When there is an accident involving a car and a pedestrian, we initially assume that the driver of the vehicle is probably at fault. Most people believe that “the pedestrian has the right of way,” although that isn’t always accurate from a legal standpoint. In a car-pedestrian accident, the pedestrian can actually be held wholly or partially liable.
The following are common circumstances under which a pedestrian may be found at least partially responsible for an accident involving a vehicle:
- Jaywalking or crossing a street, outside of a crosswalk
- Crossing against the traffic sign
- Entering a street or highway under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Walking where pedestrian access is prohibited, such as highways, bridges, and causeways
Although there are some cases where the at-fault party is obvious, there are others that are not so clear-cut. In reality, even when a pedestrian does share some amount of the blame for causing a crash, chances are that the motorist is also partially responsible.
For instance, a person may be crossing the street against the traffic signal (i.e. in the crosswalk but against a red “Do Not Walk” command), but the driver of the vehicle may have been driving faster than the posted speed limit, or texting while driving and therefore unable to stop in time. So what happens when both parties are at fault?
Oklahoma is a modified comparative fault state with a 51 percent bar. This means that a plaintiff cannot recover if he or she is 51 percent or more at fault. If 50 percent or less at fault, the plaintiff can recover, although his or her recovery is reduced by his or her degree of fault. For example, if a plaintiff is 20 percent at fault, he or she gets 80 percent recovery.