Imagine this: you are driving down the street when suddenly, a figure darts out from between parked cars and you have to slam on your brakes to avoid hitting the pedestrian. You might narrowly miss the figure but end up colliding with another car or piece of personal property or hit the person, involving him or her in your accident. This is known as a pedestrian accident.
When you are involved in a pedestrian accident, you and the pedestrian can both suffer from significant injuries. In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 4,743 pedestrians died in accidents involving motor vehicles and approximately 76,000 suffered injuries. As a driver, always be on the lookout for pedestrians and animals that could enter the roadway at any time.
Pedestrians Have the Right of Way
This means that throughout Tennessee, motorists must yield to pedestrians when sharing the road with them. But this does not excuse pedestrians from their responsibility to use the sidewalk, rather than the shoulder of the road, when available and to obey the posted traffic signals. The only exception to the pedestrian’s right of way is when the pedestrian is crossing the road in an area other than a marked crosswalk or the unmarked, but recognizable, crosswalk of an intersection. In these situations, pedestrians must yield to vehicles.
If you are involved in an accident with a pedestrian, you are not automatically assumed to be at fault because you were in a car. The pedestrian could have been intoxicated, distracted, or blatantly disregarding posted signs. Work with an experienced car accident attorney to determine whether you have grounds for a claim against an errant pedestrian and if so, how to proceed with your claim against him or her. Where your accident occurred can tell a lot about the pedestrian’s level of negligence in your case – if he or she jaywalked or was walking on a road that is generally off-limits to pedestrians, such as an interstate highway, the likelihood that the pedestrian was the negligent party in your claim is much higher than it would be if your accident occurred in a small neighborhood or at a crosswalk. Video surveillance of your accident and eyewitness testimonies can be especially helpful in cases like this.