Accidents involving pedestrians can be devastating, often resulting in severe injuries or even fatalities. More than 100 pedestrians die annually in Michigan. Most fatalities occur when a pedestrian crosses the street somewhere other than a crosswalk or when a motorist fails to yield the right of way.
Understanding your rights if you’re involved in a pedestrian accident can help you receive compensation. The pedestrian accident attorneys at Fieger Law will investigate your accident to determine liability and help you receive a fair settlement for your injuries.
Defining a Crosswalk in Michigan
In Michigan, a crosswalk is defined as a part of the road designated for pedestrians to cross from one side to the other. Crosswalks can be marked or unmarked and are typically located at intersections.
Marked crosswalks have visible lines, while unmarked crosswalks extend from one sidewalk or curb to the opposite side of the road, even if no markings exist.
What is Jaywalking?
Jaywalking refers to a pedestrian crossing a street outside a designated crosswalk or crossing against a traffic control signal. Michigan does not have a statewide law regarding this behavior, but some jurisdictions, such as Detroit, consider the action a pedestrian interference with traffic which can result in a fine or citation.
Jaywalking can also increase the risk of an accident, as drivers may not expect pedestrians to cross the road at undesignated locations.
Importance of Pedestrian Safety and Awareness
To protect themselves and prevent accidents, pedestrians must use designated crosswalks, obey traffic signals, and stay vigilant while walking near traffic. Pedestrians have a responsibility to do the following when walking near vehicles or crossing the road:
- Use sidewalks when available
- Wear reflective clothing at night
- Face traffic and stay as far left on the street as possible
- Look left and right before crossing the street
- Make eye contact with approaching drivers before crossing
- Use crosswalks whenever possible, cross at street corners, and use traffic signals when crossing
These actions help reduce the risk of injury to pedestrians as well as drivers. For example, if a pedestrian darts across the road in an unmarked area, drivers may swerve and crash in an effort to avoid hitting the pedestrian.
Establishing Duty of Care and a Driver’s Responsibilities
Drivers have a duty of care to operate their vehicles safely and responsibly. This includes paying attention to traffic signals, observing posted speed limits, and being aware of the potential presence of pedestrians.
Drivers should always be on the lookout for pedestrians, especially in urban areas and near crosswalks. Even when pedestrians act negligently when crossing the road, drivers must exercise caution and take reasonable steps to avoid an accident.
If a driver fails to uphold their duty of care and their actions lead to an accident involving a pedestrian, they may be liable for the pedestrian’s injuries. However, if the pedestrian was also negligent, for example, by jaywalking, the pedestrian’s ability to recover damages may be impacted.
Comparative Negligence in Pedestrian Accidents
Michigan is a modified comparative fault state, meaning an injured party can only recover damages if they are less than 50% at fault for the accident. Their percentage of fault will also reduce the amount they can collect.
For example, assume a pedestrian was jaywalking before their accident, resulting in a 10% assignment of liability for their injuries. If their total damages amount to $80,000, they would collect $72,000 (or $80,000 minus 10%) rather than the full amount.
If a pedestrian is found to be 51% or more at fault for the accident, they cannot recover any damages. If you are injured in an incident where you crossed the road outside a crosswalk, speak with an experienced personal injury attorney at Fieger Law. We can help you navigate the complexities of comparative negligence law and fight for maximum compensation on your behalf by reducing or eliminating the percentage of fault initially assigned to you.
Don’t Face Your Pedestrian Accident Case Alone
The aftermath of a pedestrian accident can be overwhelming, especially when facing mounting medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Attempting to navigate the legal process alone can be daunting, and you may be unaware of the compensation you are entitled to.
At Fieger Law, our experienced personal injury attorneys understand the intricacies of Michigan’s comparative negligence law and will work to ensure you receive the financial compensation you deserve.
We can investigate the incident and find evidence to reduce your liability if you crossed the street outside a crosswalk to ensure you receive a fair settlement for your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation.