Either the driver or the pedestrian may be at fault if a driver hits a walker outside of a crosswalk, depending on which party has negligence:
Having a legal duty (an obligation to do something, like to operate your vehicle safely or not to do something, like not driving your car on the sidewalk)
Breaching that duty (for example, texting while driving or letting your car veer off the road due to your driving while drowsy)
That breach causes the accident that injures someone (such as hitting a pedestrian in a crosswalk because you were looking at your cell phone instead of the road or you fell asleep at the wheel and ran off the road)
(See our blog posts Can a Pedestrian Hit by a Car File an Insurance Claim and Can a Pedestrian Be at Fault for an Accident with a Car for more information about pedestrian accidents)
Who Has the Right-of-Way in Florida, a Pedestrian or a Car Driver?
Many people incorrectly think that pedestrians always have the right-of-way (ROW) when it comes to motor vehicles. According to Florida crosswalk laws, walkers do have the ROW when they are in the crosswalk with a “Walk” signal or, if no signal is present, the pedestrian is on the driver’s side of the road while in the crosswalk. But walkers should yield the ROW to vehicular traffic is they are crossing the street anywhere that is not a crosswalk.
If the Driver Has the Right-of-Way, Is the Pedestrian Negligent?
Not necessarily: just because someone has the ROW does not mean he or she can slam into pedestrians. Drivers must keep a careful lookout and take all reasonable steps to avoid collisions.
What If Both Parties Were Negligent?
Seldom in life is one person completely wrong and the other perfectly innocent. If both the driver and the person on foot were at fault, the court will apportion the fault between the two people, then adjust the amount of money each one gets accordingly.
In Florida, as long as someone else is partly liable, you can get something for your injuries, although the court will reduce your recovery by your negligence. For example, if you have $20,000 in damages, and you were 50 percent at fault, you can get $10,000 for your injuries.
Whether you were the driver or the pedestrian in an accident, talk to a pedestrian accident lawyer at the Montero Law Center. Call us at 954-767-6500, and we will evaluate your claim at no charge.