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Could a Pedestrian Be at Fault for an Accident?

When a motorist strikes a pedestrian, the common wisdom is that the driver is almost always at fault. In fact, you’ve likely heard the phrase, “the pedestrian always has the right of way.”

But this isn’t technically correct. There are some situations in which a pedestrian may actually be at fault, whether fully or partially, for an accident.

When is the motorist at fault?

If, for example, the driver was found guilty of driving under the influence, he or she will almost always be held liable for any injuries caused. Motorists are also usually at fault for any pedestrian accidents in which the person on foot was in a crosswalk and had the legal right of way. And of course, pedestrians cannot be held responsible at all for a crash if the driver somehow drove up on to the sidewalk — a somewhat common scenario when motorists must pass over sidewalks when turning into parking lots.

When is the pedestrian at fault?

There are a few relatively common situations in which pedestrians could at least share responsibility for a crash. These include the following:

  • Jaywalking, or crossing outside of a crosswalk in the middle of the street
  • Crossing at a crosswalk despite there being a “don’t walk” sign lit up
  • Walking across a street while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Walking in any place where pedestrians are not allowed to be, such as interstate highways

Maryland is a contributory negligence state, and these rules often play a role in pedestrian accident cases. Unlike other states, in which the percentage of fault determines the amount of money a person can recover, contributory negligence means that if you contributed at all to the accident, you are unable to recover any financial compensation. Therefore, you need to be able to prove you had no part in causing the accident at all if you are to seek monetary damages.

To learn more about your best options after a pedestrian accident in Maryland, contact a skilled La Plata personal injury attorney at Mudd, Mudd & Fitzgerald, P.A.

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