When a car hits a pedestrian, the pedestrian can suffer catastrophic injuries. However, an accident doesn’t always mean the driver is at fault. The pedestrian might share some responsibility for the accident and their injuries if they violate pedestrian laws.
If you suffered injuries as a pedestrian, understanding your rights can help determine fault in the accident and how they may affect your compensation.
What Are the Rights of Pedestrians in Utah?
Traffic laws in Utah protect pedestrians from oncoming cars and promote situational awareness and road safety. The Utah Department of Public Safety outlines the laws pedestrians and drivers should follow when they share the road.
- Legal Definition of a Pedestrian
Pedestrians are people who are moving on foot or using a wheelchair. Unless an officer directs them, they must follow all pedestrian traffic signs and signals.
- Right of Way for Pedestrians
Drivers must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks on their side of the roadway. They must stop for pedestrians approaching fast from the opposite side of the road. The law also requires drivers to yield right-of-way for pedestrians on a sidewalk. When they reach a stop or yield sign, they must stop for pedestrians at crosswalks.
- Crosswalk Laws
A pedestrian can’t suddenly step off a curb or a place of safety and get in the way of a vehicle that’s close enough to pose an immediate hazard. A pedestrian crossing a street other than a marked or unmarked crosswalk must yield to cars. They can’t walk across an intersection without a traffic signal.
A highway authority may post a sign at an unmarked crosswalk prohibiting pedestrians from using it or requiring pedestrians to yield to vehicles.
- Pedestrians on the Road
Pedestrians must use the sidewalk if one is present. Otherwise, they can walk on the shoulder as far as possible from the road. They must walk on a roadway’s outer edge without a sidewalk or a shoulder. Pedestrians on two-way streets must walk on the left side.
Those under the influence of alcohol or drugs can only walk on sidewalks or sidewalk areas. A pedestrian cannot walk along the freeway unless there is an emergency.
The law also prohibits pedestrians from obstructing or blocking traffic on freeways, highways, interstate systems, and routes. This includes pedestrians aggressively soliciting money or goods from an occupant of a motor vehicle.
What Happens If a Pedestrian is at Fault for an Accident?
A pedestrian may share fault in an accident if they violate any of Utah’s pedestrian laws. The Department of Public Safety notes that jaywalking refers to crossing at any point other than a marked crosswalk at an intersection with traffic lights. Other violations can include:
- Walking across the street while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Talking on the phone or listening to music while crossing the street.
- Suddenly going near or close to a vehicle that can’t stop on time to prevent an accident.
- Traveling at a prohibited unmarked crosswalk.
Utah follows modified comparative negligence in which a party can only receive compensation if their percentage of fault is 50% or less. If a judge finds that a pedestrian crossed a prohibited unmarked crosswalk while on the phone, they may assign the pedestrian 50% or more of the fault. As a result, the pedestrian won’t receive any compensation.
How Your Lawyer Can Help Your Case
Hiring one of the Utah pedestrian accident lawyers from Great West Injury Law is critical after a collision with a vehicle. An accident lawyer uses evidence to develop a legal strategy to reduce your level of fault in a collision and increase your compensation.
They can use police reports, accident photos, surveillance footage, and witness testimonies to look for signs of your comparative fault. In addition, medical records and bills can show the severity of the injuries and the financial costs for medical treatment.
Based on this information, the lawyer can estimate your percentage of comparative fault to give you an idea of how much your claim might be worth. Your lawyer can then work on your behalf to protect your legal right to a fair settlement in court.
Get Legal Help After a Pedestrian Accident
Great West Injury Law has the skills and knowledge to represent injured pedestrians and reduce their percentage of comparative fault in an accident. We can answer questions about Utah’s pedestrian laws and explore your legal options. Contact our law office today to schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our lawyers.