Hit By A Car In The Crosswalk: Who Is At Fault?

Posted on: 16 December 2015

If you've been hit by a car in a crosswalk, you probably have a lot on your mind. Between recovering from your injuries and figuring out who is going to pay for the medical treatments, it's easy to get overwhelmed. Learning a bit about how insurance companies (and courts) go about determining liability in this type of case will help put your mind at ease.

Are you liable for your own injuries? Is the driver who hit you liable? Is the liability shared? To make this determination, the insurance companies (and courts, should you file a personal injury case) will examine the following factors.

Did you have the signal to cross?

If you were walking across the crosswalk when the "walk" signal was lit, then there's a pretty good chance the driver will be held fully liable for your injuries. When the crosswalk says "walk," pedestrians have the right of way. Cars must stop for them. The driver violated that right of way, and thus he or she is at fault for your injuries.

On the other hand, if you were in the crosswalk when the "do not walk" signal was lit, things become a bit more complicated. In most cases, either you will be held liable, or the liability will be shared. The judge or insurance company will examine other factors to make that determination.

Was the driver exercising their due diligence of caution?

When the crosswalk light says "do not walk" that means that the drivers have the right of way. That does not mean, however, that they have the right to simply plow into a person who happens to be standing in the crosswalk. All drivers, regardless of whether they have the right of way, have a legal obligation to exercise caution. If it is shown that a driver was not exercising this caution, and that the lack of caution caused him or her to hit you while you were in the crosswalk, then that will increase the driver's liability. Some examples of situations in which the driver could be said not to properly execute caution include:

  • The driver was texting while driving, and therefore did not see you in the crosswalk before it was too late.
  • The driver was under the influence of alcohol.
  • The driver was driving too quickly considering the current weather conditions.

Did any behavior on your part, aside from walking across the crosswalk, make it difficult for the driver to avoid hitting you?

While the driver is expected to drive with considerable caution to avoid hitting you if you happen to  be in a "do not walk" crosswalk, there are times when your behavior, as a pedestrian, may make it impossible for the driver to avoid hitting you. When this is the case, you will be held to a greater portion of the liability, or perhaps even named fully liable. Some examples of instances in which pedestrian behavior would make it impossible for the driver to avoid striking you would include:

  • While under the influence of alcohol, you were standing by the side of the street and stumbled into the crosswalk at the last second. The driver did not have time to stop. (In this case, your drunkenness contributed to the accident, and thus increases your liability.)
  • You were dressed fully in black and it was night, making it nearly impossible for the driver to spot you before it was too late.

Usually, when someone is hit in the crosswalk, there are many factors to consider. Do your best to recall as many details as possible, and speak with a car accident lawyer. He or she can help show how the driver's actions contributed to the accident, hopefully reducing your liability.