Can a Pedestrian Be Held Liable for a Car Accident?

If you were in an accident involving a pedestrian, you might ask yourself who is at fault. It’s often easy to assume the driver is wholly responsible for the accident, but this is not always the case. Pedestrians are also responsible for paying attention to their surroundings, following walking signs and signals, and obeying walking laws.

While drivers must ensure pedestrians’ safety by stopping at crosswalks, stop lights, and stop signs, pedestrians can still be at fault for a car accident. 

If you were injured in an accident involving a pedestrian and are unsure who was at fault, contact us for a free consultation. At Eric Ratinoff Law Corp., we will help you understand your right to file a claim after a pedestrian accident. We offer aggressive support to fight for you and the compensation you deserve.

When Is a Pedestrian Responsible for a Car Accident?

Both drivers and pedestrians are expected to consistently exercise care for traffic laws and be acutely aware of their surroundings. When an accident occurs, several factors can contribute to the incident, including a careless pedestrian. A pedestrian may be liable for an accident in the following ways:


Jaywalking is a term that refers to a pedestrian crossing a street outside the marked crosswalk area. California Vehicle Code 21955 states that pedestrians should not cross anywhere besides a crosswalk, making jaywalking illegal. Therefore, if someone walks out into the road in a non-designated area, you may be unable to stop your car in time or swerve to avoid the pedestrian and hit another vehicle. 

Ignoring Walking Signs and Signals

A pedestrian could cross the street in a crosswalk and still potentially be at fault for a car accident. If they ignore the walking signals and cross when the signal says to stop, a driver may not be able to stop in time. Walking signals keep pedestrians and drivers safe, so ignoring them puts everyone in danger.

Walking Where Pedestrians Are Prohibited

For safety reasons, there are some areas of the road where pedestrians are not allowed to walk, like highways and freeways. Walking on these roads puts pedestrians and drivers at risk. Cars may have to swerve out of the way to avoid hitting a pedestrian, and a pedestrian is more vulnerable on such busy roads.

Crossing Under the Influence

If a pedestrian is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, their awareness is severely inhibited. They could run out into traffic, cross outside a crosswalk, ignore walking signals, or act erratically. This unpredictable behavior puts the pedestrian at risk of being in an accident or causing an accident.

Running into Traffic

If someone is in a hurry or not paying attention, they may run out into traffic without leaving drivers enough time to stop. This could put a driver in a situation where they have to veer away to avoid hitting the pedestrian and collide with another vehicle.

Comparative Negligence and Potential Recoverable Damages for a Pedestrian-Caused Car Accident

When filing your claim, you may hear terms like comparative negligence. Comparative negligence means both the defendant and plaintiff are held responsible for the damages caused, which determines the compensation you receive. Essentially, the courts will subtract your percentage of negligence from your compensation. Because California is a pure comparative negligence state, a plaintiff can be up to 99% responsible for the incident and still receive compensation if the defendant is proven to be partially at fault.

When it comes to how much you are owed, we can help you determine the compensation you deserve by looking into the following losses:

  • Current and future medical bills
  • Wages from missed work
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Reduced quality of life

While your medical bills and missed wages are quite simple to calculate, any pain, suffering, or mental anguish is subjective, and it can be challenging to pinpoint a specific dollar amount. We can help you through this process and fight for maximum compensation for you.

Contact an Experienced California Car Accident Lawyer at Eric Ratinoff Law Corp.

After sustaining injuries from a car accident, the aftermath can be overwhelming. Our attorneys at Eric Ratinoff Law Corp. have 30 years of experience and the tools to fight for you and your rights. Our goal is always to help victims get the compensation they deserve and hold the at-fault party accountable for their negligence.

Our car accident lawyers offer proven, outstanding legal representation you can trust. We can help you handle all aspects of your claim, including finding the party at fault, so you can focus on your recovery. For a complimentary case consultation, please fill out our contact form or call us at (916) 970-9100.