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Who Is At Fault in a Pedestrian Accident if There Is No Crosswalk?

Posted on April 11, 2023

Drivers are almost always at fault for pedestrian collisions when pedestrians use crosswalks. These are places where pedestrians have the right-of-way to cross the road. If there is no crosswalk, however, liability for the accident may not be as clear. The person who is at fault for this type of crash will depend on the circumstances.

Pedestrian Rights-of-Way in Alabama

Pedestrians are the most vulnerable road users. Alabama law strives to protect pedestrians with numerous laws that all drivers must obey. These laws require drivers to give pedestrians the right-of-way in most scenarios, including at marked and unmarked intersections. The state also protects them by providing crosswalks, which are places where pedestrians can cross the road and always have the right-of-way.

The Code of Alabama Section 32-5A-211 states that drivers shall yield the right-of-way, meaning slow down or stop if need be, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is on the half of the road where the vehicle is traveling or approaching so closely from the opposite half as to be in danger. This rule applies in places where traffic control signals are not in place to control the crosswalk.

Pedestrian Responsibilities

Pedestrians also have laws they must follow when walking around Alabama. They must obey all applicable traffic control devices and crosswalk signals. If a pedestrian is faced with a Don’t Walk signal, he or she must remain in place and wait for the Walk sign. Pedestrians also cannot leave a curb or place of safety to suddenly step into the path of a vehicle that is approaching close enough as to present an immediate hazard.

Alabama’s Jaywalking Laws

Alabama has a specific law pertaining to a pedestrian crossing anywhere other than a crosswalk. Section 32-5A-212 states that at a place other than within a marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, pedestrians crossing the road must yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway. This law also prohibits jaywalking, which is a pedestrian crossing the road between adjacent intersections that have traffic control signals at any place except a marked crosswalk.

Determining Fault in a Pedestrian Accident Without a Crosswalk

If a vehicle strikes a pedestrian in Alabama, an investigation will be done to determine fault. Alabama is a fault-based state, meaning the person or party at fault for a pedestrian accident is who must pay for the victim’s medical bills. Under this law, the victim must prove fault to qualify for compensation. This is true even if the pedestrian suffered severe injuries and the motor vehicle driver is uninjured; fault still must be allocated to the correct party or parties to determine liability.

If the pedestrian was not in a crosswalk at the time of the collision, he or she may bear some of the blame. If the pedestrian was illegally jaywalking at the time of the crash, the driver may not be 100 percent at fault. If, however, the driver had enough time to see the pedestrian and apply the brakes or otherwise avoid striking the pedestrian, the driver could be at fault. Working with a Birmingham personal injury lawyer and investigators, factors such as the location of the pedestrian and the speed of the vehicle will be analyzed to determine liability.

Even if the pedestrian was not in a crosswalk, any driver negligence that contributed to the accident could make the driver liable for the damage. If the driver is not found to be 100 percent responsible for the wreck due to jaywalking, however, the pedestrian may lose all right to recover financial compensation. Alabama’s contributory fault law states that if a victim is found to be even 1 percent responsible for his or her injuries, he or she will be barred from making a financial recovery. This law makes it important to contact a Birmingham car accident attorney right away if you got hit by a car when you were not in a crosswalk in Alabama.