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What's a pedestrian's duty of care to avoid car crashes?

You've heard it many times before: Motor vehicles must yield to pedestrians and pedestrians have the right of way. It's because of these standards that Schaumburg residents have avoided many fatal and injurious accidents.

However, it's also because of these standards that many pedestrians mistakenly believe they have the automatic right to sue for damages in the event that they get hit by a car.

Vehicle drivers are not always at fault in a pedestrian accident

There are many accidents involving vehicles and pedestrians in which the vehicle driver isn't cited or faulted for the crash. That is because -- just like motor vehicle drivers -- pedestrians also have a duty of care to avoid getting hit by a vehicle.

The law requires a pedestrian to take appropriate steps to ensure his or her safety. This care should be at a level that is proportionate to the level of danger that needs to be avoided, in terms of reasonably predictable consequences. If a pedestrian fails to take this appropriate level of care, then the contributory negligence on the part of the pedestrian -- for his or her failure to take appropriate precautions -- could become a factor when attributing fault.

Here are a few factors that might result in a court attributing fault to a pedestrian for a collision:

  • Failing to heed the "walk" signal at a traffic intersection
  • Darting out into traffic unexpectedly
  • Walking into the street due to being intoxicated
  • Disrupting the flow of traffic by walking into the street
  • Not using a marked crosswalk area

Were you hurt in a pedestrian accident?

Even if one or more of the above-referenced factors comes into play in your pedestrian crash, it doesn't mean that you don't have a claim. There are some circumstances, such as crashes involving children or senior citizen pedestrians, in which the pedestrian might not be held to the same standard of care. Also, every accident must be evaluated on its own set of factual circumstances before determining whether an injured pedestrian has a viable claim.

After an accident, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney concerning your legal options.

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