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May 7, 2020 | Gary Burger

Who is At Fault in a Pedestrian Accident?

Who is at fault in a pedestrian accident? Drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists must use reasonable care when crossing the street. Drivers are required to stay alert and keep a careful lookout for pedestrians and other road dangers, while pedestrians must follow crossing rules at intersections. If a pedestrian-car accident happens, both the pedestrian and the motor vehicle driver can be responsible in the accident.

So, when is a pedestrian at fault in a crash, and when is a driver at fault in an accident? There are many factors that are considered when investigating a pedestrian accident claim, but to get a better idea of the fault determination process, it is crucial to discuss your case with an experienced car accident attorney.

At Burger Law, we fight for pedestrians that were harmed because someone else broke the rules of the road. Our attorneys have recovered fair settlements for many types of personal injury cases and are prepared to fight for the best results for your claim. Call (314) 500-HURT or fill out our online form to schedule a free case review. With offices in St. Louis, Chicago and elsewhere, we help the injured throughout Missouri and Illinois get full compensation for their injuries.

If you are a pedestrian who was injured by a negligent driver, see how much your claim may be worth by using our free personal injury calculator.

Pedestrian accidents are tragic and the injuries they cause can be devastating. In 2020, according to the Missouri Traffic Safety Compendium, almost 11 percent of accidents involving pedestrians were fatal in Missouri, compared to just 1.6 percent of other auto accidents. According to the 2020 Illinois Crash Facts and Statistics, 5.5 percent of pedestrian accidents were fatal, compared to just .4 percent of all motor vehicle crashes.

If you are dealing with the aftermath of being injured in a pedestrian accident in Missouri or Illinois, call Burger Law immediately to start on the road to true recovery.

Common Pedestrian Accidents | St. Louis, MO Pedestrian Accident Lawyers

Motor vehicle drivers must obey traffic laws and exercise reasonable care on the road. When drivers, and in some cases, pedestrians, do not obey intersection, crosswalk, and other rules of the road, this can cause a catastrophic accident. Most pedestrian accidents include one of the following elements:

  • Distracted driving drivers talking on the phone, eating or drinking, or otherwise not paying attention to the road
  • Speeding if a driver is speeding, and doesn't see a pedestrian in the road, the pedestrian can suffer debilitating injuries
  • Crosswalks failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, or not yielding when pedestrians have the right of way at an intersection
  • Left-hand turns — accounting for 25% of pedestrian accidents, left-turn accidents happen at intersections where both parties may have signals to go - drivers, even with a signal, must yield to pedestrians
  • Backing up — pedestrians, mostly small children, walking behind a vehicle backing up, can result in tragic injuries to the pedestrian

There are some cases where a pedestrian can be at fault in an accident, but generally, pedestrian accidents are the fault of a negligent motor vehicle driver. Drivers are required to continually keep a lookout for pedestrians and other oncoming traffic when behind the wheel.

Who Is at Fault in a Pedestrian Accident?

When proving negligence in any personal injury claim, there are five elements that must be true:

  1. Duty of care — Did the other person have a responsibility to try to keep you, themselves and others safe? In public spaces such as roads and crosswalks, we all have a responsibility to look out for each other's safety.
  2. Breach of duty — Did the other person break that duty? Were you hit by a drunk driver or one who was distracted? Or you sprint into the middle of the road without looking to see if a car was coming?
  3. Cause in fact — Did the accident directly cause your injury?
  4. Proximate cause — Did the driver or pedestrian's breach of duty cause the accident? If a pedestrian was hit in a crosswalk, but the accident was caused by the car's brake failure, a manufacturer, and not the driver, may be liable.
  5. Damages — Whoever is at fault is responsible for the other party's damages, including medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.

Missouri Revised Statute §304.012 stipulates that motorists must "exercise the highest degree of care" to pedestrians and others on the roads, while 625 ILCS 5/11-1003.1 calls for "drivers to exercise due care." At the same time, pedestrians must use reasonable care not to cause accidents or injure themselves.

Because cars can do more damage and pedestrians are especially vulnerable, a higher duty of care is expected from motorists. For example, in both states a driver has to yield to a pedestrian who is approaching the half of the road the driver is on. But, if the driver is close to approaching the crosswalk, pedestrians are expected to wait until it is safe to cross.

In most pedestrian-car accidents, the pedestrian is not solely at fault. Most of the time, the driver involved is completely at fault, or partially at fault, in the accident. The rules of the road in most states, such as Missouri and Illinois, state that the car has to yield the right of way to pedestrians in most situations.

For example, if a motor vehicle has the signal to proceed at an intersection stoplight, but a pedestrian is crossing, the driver cannot ignore the pedestrian and continue driving. The driver must yield to the pedestrian crossing. Similarly, if a driver is negligent, and does not see the pedestrian or is distracted while driving, and a pedestrian is hit, the driver is liable for the victim's damages.

Comparative Fault in Missouri and Illinois Pedestrian Accidents

In comparative negligence, a person is responsible for the percentage of the accident they caused. For example, if a driver is changing their A/C settings at the time of the accident, and a pedestrian is texting someone, it may be that both sides share a portion of the blame for the accident. If you are a pedestrian who incurred $50,000 in damages because of a negligent driver, but a fact-finder determines you were 10 percent at fault, you would receive $45,000 in compensation, while the $5,000, or 10 percent, goes toward the driver's damages.

Missouri is what's called a "pure comparative negligence" state, meaning that even if you were 99 percent at fault for an accident, you could still recover one percent of your damages. Illinois is a "modified comparative negligence" state. That means the doctrine still applies, however only if you share half the blame or less for the accident. So, if a fact-finder determines you are 51 percent to blame, you would not be eligible for compensation.

Contact Our St. Louis Pedestrian Accident Lawyers Now

Burger Law is committed to recovering full compensation for pedestrian accident victims and their families. No one should have to struggle with high medical expenses and lost wages because of another person's negligence. Our St. Louis pedestrian accident lawyers are here to help the injured throughout Missouri and Illinois navigate the process of filing a claim for your case. To schedule a free, no-obligation case review with Burger Law, call (314) 500-HURT now or contact us online.