Fair Cases Law Group Blog

Can a Pedestrian be Liable for an Auto Accident?


In many pedestrian accidents, the driver is found to be at fault. Drivers are often not paying attention in areas with heavy pedestrian traffic and to make matters worse, sometimes they may be speeding.

However, there may be times when pedestrians could be found at fault for getting in an accident with a motor vehicle. An experienced lawyer from Fair Cases Law Group is prepared to evaluate your claim and help determine who may have been at fault.


The United States has a particular problem with pedestrian deaths and injuries. The following represents pedestrian accident statistics for the United States according to the National Highway Traffic Association and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

  • Pedestrian fatalities account for 11 percent of motor vehicle fatalities.
  • About 5,000 pedestrians are killed and another 64,000 are injured in motor vehicle accidents every year in this country.
  • Pedestrians comprise the second largest category of motor vehicle accident deaths following occupant deaths.
  • On average, a pedestrian is injured in a traffic accident every 8 minutes.
  • On average, a pedestrian is killed in a traffic accident every 111 minutes.


One of the main reasons for pedestrian accidents in California is people crossing roads where it is prohibited. Many of these accidents occur during nighttime hours when it is dark outside, and drivers may not be able to see pedestrians. Additionally, many pedestrians are distracted by their cellphones, music or other things and may not pay attention when walking.

Impairment from drugs and alcohol is also a contributing factor to many pedestrian cases and it is not always drivers who are impaired. Pedestrians may choose not to drive to avoid getting a DUI, but their impairment may cause them to stumble into the roadway in the path of a moving vehicle. 

Cities and municipalities may be able to reduce the number of pedestrian fatalities by taking proactive measures, such as:

  • Increasing lighting in pedestrian-heavy areas
  • Adding more crosswalk signs
  • Adding fencing to medians to prevent jaywalking
  • Reminding drivers, it is state law to stop for pedestrians at crosswalks


Pedestrians and drivers alike have a legal duty to exercise reasonable care and to take reasonable steps to avoid an accident. If either party fails to uphold this duty, he or she may be liable to another person he or she has harmed.

Some negligent actions by pedestrians that can cause or contribute to auto accidents may include:

  • Crossing the street in prohibited areas
  • Crossing the street before the traffic signal indicates it is safe to proceed
  • Entering the street when doing so would impede traffic
  • Jaywalking in other ways that violates the rules of the road
  • Walking while intoxicated
  • Not looking before crossing
  • Running into a street
  • Wearing dark clothing while walking


Many personal injury cases involve the negligence of more than one party. For example, a car accident may involve a driver who was speeding and a pedestrian who ran into the street while intoxicated. California’s comparative negligence law accounts for these types of situations.

Under California’s comparative negligence law, the parties share responsibility if they contributed to the accident. In other words, if you are partially responsible for the accident, the amount of damages you can recover will be reduced by the percentage you were at fault. 

For example, if you suffer $100,000 in damages in a car accident, but the jury finds that you were 50 percent at fault for the accident (because you ran into the street while intoxicated and the driver was speeding and ran a red light), your damages will be reduced to $50,000 ($100,000 – 50% = $50,000 for you). 

The jury determines the percentage of fault between multiple parties. The jury assesses the evidence that each side presents to make this important determination. Helpful evidence to establish fault may include:

  • Security or traffic camera footage
  • Dash cam recorded footage
  • Electronically stored data in the vehicle
  • Property damage
  • Location of debris from the wreck
  • Skid marks, which can indicate when braking started and the approximate speed the vehicle was traveling


If you were injured in a pedestrian-versus-car accident, consider contacting an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer from Fair Cases Law Group. We can discuss your claim during a free consultation and establish whether the driver of the car or the pedestrian was likely at fault and to what extent.

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