Understanding Traffic Laws & Who is at Fault in a Pedestrian Accident

Understanding Traffic Laws & Who is at Fault in a Pedestrian Accident

In a pedestrian motor vehicle accident, absent unusual circumstances, the driver of the vehicle is often likely at fault. There are, however, some situations in which the pedestrian can be either partially or fully to blame. The following is a brief look at Colorado traffic laws and how they can be used to determine fault in pedestrian accidents in this state.

Certain pedestrian laws have been implemented in Colorado to help ensure that people traveling on foot either on or near public roads are able to do so safely. Both pedestrians and motorists are obligated to follow these laws so that serious injury or death can be avoided.

Motorist Obligations

In Colorado, the “right of way” laws specifically enumerate the circumstances under which motorists must yield to pedestrians, or else possibly face criminal and/or civil penalties. For example:

• All drivers in Colorado must yield to pedestrians who are using a crosswalk; all pedestrians crossing a road that has no traffic signal; and all pedestrians crossing a road with a traffic signal that isn’t working.
• All drivers approaching a crosswalk where other vehicles are yielding to the pedestrian right of way must also come to a complete stop.
• All drivers must stop or slow down when passing through an area with no traffic signals, or traffic signals that aren’t working, to allow pedestrians to cross the road.
• All drivers should be aware that pedestrians have the right of way at intersections with flashing red lights or stop signs.

Pedestrian Obligations

Pedestrians likewise have reciprocal obligations under Colorado law. For example, pedestrians should never cross a road except at a marked crosswalk. Pedestrians in rural areas, or neighborhoods with no sidewalks, should always walk (or run) on the left side of the road, facing oncoming traffic. Finally, all pedestrians are required to exercise caution when crossing a road, at a crosswalk or otherwise.

If a car hits a pedestrian, who is at fault?

The answer to this question is usually the operator of the motor vehicle – but not always. Determining fault in a pedestrian accident generally boils down to the law of negligence. In short, acting negligently means that you have not acted with “reasonable care.” For example, if you hit someone jaywalking and need to know who is at fault, you might argue that jaywalking is inherently dangerous and thus negligent behavior. Similarly, the jaywalker could present evidence that you were speeding, or had ample opportunity to slow down, but didn’t or weren’t paying attention and were distracted behind the wheel.

What happens if a pedestrian caused an accident? Like all applications of the law of negligence, details matter. Say, for example, the pedestrian was under the influence of alcohol or drugs and suddenly darted into moving traffic. A strong argument could be made that the pedestrian could be held fully liable for any injuries or property damage that resulted from their actions.

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Contact Whalen Injury Lawyers

The lawyers at Whalen Injury Lawyers have successfully represented hundreds of pedestrian accident victims from across Colorado. Let us help you explore your legal options if you have sustained injuries in a pedestrian accident. You could be entitled to significant compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering – and more.

Schedule your FREE consultation with a pedestrian accident lawyer at Whalen Injury Lawyers either by calling 720-307-2666 or completing this form.

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