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When Is a Pedestrian At Fault for Causing a Car Accident?

When Is a Pedestrian At Fault for Causing a Car Accident?

Generally, when people think about who is at fault in a car accident, they assume that it has to be one or more drivers. Rarely do most people think about pedestrians causing car accidents, so when is a pedestrian at fault for a car accident?

Insurance companies and courts can find that a pedestrian has caused a motor vehicle accident. If you were the driver of a car that was involved in a vehicle-pedestrian accident, you are not automatically at fault. 

The fault lies with the person responsible for the accident, and that can certainly be the pedestrian. 

If you were in an accident that was caused by a pedestrian, an experienced car accident attorney can help you navigate the complex legal circumstances of the incident. 

Understanding Kentucky Law

Traffic law in Kentucky requires all drivers and pedestrians to exercise reasonable care to avoid hurting themselves or others on the road. So when is a pedestrian at fault for a car accident?

Drivers and pedestrians alike are responsible for practicing safe behaviors. Anyone who neglects their obligation to behave safely and reasonably at all times can be found responsible for causing a car accident. 

Under Kentucky traffic laws, a pedestrian can be held responsible for being hit by a vehicle in many different circumstances. 

Situations in Which Pedestrians Are At Fault

How can a pedestrian cause a car accident? Let’s look at some of the ways that Kentucky’s insurers and courts have found pedestrians to be responsible for their own injuries, others’ injuries, or property damage that occurs. 

Distracted walking.

When a pedestrian fails to pay attention to their surroundings because they are focused on their phone, music, or anything else, they are participating in “distracted walking.” Similar to distracted driving, this is a situation where inattentiveness can have disastrous consequences. 


Jaywalking is the act of illegally crossing the road on foot in a place where there are no pedestrian signals or crosswalks. A pedestrian who does not yield the right-of-way to a vehicle while jaywalking can be held responsible for an accident that takes place. 

Being Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs

Walking while under the influence may not have the same legal repercussions as driving while intoxicated, but in the event of an accident, it can determine fault. If a pedestrian is intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol or drugs, their actions may be responsible for the accident. 

Other Unsafe Behaviors

Other behaviors that can lead to the fault being assigned to a pedestrian include:

  • Wearing dark clothing while crossing the street at night
  • Darting or weaving in the road in front of cars and other vehicles
  • Crossing the road when drivers are unable to see them
  • Walking in restricted areas such as an interstate or non-pedestrian zone
  • Intentionally distracting a motorist
  • Throwing objects into the road or at passing cars

Determining Fault in a Pedestrian-Car Accident

Following a car accident involving a pedestrian, the law of negligence determines who is at fault. 

If the driver was negligent, reckless, or behaving dangerously, he or she will be at fault. If, however, the pedestrian was ignoring the rules of the road, behaving recklessly, or negligent in their duty to behave with an appropriate level of care, then the pedestrian can be found at fault. 

In the event of a pedestrian at fault car accident, they can be held responsible for medical costs, missed work, and property damage, among other costs. 

This is true even if the pedestrian ended up suffering from more injuries–or more serious injuries–than the driver of the vehicle that struck them.

Central Kentucky’s Trusted Car Accident Attorneys–McCoy & Sparks

The legal team at McCoy & Sparks knows how to handle complicated cases, including situations where a pedestrian caused an accident in which they were severely injured.

If a car hits a pedestrian who is at fault, the driver has the legal right to seek appropriate representation. 

Our compassionate, experienced legal time is equipped to help you navigate the legal system and receive the compensation you deserve.

To learn more about our success stories here in Central Kentucky, check out our case results! 

Contact McCoy & Sparks, PLLC, your Central Kentucky car accident lawyers at 1-844-4KY-WINS, or fill out our online form to set up a time to discuss your case in a free, no-commitment consultation.