Pedestrian Duty of Care

by Mark Stanley Brumbaugh on May. 20, 2019

Accident & Injury 

Summary: What you should know if hit by a car while on foot.

Pedestrian Collisions

A pedestrian is defined by the Washington statutes as anyone who is on foot or in a wheelchair or using any other means of moving other than a bicycle. Unfortunately, pedestrians are injured frequently by oncoming vehicles. There are several things to keep in mind which can help you avoid injuries when you cross the street. However, if you are a pedestrian who was struck and injured by an automobile, the attorneys at Walstead Mertsching, P.S., may be able to help.

Generally, pedestrians must exercise reasonable care for their own safety while crossing the road. The amount of care pedestrians need to exercise depends on the situation, but pedestrians usually have a duty to keep a lookout for danger as an ordinarily careful person would.  Pedestrians also have to be aware of street and highway signs that affect the area where they are crossing.

It is always best to cross in a marked or unmarked crosswalk. Marked crosswalks have markings that designate where pedestrians should cross, these are what you usually see at an intersection. An unmarked crosswalk exists at the corner of any intersection along where you might expect a marked crosswalk to be. Unmarked crosswalks do not exist diagonally across intersections. If you cross in a marked or unmarked crosswalk with a green light or walk signal, you have the right of way over oncoming vehicles. When using a crosswalk, you generally have a duty to check for oncoming vehicles before entering the crosswalk. You also have a duty not to run or walk into the path of an oncoming vehicle which is too close to be able to yield. 

If you cross somewhere other than a marked or unmarked crosswalk, such as in the middle of a block, you have a duty to yield to oncoming vehicles. Your duty to take reasonable care is heightened if you cross somewhere other than a crosswalk. If you are not in a crosswalk, oncoming vehicles have the right of way and you must exercise a greater degree of care in watching for danger while you cross.

If you were injured by a vehicle while crossing the street and want to discuss your options, contact one of our personal injury attorneys at Walstead Mertsching, P.S. for a free consultation.

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