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Do Pedestrians Always Have The Right Of Way?

Posted by Harlene Labrum | Nov 04, 2022


Do Pedestrians Always Have The Right Of Way?

Pedestrian accidents can occur at four-way stops, when pedestrians are attempting to cross highways and in a number of other situations in which there may be confusion regarding who has the right of way at an intersection. Those who have been seriously injured in a pedestrian accident may wonder how they can hold the liable party accountable. However, before victims can move forward with their case, understanding whether they had the right of way is critical. An experienced Tennessee pedestrian accident lawyer at Labrum Law at (615) 338-9500 can help pedestrian accident victims determine how to approach their insurance and civil claims.

Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries

Pedestrians can endure devastating and life-threatening injuries when struck by motor vehicles. When pedestrians or drivers fail to adhere to right of way laws, pedestrians are at risk for critical injuries, some of which include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Head injuries and concussions
  • Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
  • Dismemberment, disfigurement, and skin scarring
  • Internal injuries and organ failure
  • Loss of limbs
  • Lacerations leading to sepsis
  • Contusions and abrasions
  • Compound fractures and broken bones
  • Pelvic injuries
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

These are only a few of the different types of injuries pedestrians can suffer when they are hit by motor vehicles. Pedestrian accident victims who have suffered other injuries that were not listed above may still be entitled to financial compensation.

Find out how much your case could be worth when you contact a pedestrian accident attorney at Labrum Law to discuss the specifics of your accident in further detail.

When Do Pedestrians Have the Right Of Way?

There are several situations in which pedestrians will have the right of way. Generally, pedestrians have the right of way in most intersections.

Drivers are required to provide a duty of care to pedestrians at all times. When drivers engage in unsafe driving practices, they can violate pedestrian right of way laws. Some examples of negligent driving that violate the pedestrian duty of care include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Failure to use a turn signal
  • Failure to adhere to traffic laws
  • Failure to yield to a pedestrian
  • Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Driving over the speed limit

When Pedestrians Do Not Have the Right Of Way

Although pedestrians may often have the right of way at intersections, there are many situations in which pedestrians do not have the right of way. It is important for pedestrians to adhere to the rules of traffic lights and stop signs, the same way drivers do.

Pedestrians who cross the middle of the street, jaywalk, or cross the street away from a crosswalk put themselves at risk for debilitating injuries. Pedestrians may also violate the right of way laws when they fail to adhere to traffic signals, enter roadways or intersections while distracted or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or enter traffic areas where pedestrians are typically prohibited.

It is important to note that pedestrians who share liability for their injuries may find that their compensation is reduced to account for their portion of fault under Tennessee modified comparative negligence laws.

Recovering Compensation In a Pedestrian Accident Case

Pedestrians who hope to recover compensation following their injuries will need to prove that someone else is responsible for causing their injuries and losses. The burden of proof in civil claims is based on a preponderance of the evidence. Victims will need to be prepared to present compelling evidence to prove someone else was negligent or engaged and misconduct that led to the pedestrian accident victim's injuries.

Some of the more powerful types of evidence used to prove liability in pedestrian accident claims include:

  • Video of the accident
  • Cell phone records
  • Photos of the victim's injuries
  • Photos of the accident scene
  • CCTV footage
  • Video from nearby businesses or homes
  • Medical records
  • Police and accident reports
  • Reports from accident reconstructionists
  • Chemical blood alcohol test results
  • Witness statements
  • Expert testimony

Recoverable Damages In a Pedestrian Accident Claim

Pedestrian accident victims may have the legal right to be made whole. Recoverable compensation in a pedestrian accident claim could include both economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages account for a victim's monetary losses while non-economic damages account for the ways their life has been impacted by their injuries and the accident itself.

Although no amount of compensation will adequately replace the losses of a pedestrian accident victim, it could have an impact on their financial burden in the future. Some of the more common types of damages awarded in pedestrian accident claims include:

  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Future medical treatment and care
  • Hospital bills and ambulance fees
  • Property damages
  • Loss of companionship and love
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of income
  • Disfigurement and skin scarring

Pedestrian accident victims may also be awarded punitive damages. The court system may award punitive damages in cases where they find the defendants actions egregious or grossly negligent. Punitive damages can be awarded as a way for the courts to send a message to the community that dangerous behavior will be severely punished.

Contact an Experienced Pedestrian Accident Lawyer in Tennessee To Learn More

Pedestrian accident victims who are interested in holding the liable party accountable can start working on their case by reaching out to an experienced Tennessee pedestrian accident lawyer at Labrum Law. Our firm proudly offers no-cost, risk-free consultations to pedestrian accident victims across the state of Tennessee. Call our office at (615) 338-9500 or complete our convenient contact form to schedule a no-cost, risk-free consultation today.

About the Author

Harlene Labrum

Harlene is focused and passionate about helping those injured in car wrecks.  She earned her J.D. at Nashville School of Law and her Bachelor's degree at State University of New York at Albany, awarded with the highest GPA and high honors.  Harlene began her career in law as a personal injury par...

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