Most pedestrian accidents are caused by driver negligence. However, there are many circumstances that contribute to a pedestrian being injured when knocked to the ground.
Below are several causes of pedestrian knockdown incidents:
- Skateboarders on a sidewalk
- Runners on a sidewalk
- Distracted pedestrians not watching the road
- Uncontrolled or unleashed dogs
- Large groups of people on a sidewalk
- Trucks or buses with large side mirrors that extend into a sidewalk
- Parked cars suddenly opening their doors
- Bicyclists on a sidewalk
- Physical altercations
- Children running around or rough-housing
A vast majority of pedestrian accidents revolve around right of way violations. However, just because a pedestrian is aware of his or her surroundings and is following the law does not necessarily mean he or she has the right of way. Further, it’s important to understand that a pedestrian who crosses a street and does not have the right of way will not be exempt from liability if their acts contribute towards causing a car accident.
In essence: every driver and pedestrian has a legally mandated responsibility. All drivers must use reasonable care to avoid hitting any pedestrians, and all pedestrians must use reasonable care to safely cross a street.
Right of way laws are intended to promote pedestrian and driver safety. For example, the penalty for a driver who doesn’t yield right of way to a pedestrian is at least $220, if injuries are involved. The penalty for not yielding to a blind pedestrian is more severe: a maximum $1,000 fine and six months in prison, or possibly both.
Every driver and pedestrian on public roads is required by law to be aware of their surroundings. It’s true that following right of way laws may absolve a driver of criminal wrongdoing, but this will not minimize fault. A driver has a duty of care to minimize the risk of hitting a jaywalker, even if that driver had a green light and the pedestrian didn’t bother using a crosswalk to walk across a street.
A pedestrian also cannot:
- Step off a curb when a car is nearby
- Stop in the middle of an intersection, or
- Block traffic even when they do have the right of way