Pedestrian accidents are surprisingly common with 6,205 pedestrian deaths nationwide in 2019. To prevent such accidents, pedestrians should use extreme caution when entering the roadway.
If you are injured as a pedestrian but are walking outside of the crosswalk, the courts could find you partially responsible for your injuries. In that case, the financial damages that the court would order the other party to pay you would be reduced by the percent that the courts find you at fault for.
When determining fault, the Indiana courts will evaluate your negligence as well as the negligence of the driver who hit you and caused the accident. To get a better concept of how Indiana determines fault in pedestrian accidents, we’ll provide an overview of key laws you should know about.
Duty as a Pedestrian
While pedestrians do have the right of way, they also must be conscious of not stepping out in front of a vehicle or crossing a road where they know cars cannot see them or will struggle to stop in time.
For example, pedestrians are prohibited from entering a freeway or highway. Cars travel at high speeds in these areas making it hard for them to see pedestrians in time and engage in defensive maneuvers.
If there is a crosswalk in the area, pedestrians should use it. These areas have signs and signals to alert cars about pedestrian traffic to help protect them.
While out walking, you should always stay alert to your surroundings and avoid distractions, such as texting and walking or listening to loud music that would make it challenging to hear upcoming cars and traffic noises around you.
Negligence in Pedestrian Accidents
Negligence acknowledges that we have a duty of care toward others. The courts will evaluate which party breached that duty of care when evaluating personal injury cases. Sometimes, both parties are to blame for the incident, but one bears more fault than the other.
For example, even if you cross the road outside of a crosswalk, drivers have a responsibility to yield to you, especially if there is no crosswalk in the area. To discover which party was negligent, the courts will look at the evidence and hear witness testimony describing details, such as how much time the driver had to stop before colliding with the pedestrian.
Obvious signs of negligence in a pedestrian accident would be a driver who is distracted by a mobile device, eating, or interacting with passengers at the time of the accident.
Likewise, the courts will evaluate whether the pedestrian was distracted at the time of the accident and whether the pedestrian exercised an appropriate level of caution before entering the roadway.
Indiana’s Contributory Negligence Law
Your ability to collect financial damages from a driver who causes a pedestrian accident will depend on whether you are 51 percent (or more) at fault for the accident. Once you reach this threshold, the courts will prohibit you from pursuing financial damages and you might end up paying the other party for their damages.
If the courts find you only 25 percent at fault and rule that the other party must pay you $8,000 in damages, you’ll only get $6,000 because your compensation will be reduced by the amount you contributed to the accident.
Evaluating fault and contributory negligence in a case is complicated and requires expertise. You should not try to pursue a pedestrian accident case on your own. Instead, contact Stewart & Stewart for a free case evaluation. We’ll let you know whether you should still pursue a case if you crossed an intersection outside of the crosswalk.