Pedestrian Accidents: Rights and Remedies

  • Personal Injury
November 22, 2023

In a landscape increasingly designed around cars, pedestrians are often vulnerable. With no protection against the thousands of pounds of metal and plastic that can strike them at high speeds, it is unsurprising that pedestrians account for a disproportionately high number of serious injuries and fatalities resulting from traffic accidents every year.

If you are a pedestrian who has been injured by a motorist, you may be wondering what are your rights and potential remedies.

Determining Fault

When a car strikes a pedestrian, the pedestrian is obviously more likely to suffer serious injuries than the driver, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the driver was at fault. Determining fault will depend on whether one or both parties behaved negligently during the accident.

For example, if a pedestrian is crossing the street at a crosswalk at the appropriate time (i.e., the light is red or there is a “walk” signal), and a driver runs the red light and hits the pedestrian, the driver is clearly at fault. The pedestrian was doing nothing wrong and shares none of the blame.

On the other hand, if the pedestrian was crossing the street illegally at the time, the situation is more complicated because the pedestrian is partly or wholly to blame. If the driver had an opportunity to avoid hitting the pedestrian but failed to do so because they were distracted (looking at their phone, for example), then both parties are partly to blame.

In Colorado, if a judge or jury determines that a plaintiff is 50% or more responsible for their injuries, they cannot recover damages. So, if a pedestrian walks directly in front of a moving car and the driver has no real chance to stop before hitting them, the pedestrian probably does not have a case.


As suggested above, pedestrians who have been hit by a car may have a legal claim against the driver for negligence.  If the driver failed to exercise reasonable care and this failure caused the pedestrian’s injuries, the pedestrian will be able to recover compensation for the injuries that they’ve suffered from the driver’s auto insurer.

This compensation isn’t limited to just the pedestrian’s immediate medical bills. For example, if the pedestrian’s leg is broken and they can’t work for 8 weeks, they can recover their lost wages.  In addition, the injured pedestrian will be entitled to compensation for their pain and suffering, inconvenience, emotional stress, and impairment of the quality of life as well as future medical expenses. And if the pedestrian is seriously injured, they will be entitled to damages associated with their physical impairment and disfigurement.

If you are a pedestrian injured in a traffic accident, it is important to gather as much information as possible at the scene of the accident (if you are physically able, that is). This includes the driver’s information, names and contact information of witnesses, photos, etc. It’s also important to seek medical treatment; remember that it is common for injuries to take hours, days, or even weeks to manifest fully.  Don’t let that stop you from seeking the care you need.

Speak to a Personal Injury Attorney

If you are injured by a driver with car insurance, and the driver was at fault, their insurance company will compensate you for the injuries. However, insurance companies naturally want to settle cases quickly and as cheaply as possible. It is generally in your best interest to have assistance from an attorney throughout the process. Plaintiffs with lawyers usually recover more money and have less stress because they can let the lawyer negotiate for them.

Our legal team has years of experience handling personal injury cases, including pedestrian accidents. We can work with you to reach a fair settlement with the insurance company or take your case all the way to trial if necessary.

Contact our office to schedule a free consultation.

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