Walking free from distractions is necessary to pedestrian safety. However, does that mean that if a car hits you while you are distracted, you’re liable for your injuries? The following considers the liability of the driver and the pedestrian when distracting walking plays a role.
What laws are pedestrians obligated to follow?
Liability for most accidents is usually determined by considering the negligence of each party involved. Negligence is the legal term that’s used to define an irresponsible or unsafe action that contributes to the occurrence of an accident. Often, breaking the law is an act of negligence.
In Pennsylvania, there is some legislation that a pedestrian is required to follow, although walking sans distractions is not explicitly stated. Rather, pedestrians are obligated to do the following,
- Yield to motorists when not within a crosswalk or when walking along the side of the road
- Use sidewalks whenever a path is available
- Do not jaywalk if possible
Did the driver act negligently?
Sometimes, being distracted as a pedestrian may result in a violation of one of the laws above. For example, a pedestrian may fail to yield to a vehicle when required to do so as a result of looking at his or her phone. In the event that the pedestrian accident would not have occurred but for his or her (distracted) actions, then the pedestrian will likely be held liable for his or her injuries.
However, if the accident would have occurred regardless of the pedestrian’s actions, based on the fact that the driver was acting negligently at the time of the crash, then the driver will be held liable.
When Both Parties are Partially At Fault
In some cases, both the pedestrian and the driver may be found at fault. When this is the case, Pennsylvania’s Comparative Negligence laws will be applied. The law states that a plaintiff is still able to recover damages if his or her percentage of fault is not greater than 50 percent, although a number of damages recoverable will be reduced by the plaintiff’s degree of fault.
As such, if you were distracted at the time of your accident and were therefore found to be 20 percent at fault for the accident, then you would only be able to recover 80 percent of your total damages amount.
Consult with a Pedestrian Attorney to Learn More
To learn more about your right to damages after a pedestrian accident and how to prove fault, consult with the attorney at Cordisco & Saile LLC, LLC today. You can schedule a free case consultation by calling 215-642-2335 now.