Can a Pedestrian Be at Fault in a Car Accident?

Accidents involving pedestrians in Tennessee often result in significant injuries. Pedestrians are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of a vehicle and other objects. Often, vehicle drivers are at fault because they fail to yield the right of way to pedestrians, but can a pedestrian ever be at fault for an accident?

The answer is yes; pedestrians could be at fault for accidents, even if they are the ones that sustained the injuries. Here, we want to examine pedestrian fault versus vehicle driver fault.

Do Pedestrians Always Have the Right of Way?

When we examine Tennessee law regarding the pedestrian right of way, we can see that pedestrians do have extensive rights when they are around the roadway. Drivers are responsible for exercising extreme caution in order to protect pedestrians, particularly at intersections and crosswalks.

On the roadway, all drivers are responsible for exercising due care to avoid pedestrian collisions on any roadway. They must operate their vehicle at a safe speed and remain in control of their vehicle. They are required to yield the right of way to pedestrians at marked crosswalks as well as pedestrians who are emerging from driveways or alleyways.

Pedestrians also have responsibilities on roadways and Tennessee. They are allowed to use any road that is not access controlled, such as an Interstate. They can cross a road at any location unless local ordinances prevent them from doing so or where there is an adjacent signalized intersection.

However, pedestrians are required to use sidewalks when they are available and, when practical, use the left side of the roadway if there is no sidewalk. Pedestrians must cross where there is a marked or unmarked crosswalk if they are available. If there’s not a crosswalk available, pedestrians must yield to traffic on the roadway and only cross if it is safe for them to do so.

Pedestrians could be at fault if they fail to use sidewalks when they are available or if they fail to use crosswalks if they are present. Additionally, if a pedestrian bolts out into traffic unexpectedly, is distracted, or is impaired, they could be held responsible for causing a collision.

How to Determine Fault in a Pedestrian Collision

Determining fault after a pedestrian accident in Tennessee can be challenging. Often, there needs to be an extensive investigation beyond what law enforcement officials do at the scene of the crash. Any pedestrian injured as a result of the negligence of another driver should reach out to a skilled attorney who can help them investigate the claim and work to recover maximum compensation. This could include gathering:

  • Photographs from the scene of the incident
  • Surveillance footage from nearby cameras
  • Statements from eyewitnesses
  • Statements from other drivers and passengers in the vicinity
  • Vehicle black box data

Pedestrians injured due to the negligence of another driver may be able to recover compensation for their medical bills and property damage expenses. However, if a pedestrian shared fault for the incident, their competition may be reduced depending on their percentage of fault.