percent responsible for the accident, his or her damage award would be reduced by 20 percent.

However, if the victim is 50 percent or more at fault for the accident, he or she cannot recover any compensation from the other party.

Even though you may share fault in the accident, it is important that you do not admit to being partially at fault. You are probably not aware of all the things that contributed to the accident and admitting fault could be used against you later on to reduce the value of your claim.

Contact Us for More Information

If you would like more information on your legal options after suffering an injury in a car crash while you were a pedestrian, contact the experienced legal team at Greg Coleman Law. We can discuss your particular circumstances during a free consultation.

There is no charge for having a meeting with us and you will not be billed for having our attorneys represent you unless you are compensated at the end of the legal process.

Set up your free legal consultation right now by calling us at (865) 247-0080.