Can A Pedestrian Be Liable For A Car Accident In Arizona?
Pedestrians are not always innocent victims in vehicle collisions. Sometimes, they cause or contribute to their own accidents and injuries. Like other roadway users, pedestrians have the duty to obey traffic laws and control signals. They cannot step out in front of traffic, walk alongside highways, or engage in a number of other unsafe activities without facing potential legal responsibility for subsequent collisions. Here are a few circumstances in which pedestrians may be liable for car accidents in The Grand Canyon State.
Arizona legislation Section 28-793 prohibits pedestrians from “jaywalking,” or crossing the roadway where there is not a marked crosswalk or intersection. In these situations, a pedestrian must yield right-of-way to vehicles in the roadway, and wait until traffic clears to safely cross. The same rule applies when a pedestrian chooses to cross a roadway instead of using a provided pedestrian tunnel or overhead crossing. When there are adjacent intersections with traffic control signals, pedestrians may only cross at marked crosswalks when they receive the go-ahead from the control device.
If a pedestrian jumps in the middle of traffic without allowing enough room for oncoming vehicles to reasonably stop, he or she may be liable for the collision. For example, if a pedestrian believes he or she has enough time to run across the road, but misjudges how fast a vehicle is moving. Pedestrians cannot cross in the middle of the road unless there is a marked crosswalk. Doing so constitutes jaywalking, and may lead to pedestrian liability. Certain Arizona cities have their own jaywalking laws regarding business districts. Check your local laws for more information.
Entering a Street While Intoxicated
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost half (48%) of fatal pedestrian collisions in 2015 involved alcohol impairment by the driver or pedestrian. About one in three (34%) of fatal pedestrian accidents involved pedestrians with blood alcohol concentration levels at or above 0.08% – the legal maximum for drivers. Walking while intoxicated is not against the law, but it can lead to liability in a subsequent collision.
If an impaired individual steps off the sidewalk into traffic, the courts could find him/her guilty of negligence in causing an accident. This might be the case if the courts believe a reasonable and prudent pedestrian would not have acted the same way in similar circumstances. It is dangerous to navigate Arizona’s streets on foot while intoxicated. Impaired pedestrians may not be aware of their surroundings, and may break roadway rules more easily than sober walkers, contributing to collisions.
About Comparative Negligence Laws in Arizona
Just because a pedestrian contributed to an accident does not bar him or her from financial recovery in Arizona. The state abides by comparative negligence laws, under which the courts may still grant a compensation award even if a pedestrian was 99% at fault for the accident, as long as the driver was negligent. The pedestrian will receive an amount reduced by his or her percentage of liability. For example, if the courts find a pedestrian 40% at fault for disobeying a crosswalk signal, the pedestrian would receive $60,000 of a $100,000 total compensation award ($100,000 minus $40,000, or 40%). Speak to an attorney after any pedestrian accident, even if you were partially responsible for causing it.