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Car-Pedestrian Accidents: Who is at Fault?


Whenever a pedestrian is involved in a car accident, many people typically assume that the driver is at fault since “pedestrians always have the right of way.” However, that is a common misconception.

When it comes to sharing the road, both motorists and pedestrians have a duty of reasonable care to uphold. So if a pedestrian fails to exercise reasonable care and that failure results in a car accident, the pedestrian can be considered either entirely or partially at fault.

The following are common examples of pedestrian negligence:

  1. Jaywalking or crossing the street without using a crosswalk
  2. Crossing the street against the “walk” signal at an intersection
  3. Darting or jumping out in front of vehicles, disrupting the flow of traffic
  4. Walking along highways and bridges
  5. Entering a street under the influence of alcohol or drugs

So if a pedestrian darts out into the street or acts in a way which forces a driver of a motor vehicle to avoid striking him/her, which leads to a crash, the pedestrian will be responsible for causing the accident. For example, if an intoxicated pedestrian walks into the street despite traffic and a driver collides with another vehicle to avoid him/her, the pedestrian will be held liable for any injuries and damages to both vehicles’ occupants.

But the truth is that even when a pedestrian is responsible for causing a collision, the driver of the motor vehicle also shares some of the blame. For instance, a pedestrian crosses an intersection but against a red “Do Not Walk” signal, but the driver is texting while driving before the accident occurs.

Alaska adheres to the “pure comparative negligence” rule when both parties share fault for a car accident. According to this rule, a plaintiff’s compensation is reduced by a percentage equal to his/her share of the blame. So if a pedestrian is 40 percent responsible for a collision, he/she is entitled to get 60 percent of the total award. Even if a party is 90 percent liable, he/she can still recover 10 percent of the total damages.

If you have been injured in a car-pedestrian accident, the other party and their insurance company will do whatever it takes to place all of the blame for the crash on you. It is in your best interest to seek legal representation from an experienced personal injury attorney to protect your rights while you recover from injury.

Contact our Anchorage car accident attorney at The Law Offices of David Henderson to schedule a free consultation for more information today.