Our pedestrian accident lawyer in Kansas City has heard it time and again: drivers are always at fault in accidents involving pedestrians. Many believe this rule applies whether the accident occurs in Kansas City or anywhere in Missouri or Kansas. They also assume that pedestrian safety must be the responsibility of drivers because pedestrians are more vulnerable and drivers more protected.
However, this is simply false. Drivers are not "automatically" liable for car accidents involving pedestrians. The issue of who is at fault in a pedestrian accident requires an investigation of the cause and circumstances of the accident and the application of local and state laws that govern the right of way.
While drivers are often at fault for the accident, pedestrians can share in the blame, and this can be used by the insurance company to reduce the amount paid to pedestrians for their injuries. As pedestrian accidents in Kansas City continue to rise, it's more important now than ever to understand the rules governing these crashes and how to protect yourself.
Pedestrians Can Be at Fault in Kansas City Car Accidents
Under to Kansas and Missouri law, pedestrians can be found to be partially or fully at fault in traffic accidents in a number of different circumstances. Below are some examples of these circumstances.
But this fact is worth repeating: pedestrian accidents are not always 100% the fault of the driver; pedestrians can be found liable for damages if their negligence either causes or contributes to causing a car accident.
When Is a Pedestrian at Fault for a Car Accident?
The following are some examples of situations where a pedestrian might end up having to shoulder some of the liability for pedestrian-involved traffic accidents. Each of these hypothetical pedestrians exhibit some level of negligence that very likely contributed to the car crash.
The Intoxicated Pedestrian
Despite the jokes about getting a “WUI” (“walking under the influence”) on the way home from the bar, the reality of intoxicated walking is no laughing matter. While it might seem silly to think that a drunk walker could cause a traffic accident, it is actually far more likely than you might think.
An intoxicated pedestrian, for instance, might stumble into the road and collide with traffic or fail to notice traffic signals. There are plenty of ways in which an intoxicated person on foot could cause real havoc with traffic.
The Jaywalking Pedestrian
Jaywalking is another prohibited action that many think is an unnecessary or frivolous law. But crosswalks are there for a reason: to keep pedestrians—and drivers—safe. Numerous people die each year as a result of crossing the street in unprotected areas. When pedestrians cross the street outside of crosswalks, especially at night, they run the risk of drivers not seeing or expecting them to be there, leading to catastrophic outcomes.
The Distracted Pedestrian
These days, distracted walking might be the one of the biggest contributors to pedestrian-caused traffic accidents. With so many people glued to their smartphones and not paying attention to their surroundings, the increase in this type of accident should be no surprise.
The Illegally Crossing Pedestrian
Similar to jaywalking, the act of crossing the street against the traffic signal is a further instance in which a pedestrian could share some or all of the liability for a car accident. Drivers use traffic signals to help them anticipate what other commuters are doing around them, and pedestrians are no different. The traffic signals are they to ensure everyone is on the same page, drivers and pedestrians alike.
The Trespassing Pedestrian
Another situation in which a pedestrian involved in a traffic accident might be forced to accept some or all liability is when that pedestrian is walking in prohibited areas. These might include places like highways, ramps, and even some bridges. These areas often prohibit foot traffic because there are insufficient mechanisms in place to ensure walker safety.
How to Prove Fault in a Pedestrian Accident
There are several tools and pieces of evidence that attorneys and insurance adjusters can use to help prove that a pedestrian is at fault for a traffic accident. Indeed, it is important to note that Missouri has a law, referred to as “comparative fault” that automatically assigns a share of responsibility to both the driver and the pedestrian—whether it is 0% or 100%.
If you are involved in a car accident with a pedestrian and you believe the pedestrian was at fault, you should consider contacting an experienced Kansas City pedestrian accident lawyer. At the Law Offices of Kevin J. McManus, we have handled a variety of pedestrian-related accidents and would be happy to answer your questions and to help you with your case.
Quality legal representation can help you compile the evidence necessary to bring a strong case. Evidence might include things like traffic camera footage, police reports and testimonies, and statements from witnesses.
It can definitely be difficult to prove who is at fault in any accident, including a pedestrian accident, but if you have experienced legal representation and a strong case, you will be better positioned to avoid a reduction in your case value and to maximize your recovery.
What to Do After a Pedestrian Accident in Kansas City
While it can be a challenge to prove who caused a pedestrian accident in Kansas City, it can certainly be done, and there are certain steps you should take immediately after the crash. If you find yourself injured in a pedestrian car accident in Kansas or Missouri, do the following:
- Stay calm.
- Call 911.
- If you are injured, get prompt medical attention.
- Document the accident best you can by taking photographs, witness statements, and reporting the accident to the police.
- Call the Law Offices of Kevin J. McManus for a free, no obligation consultation at 816-203-0143.
Our Kansas City pedestrian accident lawyer is ready to assist and provide guidance on how to protect your rights and maximize your right to compensation. Call today!