In a collision between a pedestrian and vehicular traffic, it’s almost always the person on foot who’s going to suffer the most from the encounter, sustaining serious or even deadly injuries. But the issue of who’s liable in a pedestrian accident isn’t always as clear cut as you might think.
WHO IS CONSIDERED “AT FAULT” IN A PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENT?
Some drivers believe that having a traffic signal in their favor justifies plowing ahead, even if pedestrians are trying to cross at the same time. But Colorado law says otherwise. Drivers are required to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, regardless of what the traffic signal indicates, or whether the crosswalks are marked or not. Because of the risk of serious or fatal consequences in a pedestrian-vehicle crash, drivers should always exercise caution around pedestrians and do everything they can to avoid a collision, whether they think they’re “in the right” or not.
DO PEDESTRIANS ALWAYS HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY?
Not always. State traffic laws impose certain duties on pedestrians as well as drivers. For example, pedestrians shouldn’t attempt to cross traffic in areas where pedestrians are prohibited, such as freeways, or dart off the curb unexpectedly where there is no crosswalk. But right-of-way isn’t the only component in establishing liability, and exercising your “right” recklessly can only lead to grief. The Colorado Driver Handbook states that pedestrians “have the right-of-way at crosswalks and intersections whether the crosswalks are marked or not. However, you should always watch for vehicles. If there is an accident, you are the one who will suffer.”
WHAT’S INVOLVED IN PURSUING A CLAIM AFTER A PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENT?
Pedestrians injured as a result of someone else’s negligence may be entitled to recover damages for their injuries. Negligence, in this context, means a failure to do (or not to do) something that that a reasonable person in similar circumstances would have done to protect others from foreseeable risks. A plaintiff may be able to establish that a driver failed to exercise reasonable care by proving that the at-fault party was guilty of any or all of the following:
- Not obeying the speed limit
- Not obeying traffic signs or signals
- Not stopping for pedestrians at crosswalks
- Not paying attention
- Failing to respond to weather or traffic conditions
- Failing to signal while turning
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I AM INJURED IN A PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENT?
Call the police immediately. Don’t leave the scene of the accident before emergency help arrives. Collect names and phone numbers of witnesses, and don’t make any statements about the accident to anyone, other than to exchange contact information with the driver who hit you and cooperate with the police investigation. Contact an experienced pedestrian accident attorney, who can help you weigh your options, collect and document the facts of the incident, assist you in getting appropriate medical treatment, and evaluate your case.
THE PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENT LAWYERS AT FDAZAR
For more than thirty years the attorneys at Franklin D. Azar & Associates have helped thousands of injured people obtain complete and timely compensation for their losses. Our proven track record and expertise have allowed us to grow into the largest personal-injury law firm in Colorado, with offices in Denver, Thornton, Aurora, Greenwood Village, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo. If you’ve been injured in a car, truck, motorcycle, rideshare or pedestrian accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Please call the accident attorneys at FDAzar day or night at (720) 372-2824 or contact us here for a free consultation and no-obligation evaluation of your case.