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If I Was Hit by a Car and Injured While Crossing the Street, But I Wasn’t in the Crosswalk, How Does This Affect My Right to Recover Compensation?

Pedestrians crossing in a crosswalkWhen a motorist drives on a public highway he owes other motorists a duty to use reasonable care and to observe the rules of the road. When one fails to meet this duty of care, he is said to breach his legal duty and may be liable for injury caused to another.

This duty is equally owed to pedestrians, who more susceptible to being injured or killed as they don’t have the protection of the vehicle’s structure and safety equipment.

Pedestrian & Driver Rights in Accidents Involving Individuals Crossing The Road

When a pedestrian is hit by a motor vehicle, a common question is whether the pedestrian was in a crosswalk when struck and if not, how that will affect that individual’s right to recover money damages for injury caused by the negligence of the driver.

Pedestrians Crossing Within a Crosswalk

If the pedestrian is within a crosswalk when he is struck by a motor vehicle, Section 1151 of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law will apply. This section requires a driver to slow down, stop, or otherwise yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk where there are no traffic-control devices or they are not in operation at the time. Thus, if a driver fails to yield and strikes a pedestrian, this section can be utilized as one basis of holding the driver liable. Further, where the crosswalk is at an intersection with a traffic-control device, such as a traffic light, Section 1111 of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law will control and also requires motorists to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.

However, a subsection in Section 1151 of the V & T also provides that “[n]o pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impractical for the driver to yield.” Thus, the conduct of the pedestrian in a crosswalk must be assessed when considering the extent to which the driver will be held legally responsible. Defense attorneys will seek to minimize, or negate, the liability of the driver they represent by raising this defense. Therefore, it’s important to retain an experienced accident attorney to ensure your rights are preserved.

Pedestrians Crossing Outside the Crosswalk

When a pedestrian is hit by a motor vehicle and is not in the crosswalk, Section 1152 of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law applies. This section provides that “[e]very pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield to the right of way to all vehicles upon the roadway.” Essentially, the law has reversed the role of who needs to yield in this situation: it is the pedestrian instead of the driver. Thus, if a pedestrian is struck outside of a crosswalk, the driver may be able to escape liability through this provision.

However, this does not end the inquiry. Drivers are required by Section 1146 of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law to “exercise due care to avoid colliding with any . . . pedestrian . . . and shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary.” Thus, even if a pedestrian is outside of the crosswalk, a driver may be held partially or totally at fault, depending upon the evidence as to what each were doing just before the collision.

Get the Help You Need Following a Pedestrian Accident

All of these considerations as well as other factors are important in evaluating the legal responsibility of the motorist, and pedestrian-client when an accident results in injury or death under these circumstances. It’s important to contact an experienced and dedicated New York car accident attorney to thoroughly evaluate your claim to ensure that your rights are protected.

If you or a loved one has suffered a serious personal injury in Albany, Saratoga Springs or elsewhere in the Capital District, you may be entitled to compensation. As practicing car accident attorneys with more than 90 years of combined experience, our legal team at Anderson, Moschetti and Taffany has obtained record setting settlements and verdicts representing victims of car accidents.

Call us today for a FREE case evaluation at (518) 785-4900, or contact us online to obtain more information. There is no obligation.

Editor’s Note: This content was originally published in 2013 but has been updated as of October 2016.