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Can a pedestrian’s fault result in motor vehicle accident?

On Behalf of | Aug 13, 2021 | Firm News

In New Jersey, just as with all the other states, both motorists and pedestrians have the right to use public roads for their purposes. However, in doing so, all users have a duty to employ reasonable caution and care while on the road. For pedestrians, this includes watching out for light signals and crossing the road only when they have the right to do so.

A pedestrian getting hit by a car can be one of the most traumatizing motor vehicle accidents anyone can experience or witness. Unfortunately, these kinds of accidents are often too common when pedestrians overlook their duty while using the road. So what happens when the car accident is a direct result of the pedestrian’s action or inaction?

How the pedestrian can be at fault in New Jersey

Pedestrians are expected to exercise reasonable caution and care for their own safety while using the road. This care must be proportionate to the danger at hand. For instance, families that install visible warning signs to passing motorists exercise reasonable caution to protect their kids from potential car accidents. On the other hand, a parent who lets their young child run into the street can be held accountable if the child is hit by a car. This is based on the assumption that the child ran into the street in a manner that a reasonably cautious motorist would be unable to avert the accident in time.

Sometimes, a pedestrian may bear partial responsibility for the accident. Here are such scenarios:

  • Crossing in the middle of the street away from the designated crosswalk
  • Crossing in total disregard to the traffic signal
  • Walking where pedestrian access is prohibited like on causeways, bridges, or highways
  • Walking or running into the flow of traffic

When a car accident involves a vehicle and a pedestrian, it is often easy to assume the motorist was at fault. However, it is important to note that a pedestrian too can be at fault if they fail to exercise a duty of care while using the road.