Your Legal Guide: How to Navigate Pedestrian Car Accidents

Are you in this scenario: you’re driving home at night — you may have been putting a few extra hours in at work, and are exhausted. While driving, you all of a sudden see someone in the road. You don’t brake on time, and, well…

Pedestrian car accidents are terrifying for both the pedestrian and the driver. Unfortunately, accidents involving cars and pedestrians are more common than you think. There was even an increase in pedestrian deaths during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.

If you hit a pedestrian, will you be charged with a crime? 

Who’s at Fault in Pedestrian Car Accidents?

The driver is often at fault in pedestrian car accidents. But every accident is different. If the police are called, an officer will assess the accident and determine who’s at fault

We will cover common charges that drivers may face. But when would the pedestrian be at fault?

The most common example is if the pedestrian was “jaywalking,” a term that refers to a pedestrian not using the crosswalk or crossing a street when the traffic signal says not to. If you can also prove that the pedestrian ran in the street and failed to check oncoming traffic, they could also be at fault.

Charges a Driver May Face

As stated previously, drivers are usually at fault in pedestrian car accidents. That’s because most drivers don’t see pedestrians due to carelessness. Here are a couple of common charges you may face if you hit a pedestrian. 

Traffic Violations

Common traffic infractions that cause pedestrian car accidents include:

  • Running a stop sign or red light
  • Speeding
  • Failing to yield
  • Texting and driving
  • Unsafe lane changes

While you will receive a fine, you likely won’t receive any jail time for any of these violations, assuming the pedestrian isn’t injured. You may also lose some demerit points and/or will have to attend traffic school.

However, if the pedestrian is injured, you may be charged with a crime and/or will be sued by the pedestrian.

Criminal Penalties Against the Driver

You may be charged with a crime if you were driving recklessly. Common criminal penalties include:

  • Hit and run
  • Vehicular manslaughter
  • Driving under the influence (DUI)

Your sentence depends on the severity of the accident. If you caused serious injuries or death, then expect to receive a felony.

What to Do If You Hit a Pedestrian

Here are the steps to take if you hit a pedestrian:

  • Stop and make sure there are no injuries
  • Call 911 if there are injuries
  • Notify your insurance if there was car damage
  • Gather evidence if the pedestrian was at fault
  • Write your statement, especially if you suspect the pedestrian will contact authorities and/or bring you to court

You can’t turn back time, but you can ensure that there were no injuries and can protect yourself from a criminal charge.

Who’s at Fault in Pedestrian Car Accidents?

Drivers are mainly at fault in pedestrian car accidents. That’s because pedestrian car accidents often occur when the driver is driving carelessly or recklessly. However, pedestrians may be at fault if they jaywalked or ran in the middle of traffic.

Continue reading our blog for more guides and facts.

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