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What Happens When a Pedestrian Causes an Accident?

Jun 29, 2022

Whenever an accident involving a car and a pedestrian takes place, many of us assume right away that the driver is the guilty party. There is no way that the case is an example of pedestrian accident liability. The driver must be the one who committed a serious mistake.

Of course, things are not always that simple. Pedestrians can be irresponsible, and their actions could cause the accident you were involved in. 

What should you do if a pedestrian is the one who caused your car accident? You need to read on to find out.

The Responsibilities of Motorists and Pedestrians

Before we discuss what could happen if a pedestrian causes an accident, let’s first familiarize ourselves with some basic rules of the road in the state of Connecticut. We will be focusing mainly on the issue of the right of way as it relates to both pedestrians and motorists.

The right of way is the term used to note which pedestrian or vehicle should have the priority to cross the road. It gives everyone using the road rules to follow so they can understand when or when not to advance. You will know when it is your turn to move if you know the basic rules.

Who has the right of way also makes a big difference in car accident cases.

When two sides argue over who is at fault for the accident, the one who has the right of way tends to come out on top. It is easier for them to argue that they were not doing anything wrong because they had the privilege of moving first.

Let’s use the following sections to get deeper into the right of way rules in Connecticut. We will first talk about the right of way rules for drivers and then turn our attention to the pedestrians.

Right of Way Rules for Motorists

Generally speaking, motorists are to yield the right of way to pedestrians who are crossing the road properly. 

According to Connecticut law, all motorists must slow down or stop so they can grant the right of way to a pedestrian who is crossing the street via a crosswalk. As the driver, you must wait until the pedestrian has crossed before you can start moving again. 

It is also important to recognize when a pedestrian has entered a crosswalk. The law states that pedestrians are in the crosswalk if they are physically there or have signaled their intent to cross. You must stop or slow down as soon as you see the pedestrian signal what they are planning to do.

Motorists must grant the right of way to pedestrians at marked crosswalks but also unmarked crosswalks. 

You do not need to worry too much about failing to yield the right of way on roads controlled by traffic signals or traffic officers. Simply keep your eyes on the signal or the officer so you can tell when the time is right for you to move.

Drivers are also not allowed to pass vehicles that have stopped to yield for a pedestrian. Stay in line and wait for the signal to move if you want to avoid unnecessary traffic troubles.

Right of Way Rules for Pedestrians

Not everyone knows this, but these rules also apply to pedestrians. They are not allowed to cross wherever and whenever they please. 

For instance, pedestrians no longer have the right of way if they are crossing a road where they have a crosswalk but fail to use that designated pathway. If they opt against using the crosswalk, they must be willing to let all the vehicles pass before they can proceed. Pedestrians also lose the right of way if they cross the road and have a tunnel or overhead crossing. 

It makes sense that those rules are in effect because they urge pedestrians to use safe pathways to reach their destinations. As a pedestrian, you can feel safer when crossing the road, knowing that you have the right of way or that no vehicles are nearby.

Notably, there are also rules stating how pedestrians should cross the street. Connecticut law makes it illegal for pedestrians to cross the street diagonally unless told to do so by a police officer. Keep that in mind because it is another factor that could impact your case.

How Do Pedestrians Cause Accidents?

The blame for a driver-pedestrian accident does not always fall on the driver. Sometimes, the party responsible for causing that unfortunate occurrence can be the pedestrian.

In this next section, we will detail the different ways that a pedestrian can cause a car accident.

Jaywalking

One of the main causes of pedestrian-related car accidents is jaywalking.

Jaywalking occurs when a pedestrian unlawfully crosses the road. It accounts for any instance where a pedestrian ignores the right of way rules. 

A pedestrian not using a crosswalk to cross the street even though they have one nearby can be guilty of jaywalking. The same goes for any pedestrian who crosses the street without acknowledging the traffic signal or the instructions provided by the traffic officer.

You can also receive a fine for jaywalking if you decide to traverse a street diagonally, even though that type of movement is not allowed. 

Jaywalking is dangerous for both the pedestrian and the motorists nearby.

Pedestrians who jaywalk actively put themselves in harm’s way. Drivers may hit them accidentally simply because they did not expect anyone to be jaywalking.

The motorists who do their best to avoid jaywalking pedestrians may end up crashing into something. They could crash into another vehicle or some road structure.

If a jaywalking pedestrian is involved in an accident, they will receive the blame for what happened. It may only be a matter of determining if the accident was either completely or only partially their fault.

Crossing the Road while Intoxicated

We have numerous documents on the dangers of drunk driving. It is the kind of activity you need to avoid at all costs. 

Of course, moving in any manner along public roads is extremely dangerous when you are drunk. That is still the case if you are walking instead of driving.

Alcohol consumption can impair your senses. You may become unaware of your surroundings and start moving in random directions.

Upon reaching a road, you may decide to cross right away even though the traffic signal is not allowing you to move yet. If you are the pedestrian in that scenario, it will be hard for you to deny responsibility for what happened.

Drivers also have a hard time dealing with intoxicated pedestrians. Because of how erratic a drunk pedestrian’s movements are, drivers may not know if they can move or not.

Avoid causing an accident as a drunk pedestrian by hopping into a sober friend’s vehicle. You can also get a cab or book a ridesharing trip to get home safely.

Crossing the Road while Distracted

It is common to see people on their phones while crossing the street. Their focus is trained solely on the screen of their smartphone. They may not be aware of their surroundings in any way.

There is nothing wrong with using your smartphone, but you must be mindful of your surroundings. Do not keep your head down if you know there are vehicles nearby. Remove your gaze from your phone and look around before deciding to cross the street. 

Numerous other distractions can cause you to divert your attention away from where you are going. You cannot let that happen as a pedestrian. As long as you are on the roads, your eyes must remain on your surroundings. 

Tripping while Crossing the Road

This last entry is not exactly the pedestrian’s fault, but it is still something they need to watch out for. While using a crosswalk, keep an eye on the road beneath you and look for any cracks or other signs of damage. Avoid those cracks so you do not trip.

A car that has already stopped to let you pass should avoid hitting you, but that may not happen if you are using an unmarked crosswalk. The driver may not see you hunched over on the ground while they are moving. You can imagine how poorly things can go from there.

Always be careful when you are crossing the road so you can avoid causing a pedestrian accident.

What Should You Do if You Are Involved in a Pedestrian Accident as the Driver?

Hopefully, you will never find yourself in a situation where you accidentally hit a pedestrian with your car because they were doing something irresponsible. However, you should still take the time to learn how to act if you do find yourself in that predicament.

Detailed in this section are the things you must do if you are involved in a pedestrian accident.

Stop Your Car

Do not panic if you find yourself in the situation, we described earlier. Driving away will make things worse for you. More importantly, you would be abandoning someone who needs help, which cannot happen.

Stop your car, turn your hazard lights on, and then check on the pedestrian. Avoid touching or moving them because they could be hurt.

Call for Help

Next, you need to place a call to 911. Request an ambulance for the pedestrian and call the police as well.

Your priority at this point is to help the injured pedestrian, so do not hesitate to call for medical assistance. 

Collect Evidence at the Scene of the Accident

Once you have placed a call for help, you can now take a few minutes to start going over what happened. Walk around the accident scene and check out where the pedestrian came from so you can try to figure out what caused them to leap out onto the road.

Collect as much evidence as you can because you will need to prove that you did not cause the accident. Take pictures of the road and your vehicle. You never know which details could prove useful so collect what you can.

During this time, talk to other people who witnessed the accident. Ask them about what they saw and write their statement down or record it. Do not forget to ask for the contact details of your witnesses so you can reach out to them later.

You should also look at any traffic lights and check if they have cameras attached. The videos captured by those cameras will likely prove important, so do not forget to hunt them down. 

Speak to the Police

Go to the police as soon as they reach the scene of the accident. Take this opportunity to share your version of the events with them and hand over any pieces of evidence you have gathered as well.

Do not forget to ask for their names and contact details so you can speak to them later when the case has progressed.

Take Your Car to the Auto Shop

Was your car damaged during the pedestrian accident? If so, you should take it to the auto shop for repairs.

You should not worry about how much those repairs will cost. Since the pedestrian is the party who caused the accident, they will need to pay for your repairs.

Partner with an Attorney

Last but not least, you will need to hire an attorney.

Hiring an attorney is a must because they will help you deal with the police. If the police call you in for questioning, you can take your attorney with you.

Your lawyer can also help you gather more evidence. They may get their hands on the traffic cam footage if you could not do that. 

A good lawyer will also ensure you do not get blamed for an accident you did not cause. They will demonstrate clear pedestrian accident liability, so you do not need to worry about a thing.

We at Hassett & George, P.C. are ready to lend our legal expertise if you need help dealing with a pedestrian accident case. Contact us today so we can prove that the unfortunate accident was not your fault.