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By Neil Davis

While all road users can potentially suffer harm in a traffic accident, pedestrians are particularly vulnerable. They are less visible than motor vehicles, which means inattentive drivers might not see them in time. Furthermore, they have less protection, so accidents are more likely to result in severe and even fatal injuries. 

In many cases, the driver who strikes a pedestrian is at fault for the collision and liable for the consequences. However, liability in pedestrian accidents is a complex matter. Determining who is at fault and who is eligible to recover compensation requires a careful look at the individual circumstances of the accident. 

When a Driver Might Be at Fault for an Accident

While pedestrians may sometimes be at fault for accidents, drivers have a duty to exercise reasonable care and caution when operating a vehicle. A driver may be liable for a pedestrian accident if they:

  • Fail to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in designated crosswalks or intersections
  • Disobey traffic signals or signs
  • Drive while distracted or impaired
  • Exceed the speed limit or drive too fast for conditions
  • Make improper turns or lane changes without checking for pedestrians
  • Fail to keep up with proper vehicle maintenance, leading to equipment failure or malfunction

Drivers must remain vigilant and anticipate the presence of pedestrians, particularly in areas with high foot traffic, such as school zones, shopping centers, busy downtown streets, or residential neighborhoods. Even if a pedestrian is jaywalking or behaving negligently, drivers have a duty to take reasonable steps to avoid a collision if possible.

When a Pedestrian Might Be at Fault for an Accident

Pedestrians are not automatically without fault in accidents. In fact, there are some circumstances in which a pedestrian might be considered primarily or entirely at fault for a collision and resulting losses. A pedestrian may be to blame for a crash if they are:

  • Jaywalking or crossing a street outside an intersection or crosswalk
  • Rushing into the flow of traffic without warning
  • Traveling while distracted
  • Under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Traveling on a highway or roadway where pedestrians are prohibited
  • Failing to follow the directions of traffic signals

In such circumstances, Michigan’s comparative fault laws determine the amount and type of compensation a pedestrian can recover. A pedestrian who is no more than 50 percent responsible for the accident may recover compensation for economic as well as non-economic losses, but any damages awarded will be reduced according to their percentage of fault. Economic damages cover those with a dollars-and-cents value, like medical bills and lost wages. Non-economic damages apply to intangible things like pain and suffering.

If a pedestrian is more than 50 percent responsible, they may still recover economic damages (with the award being reduced by their percentage of fault). However, they cannot recover damages for pain and suffering and other non-economic losses.

The Importance of Legal Representation in Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrian accidents often result in catastrophic injuries or fatalities, and determining liability can be complex. It is crucial to have a personal injury attorney on your side to protect your rights and aggressively pursue the fair compensation you deserve.

An attorney can thoroughly investigate the accident by gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and working with accident reconstruction experts to establish fault. They can also calculate the extent of your damages, including current and anticipated future medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other losses.

Furthermore, insurance companies often attempt to minimize payouts or deny claims altogether. Your attorney can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve. If necessary, they can take your case to court.

Contact a Michigan Pedestrian Accident Attorney at Davis Law Center

If you’ve suffered injuries in an accident involving a pedestrian, whether as a driver or a pedestrian, an experienced Michigan personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights. The seasoned legal team at Davis Law Center has been helping injured Michiganders recover compensation for over 30 years. Our compassionate and knowledgeable attorneys will listen to your story, conduct a thorough investigation to determine who was at fault, and fight for a fair recovery. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.

Davis Law Center: your trusted partner for personal injury accident cases. Serving Detroit, Farmington Hills, Southfield, Macon County, Wayne County, Oakland County, and all of Michigan.

About the Author
Neil Davis, owner of Davis Law Center, is a seasoned attorney specializing in personal injury cases. With over 30 years of experience, he has successfully secured millions in compensation for injured individuals. Neil is a dedicated advocate for justice and an active member of legal associations. Personal injury law is complex and best handled by a competent attorney who can effectively evaluate, prepare, present, and fight to win your case. Neil prides himself on doing all these things for his clients and would be honored to have the opportunity to discuss your case with you.