Pedestrians And The Right Of Way: Your Rights Under The Law After An Accident

Posted on: 17 August 2019


As a pedestrian, you have certain rights under American law. (These rights do not extend to you as a pedestrian on foreign soil, as other countries do not give pedestrians the right of way when traffic is around.) If you are walking along a city street on the sidewalk or in the crosswalks, you maintain those rights so long as you are following the laws. As such, any time an accident occurs where you, as a pedestrian, are injured, you can exercise further rights under the law. Here are some examples. 

You Are Hit in a Crosswalk by a Driver That Fails to Yield

Drivers must stop at stop signs and red lights. If the light is yellow, they have to slow down, but pedestrians are also expected to cross cautiously and at their own risk. If and when a driver fails to yield at a stop sign or red light and hits you in the crosswalk, you are entitled to sue that driver to the fullest extent of the law. This includes all present and future medical bills, pain and suffering, and loss of wages as the result of being in the hospital for days after the accident. 

You Are Hit by a Driver That Jumped the Curb and Drove onto the Sidewalk

Such incidents typically involve someone who is drunk, under the influence of drugs, or someone who is trying to evade police in the worst possible way. When you are struck in this fashion and it ends up being someone who is DUI or OWI, the compensation you can seek doubles or triples, depending on your injuries and disabling conditions after the accident. Your pedestrian accident lawyer will inform you what the full compensation package looks like in your case. 

If, however, the driver was driving on the sidewalk because they were trying to evade police, then you might also be able to sue the police. The police should have stopped this driver from driving illegally on the sidewalk. Because they failed to do so, you were seriously injured. That makes them partially culpable, and you may be able to sue.

You Are Hit by a Driver That Went Around a Bus That Stopped

This incident happens more often with children and school buses than it does with adults. However, if you are getting off a city bus, and you are trying to cross the street when you are hit by a car that did not wait for the bus to move again, sue the driver. They  needed to wait until the bus began moving again to make sure there were no pedestrians crossing in front of the bus. The driver of the car (or cars!) failed to do that, and they should expect to be sued. 

Contact a pedestrian accident attorney for more help.