Unfortunately, since pedestrians are so defenseless to vehicles on the road, it’s highly possible for someone who’s struck by a vehicle to be seriously injured or killed. So all motorists have a special duty of care to pay close attention to crosswalks, spaces in-between parked vehicles, and other areas where people are walking about regularly—and even places where they should be, but are anyway.
Are drivers always liable in a pedestrian accident? Are there ever any circumstances when a pedestrian might be found partially at fault for an incident? If you’ve been in an accident with a pedestrian, these are important questions to bring up with a Kansas City car accident attorney who specializes in this line of law.
Watch for Pedestrians and Allow Right-of-Way
According to Missouri state law, if traffic signals are down or don’t exist in a particular area, drivers should yield the right of way to pedestrians crossing roadways within crosswalks on the driver’s side of the road. This also applies to pedestrians on the opposite side of the road but who approach closely enough to be in danger of an oncoming vehicle.
Additionally, the law indicates that pedestrians aren’t to leave a curb or other safe place and enter a vehicle’s path to the point where motorists won’t be able to stop or yield to them. Specifically, every pedestrian crossing a roadway at a place other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles on the roadway.
And here’s another point: the law states that it’s unlawful for a driver approaching from behind to pass a stopped vehicle waiting for a pedestrian to cross at a crosswalk.
When Fault Might Found With Both a Motorist and a Pedestrian
In September 2019, a pedestrian by the name of Jeremy Hall was struck by a vehicle and killed on US 63 southbound. The online crash report indicated that Hall was walking in the passing lane on the highway, which is designated for vehicle use only. However, if the driver had been using high-beam headlights and was consistently scanning the road for unexpected encounters, perhaps the fatality could have been avoided.
Missouri is a comparative law state. In personal injury cases, this means that even if someone contributed some measure of fault to the accident, they’re still eligible for injury compensation based on their percentage of fault. For example, had Hall lived, he might have been found 50 percent at fault for walking in the passing lane, yet may have been able to recoup 50 percent of a financial recovery claim for his injuries.