Sadly, pedestrian accidents remain a serious safety hazard on our roadways. According to data provided by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, pedestrian crashes accounted for nearly 15 percent of the state’s motor vehicle accident fatalities between 2013 and 2017.
If you or your loved one was struck by a negligent driver, you have the right to seek financial compensation for your injuries. This raises an important question: Can you still hold a driver liable for your injuries if your pedestrian accident occurred outside of a crosswalk?
The short answer is ‘yes’—but it depends on the specific circumstances of the case. Here, our Spokane car accident attorneys explain the key things you need to know about pedestrian collisions and liability in Washington.
Washington Drivers Have a Duty to Exercise Reasonable Care
Pedestrians should follow traffic signals, enter the road at the appropriate time, and stay inside of any marked crosswalks. Indeed, pedestrians have a responsibility to take reasonable precautions to look out for their own health, safety, well-being.
That being said, drivers always have a legal duty to exercise reasonable care and to watch out for pedestrians. If a pedestrian is outside of a crosswalk—even if they are crossing against a traffic signal—that does not necessarily absolve a driver from legal liability should a collision occur.
Pedestrian Accidents and Comparative Negligence
Under Washington law (Chapter 4.22 RCW), pedestrian accident claims are subject to the state’s comparative negligence standard. Each party to a crash will be held liable in proportion to their share of the blame for the accident. In other words, both the actions of the driver and the pedestrian will be assessed.
When pedestrians cross the street out of the bounds of an available crosswalk, it is possible that they will be held partially liable for their own accident. Still, negligent drivers can be held accountable for these types of pedestrian collisions as well. If the crash occurred because of speeding, distracted driving, intoxicated driving, or any other type of unsafe conduct, the driver will be responsible for some (or all) of the resulting damages.
Though, when non-crosswalk pedestrian collisions do occur, insurance companies often try to reduce their own liability by pushing as much of the blame as possible onto the pedestrian. For this reason, it is imperative that pedestrians involved in collisions outside of marked crosswalks hire an experienced attorney as soon as possible after the accident. Do not let negligent drivers or insurers escape the blame.
Call Our Spokane, WA Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Today
At Albrecht Law PLLC, our Spokane car accident lawyers have extensive experience handling all types of pedestrian accident claims. If you or your loved one was hit by a vehicle while not in a crosswalk, we will protect your rights. To arrange your no fee, strictly confidential initial consultation, please contact our law firm today. From our office in Downtown Spokane, we represent injured pedestrians throughout Eastern Washington.