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Pedestrian Fault In A Car Accident | Car Accident Attorney

Can Courts Find A Pedestrian At Fault For A Car Accident?

There is a natural tendency to assume the driver was at fault in a car accident that involves an automobile and a pedestrian. In most cases, the pedestrian has far more severe injuries than anyone who was in the car. It is easy to let our sympathy for the pedestrian’s injuries cloud the facts of the situation. In actuality, it is possible to find a pedestrian at fault for the accident in certain circumstances.

The Right of Way Question  

Wisconsin does have right of way laws regarding pedestrian-vehicle use of roadways. Most people assume the pedestrian always has the right of way, but this is not accurate. Pedestrians must follow certain rules of the road, just as drivers must. If they violate these right of way rules, it is possible to find a pedestrian at fault for the accident. For example, pedestrians must:

  • Obey crosswalk signals when the crosswalk is equipped with a traffic signal.
  • Not suddenly leave the curb, sidewalk, or other safety zones to enter the path of an oncoming vehicle.
  • Yield the right of way to all vehicles when crossing anywhere other than a marked or unmarked crosswalk.

Pedestrians who fail to yield in these situations could be a pedestrian at fault for a car accident and open themselves up to a lawsuit.

Determining Fault In A Car Accident

In order to determine fault in a car accident, the legal system examines the actions of all parties involved in the situation to determine if there was negligence. In our system, everyone is expected to behave using a reasonable amount of care in a given situation. Both pedestrians and drivers are expected to follow the rules of the road. When one party deviates from these expected norms and, as a result, injuries another party, it can be argued that they acted negligently and are responsible or at fault for the accident and the injuries sustained.

Fault may be assigned 100% to one party or the other, or it may turn out that both sides bear some responsibility. In that case, it is considered shared fault. If the pedestrian darted out into traffic from between two parked cars, the pedestrian is at fault, but if the driver of the car was speeding at the time, it’s possible that the driver was also at fault. This is an example of shared fault.

Contributory Negligence And Comparative Negligence

Under state contributory negligence laws, you can obtain compensation for an accident for which you are partially at fault as long as your level of contribution/negligence to the accident was no greater than that of the other party.

Wisconsin has comparative negligence laws where both fault and recovery are split between the two parties based on the degree of responsibility each side bears for the accident. The court or jury will determine a percentage of fault for each party and use that percentage to determine compensation awards and damages.

Arrange A Free Car Accident Consultation To Explore Your Legal Options

Eisenberg Law Offices represents drivers and pedestrians in auto accident lawsuits. If you have been involved in a car accident, either as a driver or a pedestrian, we encourage you to meet with one of our auto accident attorneys to discuss your situation and explore your legal rights and options.

Arrange your free consultation by calling 608-256-8356 or emailing today.



Eisenberg Law has successfully represented our clients in thousands of Personal Injury, Criminal Defense and Family Law Cases during our 30-plus years in business.