“The pedestrian has the right of way.”  We have all heard this old adage, but from a legal standpoint, it is not always correct.  Accidents involving pedestrians and vehicles are on the rise, and laws have changed significantly regarding the establishment of fault. According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, over 6,000 pedestrians were killed in 2018.  Pedestrian fatalities have been on the rise, and have increased 41 percent since 2008.  If you have been involved in an accident between a vehicle and a pedestrian, it is important you know how fault is determined.

Driver at Fault

Many cases are simple, such as if a driver blatantly fails to follow the “rules of the road.”  Some examples are as follows:

  • Stopping at a red light, stop sign, crosswalk or other marked sign.
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Speeding or driving recklessly
  • Failure to obey traffic signs or laws

Drivers are operating vehicles that are capable of great speed and great damage, and it is their responsibility to practice safety and obey traffic laws.

Pedestrian at Fault

While drivers are required to follow the rules of the road, a pedestrian also needs to exercise reasonable care or prudence while sharing the roadway with vehicles. Examples of a pedestrian failing to follow their “rules of the road” are as follows:

  • Jaywalking
  • Crossing against a traffic signal
  • Entering a street and/or highway while intoxicated
  • Throwing items onto the roadway
  • Intentionally trying to distract a driver
  • Walking on highways or areas where pedestrians are not legally allowed

These are instances where a pedestrian could be considered at least partially at fault due to their negligence.

Determination of Fault

In order to bring a successful personal injury claim, you must demonstrate duty, breach, causation, and damages.  For example, if you were trying to prove that a driver was negligent in an accident, you would need to prove the following:

  • Duty – The driver of the vehicle had a legal duty to act responsibly, obey traffic laws, and drive the vehicle with prudence and care.
  • Breach – The driver breached that legal duty through his/her negligent driving.
  • Causation – The driver’s negligent behavior either directly or indirectly caused the accident.
  • Damages – The injuries that occurred were a direct result of this accident.

Accidents involving pedestrians and vehicles can be quite serious and include severe injuries, typically to the pedestrian. A Pennsylvania court of law will examine the evidence and determine fault, and ultimately who is responsible for the damages.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer Today 

Accidents involving vehicles and pedestrians are often complicated matters requiring legal expertise.  Oftentimes, experts such as reconstruction specialists, medical practitioners, and other investigative experts are required to help prove your case.  At

O’Donnell Law Offices, our  car accident attorneys serve clients in Kingston, Wilkes-Barre, Hazleton and Pittston and can work with you to ensure that you can build your claim and receive the compensation you deserve.  Call us today for assistance with your case.



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