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When is a Pedestrian at Fault in a Car Accident?

Jonathan Walner
Jonathan Walner

January 6, 2016

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Many individuals assume that due to pedestrians having “the right of way,” they can never be at fault in a car accident in Chicago involving pedestrians. However, it’s essential to note that the driver is not automatically responsible. Legally, both drivers and pedestrians in Chicago share the duty to exercise reasonable care on the city’s roads and highways. A failure to do so can lead to negligence, making the negligent party liable for any resulting accidents.

When the Driver is Evidently At Fault

In cases where the driver is evidently at fault for a car accident in Chicago, pedestrians can usually seek compensation from the driver or the driver’s insurance carrier for the harm caused. This is certainly common and a winnable personal injury claim in many instances. While the initial settlement offer might be low, consulting with a skilled pedestrian attorney in Chicago is crucial for proper defense and ensuring fair compensation.

What Happens if the Pedestrian is At Fault?

If the pedestrian is entirely at fault in a car accident in Chicago, recovering compensation for injuries becomes challenging. In such instances, the driver may even sue the pedestrian for harm caused to the car or injuries sustained. Pedestrian Liability in Chicago may be established if they walk into the path of an oncoming vehicle and the driver couldn’t avoid a collision. Crossing highways without traffic controls, walking in areas without legal pedestrian access, crossing outside of crosswalks, or disregarding traffic signals are also behaviors that could lead to the pedestrian being held responsible.

What Are Some Examples of Behavior Leading to Pedestrian Liability in Chicago

  • Leaving a place of safety to enter the roadway
  • Crossing highways without traffic controls
  • Walking along bridges, highways, or other areas without legal access
  • Crossing outside of the crosswalk
  • Crossing against traffic control signals
  • Failing to look before crossing the street and running into oncoming vehicles

Cases Involving Partial Responsibility in Chicago

Sometimes, law enforcement officials will find that both the driver and the pedestrian were partially responsible for a car accident in Chicago. So, what happens then? It depends on the state where the accident occurred, but usually, the state will follow a set of rules in shared fault situations, these are based on two legal concepts: comparative negligence and contributory negligence.

Some states adhere to a pure contributory negligence rule which prohibits a pedestrian from recovering damages from a driver if the pedestrian’s negligence is found to have played any role in the accident (even if it is a minor one). Basically, contributory negligence is an all-or-nothing system. So if a car-pedestrian accident occurs in a contributory negligence state, and both parties are partially at fault, both would be responsible for their own injuries and other damages stemming from the crash.

The majority of states follow some version of a comparative negligence rule when an injured person shares some amount of fault for causing or contributing to the underlying accident. In that case, the damages the pedestrian may recover will be reduced by a percentage that equals the pedestrian’s share of fault.

About Walner Law

Our attorneys have over 75 years of combined legal experience in personal injury specializations, including personal injury accidents, worker’s compensation, medical malpractice, and wrongful death cases. If you or a loved one should have the misfortune of being in a personal injury accident, and you need a personal injury lawyer, the experienced attorneys at Walner Law are here for you.

If you’ve been in a car accident in Chicago involving a pedestrian and need legal assistance, contact our experienced pedestrian attorneys in Chicago today at (872) 814-7347 for a free consultation to discuss your rights and options.

Get to Know the Author

Attorney Jon WalnerPresident Jonathan Walner is the managing attorney and shareholder of Walner Law. He handles a wide range of personal injury cases, especially those involving motorists. If you’ve been hit by a vehicle as a pedestrian or have reason to believe a pedestrian is at fault, you can get the help you need from him and his firm. When not working, he enjoys playing golf and traveling with his family.

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