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Michael J. Doyle, Attorney At Law Michael J. Doyle, Attorney At Law
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Can Pedestrians Be Liable in an Accident?


Commonly, car accidents involving pedestrians can result in greatly disparate damage, with pedestrians often sustaining the most injuries. While a pedestrian may be the most injured in an accident and have the most medical costs, that doesn’t automatically relieve them of any fault in their pedestrian accident.

There are many laws and protections in place to keep pedestrians safe. Sidewalks and crosswalks help pedestrians navigate the streets more safely, and often they are granted the right of way at intersections and crossings. While commonly the law is on their side, that doesn’t mean that pedestrians are free of all obligations to protect themselves while walking.

How to Determine Liability in a Pedestrian Accident

As with any accident, the at-fault party is liable for any damages stemming from the accident. While there are many situations where a driver can clearly be at fault for the accident, such as failing to stop at a marked crosswalk, there are also times when pedestrians can contribute to the accident. Frequently, it’s easier on the part of the pedestrian to avoid accidents since they can choose when they will enter a roadway and leave the shoulder or sidewalk.

From a legal standpoint, every person is expected to exercise a reasonable level of care when walking or driving. This includes following traffic laws and paying appropriate attention to prevent accidents. If one person fails to act with reasonable care and causes an accident, they are considered to be at-fault, regardless of whether they were walking or driving at the time of the accident.

A pedestrian can be responsible for the accident if they fail to use reasonable care. If a pedestrian ran out into the street suddenly when a driver could not avoid hitting them can be seen as irresponsible behavior. Doing so will likely mean that the pedestrian would be held at least partially responsible for damages.

Comparative Negligence in Car-Pedestrian Accidents.

New Mexico is a pure comparative negligence state, which means that fault is allocated between parties in an accident. The defendant’s liability can be reduced if it is found that the plaintiff holds some responsibility for the accident. There is no limit on the amount of fault a plaintiff can be responsible for before they are unable to claim compensation from the other party.

For instance, if a pedestrian suffers $10,000 worth of damages, but is found to be 30% at fault, they can recover 70%, or $7,000 dollars from the other party. Conversely, if they are 70% at fault, they can still recover 30%, or $3,000 dollars from the defendant.

Unlike states with modified comparative negligence laws, New Mexico doesn’t require a plaintiff to hold the minority of fault to claim compensation. If they are less at-fault than the driver, it is likely that they will be able to recover a large portion of their damages. These laws protect all parties by ensuring that damages are awarded fairly in injury cases.

Have Questions? Ask Our Albuquerque Pedestrian Accident Attorney - (505) 219-2176

Understanding personal injury laws can be a challenge, but that is why we’re here. Michael J. Doyle, Attorney at Law has more than a decade of dedicated legal experience, and we can help you determine if you should be able to recover compensation for your injuries. Our caring Albuquerque personal injury attorney understands the difficulties you may be facing after your accident, which is why we will work tirelessly to see that you receive the compensation you deserve.

Start your case with a free initial consultation. Contact our firm by dialing (505) 219-2176.