Can I get accident and injury liability if I was hit by a car when not wearing light color clothing or carrying a light while walking at night?

Yes, a pedestrian can hold accident injury liability (at least partially) for a pedestrian-car accident if he or she was partly responsible for the incident, but it’s a hazy area of the law.

Sixty-eight percent of pedestrian accidents occur at night, according to the National Highway Transportation Administration National Center for Statistics and Analysis. If a pedestrian fails to take safety precautions and doesn’t wear light clothing or carry a light, it could be construed as negligence on his or her part.

Careless Pedestrian Behavior

In a pedestrian-car accident, both parties will be assigned a certain degree of fault for the accident. The attorneys, insurance companies, and courts will look at all the facts surrounding the accident and then determine fault. In some cases, it’s clearly one party that’s at fault, and in other situations, both parties may be partly responsible.

Pedestrians can hold some accident injury liability if they:

  • failed to use a crosswalk;
  • crossed a street on a “don’t walk” signal;
  • walked or ran in front of traffic;
  • didn’t take nighttime safety precautions, like wearing reflective or light clothing; or
  • didn’t obey other traffic rules.

Pedestrians and Iowa Negligence

Iowa follows what’s known as the comparative negligence rule in which even if a person was partly to blame for an accident (up to 50 percent at fault), he or she can still seek compensation for the injuries. However, the settlement amount will be reduced by the individual’s degree of fault.

For example, let’s say a pedestrian was walking down a dark street at night while wearing dark clothing. The pedestrian is struck by a car while crossing the center of the street, not at a lit crosswalk, and the courts deemed the pedestrian 40 percent liable for the accident; the pedestrian’s settlement award would be reduced by 40 percent. So, instead of a $100,000 settlement, for instance, he or she would only receive $60,000.

Proving Liability in a Pedestrian Accident Claim

This is why proving liability in a pedestrian-car accident claim is so important; compensation is directly affected by liability. If fault is somewhat blurred or sketchy, accident victims will want to contact an accident attorney as soon as possible to start working on collecting evidence and proving fault.

An attorney will be able to:

  • uncover facts regarding the accident;
  • protect the client’s rights; and
  • try to lessen the client’s degree of fault.

A lawyer will also help account for and calculate all the damages, and push for the highest and fairest settlement.

Contacting Injury Attorneys in Des Moines

Pedestrians are expected to uphold traffic and safety rules, as are drivers. When it comes to proving who is at fault for an accident, it’s best to consult legal professions. The office of Walker, Billingsley & Bair handles these types of cases and our lawyers are available to provide free consultations to victims or their loved ones. Contact us today at (641) 792-3595 to set up your appointment; we can hear your explanation of the case and provide information on your best legal options.

Corey Walker
With 19 years legal experience, Corey has been recognized for his work as an injury attorney.