Although drivers have a higher duty of care to be more cautious when there are pedestrians around, that does not necessarily mean that they are always at fault when a pedestrian is hit.
Usually, when a driver hits a pedestrian, the driver is at fault. This is because when you are driving in a car in Missouri, the driver has a higher duty of care to be cautious when there are pedestrians present. That means that they have an obligation to be more vigilant when they suspect that people are around. For a driver, the duty of care is even greater when children are present. So, if you see a crosswalk or notice that people are walking, you should slow down and be highly cautious of pedestrians entering the roadway.
Is the Driver Always At-Fault in a Pedestrian Accident?
Although drivers have a higher duty of care to be more cautious when there are pedestrians around, that does not necessarily mean that they are always at fault when a pedestrian is hit. The driver’s higher duty of care doesn’t mean that the pedestrian doesn’t have any responsibility. When it comes to pedestrian accidents, reasonable care is relevant to determining who is at fault.
What Is Reasonable Care?
Pedestrians have an obligation to protect themselves and to make sound choices when they are walking near traffic. The term reasonable care is a legal construct that basically determines if a reasonable person would have acted the same way if they were presented with the same circumstances as the injured pedestrian. If it is determined that a pedestrian did not take reasonable care, the driver might not be at fault. Pedestrians have an obligation to behave as any reasonable person would in the same situation. Otherwise, they can be found at fault and liable for their own injuries.
What Are Ways That a Pedestrian Might Not Have Acted With Reasonable Care?
There are places where people can legally walk and other places where they can not. One example of a pedestrian not taking reasonable care would be if they were walking on the highway. Highways are not designed for pedestrians to walk on. Being on the highway is not safe or legal. Therefore, if a pedestrian is hit on the highway because they didn’t take reasonable care to protect themselves, then the pedestrian would be the at-fault party or at least be partially at fault.
Another reason a pedestrian can be found to be at fault would is if they were intoxicated and walked out in front of traffic without checking for signs of vehicles. Since there would be no way for a driver to anticipate that a drunk pedestrian would walk out in front of them, they would not have breached their duty of care if they accidentally hit the pedestrian.
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There are times when the driver is only partially responsible and others when the driver is not responsible at all. The best way to know for sure how much responsibility you hold for an accident involving a pedestrian is to speak with a St. Louis car accident attorney to sort through the details and to make sure that you aren’t left paying for someone else’s mistake. Call The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. 24/7 at (314) 361-4242 for a FREE case evaluation.