Can a Pedestrian Be at Fault for a Car Crash?

Posted on behalf of RizkLaw on Apr 19, 2021 in Auto Accident

Pedestrian walking in crosswalkWhen a pedestrian is struck by a car, most people immediately assume the driver is at fault. However, both pedestrians and drivers share responsibility for safety on the road.

Read below for more information about pedestrians and liability for car crashes in Oregon. If you were injured in a pedestrian versus motor vehicle accident due to another’s negligence, Rizk Law is prepared to help.

Our experienced auto accident lawyers in Portland are ready to discuss the details of your situation in a completely free, no-obligation consultation. Call our law offices anytime, night or day, to schedule your free consultation.

Assessing Liability for a Pedestrian vs Car Crash

Assessing fault for a crash involving a motor vehicle and a pedestrian always requires a thorough investigation. Drivers are responsible for staying alert and in control of their vehicles. However, there may be times when a pedestrian’s actions may not give a driver time to react to prevent an accident.

Pedestrians may be at least partially at fault for a crash in certain situations, including if they:

  • Dart into the road, jaywalk or dash out from between cars
  • Walk distracted, such as proceeding into the street while texting
  • Enter a designated crossing area when traffic signals are telling pedestrians to wait
  • Attempt to cross a street while impaired by drugs or alcohol
  • Recklessly endanger themselves or others by purposely walking into busy traffic

Regardless of whether a pedestrian is in a designated crossing area or not, he or she shares responsibility for traffic safety. Pedestrians who are negligent and then struck by a car can be assessed at least some liability for the crash.

Oregon Drivers and Pedestrians Owe a Duty of Care

Both pedestrians and drivers owe a duty of care to others in Oregon. It is important to understand and be familiar with these duties, regardless of how you are traveling.

Pedestrian Responsibility

In a crosswalk, pedestrians have the right of way. However, regardless of what traffic law applies, pedestrians are also required to be proactive for their own safety. Before crossing any street – even if a traffic signal gives the go ahead or you are at a designated crossing area – check for traffic. Too many drivers try to blow through traffic signals, including red lights, placing you in great danger.

Other state laws that apply to pedestrians include:

  • Traffic signals: Pedestrians must obey all traffic lights, signals or devices that indicate when a pedestrian should or should not walk.
  • Oncoming traffic: When there is no designated crossing area, pedestrians are required to yield the right of way to oncoming traffic. Additionally, pedestrians must not dart into the road suddenly from a sidewalk, curb or other place of safety.
  • Emergency vehicles: Pedestrians are required to yield for all emergency vehicles that are using either an audible signal, such as a siren, or flashing a visual signal.
  • Designated pedestrian passageways: Pedestrians are required to use designated safe areas, when available, instead of walking in the road. These areas could include tunnels or overhead passages.

Failure to obey pedestrian laws in Oregon is a Class D traffic violation, which carries a presumptive fine of $115 per offense.

Driver Responsibility for Pedestrians

Drivers are required under Oregon law to yield to pedestrians under the following circumstances:

  • Coming to a full and complete stop and remaining stopped for pedestrians at all intersections whether they include marked or unmarked crosswalks.
  • Yielding the right-of-way to blind pedestrians attempting to cross with a guide dog or using a white cane. Drivers must wait until the pedestrian has completely crossed the road before proceeding.
  • Obeying traffic signals, devices or traffic patrol members – which means coming to a full and complete stop and remaining stopped as directed.
  • When attempting to turn at a traffic signal, motorists must completely stop and remain stopped to check for pedestrians. Drivers must continue waiting until crossing pedestrians clear their lane of traffic and travel at least six feet into the adjacent lane.

Can Pedestrians Pursue Compensation if Partially at Fault?

If a pedestrian is partially liable for a crash, he or she may still be eligible to recover compensation for damages. However, under Oregon’s comparative negligence law, he or she cannot be assessed with more than 50 percent of the liability. If a pedestrian is found to be 51 percent or more at fault, he or she is barred from any recovery.

Contact Our Law Firm for Trusted Legal Help

Learn more about how Rizk Law may be able to help you following a motor vehicle versus pedestrian crash. When another’s negligence causes you harm, you may be eligible to recover compensation for medical costs and other losses. We have a proven track record, recovering millions in compensation for injured Oregonians.

Our initial case reviews are completely free and carry no obligation. If we do represent you, there are no upfront costs or fees to pay. We only get paid if we recover compensation for you.