Who is at Fault in Pedestrian Accidents?
Pedestrian and car collisions happen often, usually with catastrophic results. Even a slow moving car can cause serious injuries to a person on foot. When there is an accident, the insurance companies involved will want to know who is truly at fault.
Most cases involve a negligent driver, but in some incidents the pedestrian may be found at fault as well. The best way to ensure that you are not involved in a pedestrian accident, and to make sure you aren’t responsible for the incident should one occur, is to understand the applicable Washington state pedestrian laws.
Washington State Pedestrian Laws
RCW 46.61.050 – Traffic Signals
Like motorists, pedestrians must obey traffic signals and signs. The only exception to this rule is when a police officer is directing traffic. This means that if you cause an accident by crossing the street when traffic light tells you to stop, you may be found at least partially at fault for the accident.
RCW 46.61.261 – Sidewalks
Pedestrians utilizing sidewalks and crosswalks have the right-of-way. Car drivers and bicyclists must yield to pedestrians. If you are walking safely on the sidewalk or in a crosswalk, the chances of you being the cause of an accident are greatly reduced.
RCW 46.61.250 – Roadway Pedestrians
Pedestrians are supposed to use the sidewalk, but a sidewalk is not always available. When a pedestrian is forced to walk on the shoulder of the road, they must walk on the left hand side facing traffic. This is enforced to encourage pedestrians to see oncoming traffic and to avoid an accident. If the road you are walking on does not have a sidewalk, walk as far to the left as possible or consider a different route.
RCW 46.61.236 – Running Into Traffic
It is illegal to suddenly cross a curb and enter traffic. If a driver does not reasonably have time to stop, you may be held entirely responsible for the resulting collision. This situation is a little different in school zones. Washington recognizes that children are more likely to run into traffic, and drivers are expected to use extra caution when traveling in an area where children are present.
RCW 46.61.245 – Drivers Utilizing Due Care
It is the driver’s responsibility to avoid a collision. Safe drivers must use caution around pedestrians and give warning when they are approaching if an accident is probable. This means that drivers must do their best to be cautious and to sound the horn when needed.
RCW 46.61.235 – Pedestrians at Intersections
Pedestrians have the right-of-way at intersections. Vehicles must yield to pedestrians and bicycles at intersections. But it is always advisable to be safe and do not assume that all drivers recognize this law.
RCW 46.61.240 – Pedestrians Crossing Outside Of Intersections
While pedestrians have the right of way at an intersection, cars have the right of way on the roadway. Unless there is a crosswalk, pedestrians must yield to oncoming traffic.
Pedestrian Accidents Lawyers in Tacoma, Redmond, Bellevue, Olympia, Wenatchee, and Seattle Washington
Please always remember to be safe and to use crosswalks and intersections to cross the street. If the worst happens and you or a loved one is injured, please contact the Bernard Law Group to get more information about pursuing your rights.
IF YOU, OR A LOVED ONE, HAVE BEEN SERIOUSLY INJURED AS A RESULT OF A WASHINGTON PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENT – CALL 800-418-8282 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION!