Pedestrian-Car Accidents: Learn What To Do And Who Could Be At Fault

Posted on: 14 October 2015

It goes without saying that hitting a pedestrian while driving can be an awful experience, and in the chaos that follows the accident, a lawsuit or questions over who might be at fault can often be the furthest thing from your mind. While it is true that drivers are required to be especially careful behind the wheel while pedestrians are present, fault for a pedestrian-car accident does not always squarely fall on the driver's part. This article is a guide for drivers to help them know what to do in the aftermath of a collision with a pedestrian, as well as figure out who could be at fault for the accident.

What to do immediately after the accident

The first step would be to take a deep breath and try to get the injured person to a medical facility for treatment. If the injured party is not incapacitated, try to get their contacts and insurance information, but avoid making any admissions of guilt or going into detail about what caused the accident, as this could be used against you in a possible accident suit.

Next, contact the police and your insurer and give a detailed and truthful account of what happened. Avoid talking directly to the pedestrian's insurer, family members or attorneys, and let your auto insurance agent handle any dealings with these parties.

Who is at fault?

Generally, both the driver and pedestrian are required to exercise a reasonable standard of care while on the road. There are circumstances where you as the driver could be at fault for the accident, either due to driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, speeding, failing to stop at a designated crosswalk, ignoring traffic lights or violating other traffic rules.

In instances where you as a driver are clearly at fault for the accident, your insurance carrier will usually make a settlement offer to compensate the pedestrian for injuries, lost wages, medical care and other losses. If the pedestrian decides to file a personal injury suit against you, consider hiring a competent car accident lawyer to help with your defense.

In other cases, the pedestrian could be at fault for an accident involving a vehicle. For instance, a pedestrian could be at fault if they enter a street while intoxicated, walk along a highway or causeway where pedestrian access is prohibited, or jaywalk at a busy intersection. If the pedestrian is fully at fault for the accident, they will usually not be able to get any compensation from your auto insurer, and you as the driver may be able to sue for damage to your vehicle, bodily harm and other losses.