Injury Settlements for Pedestrian Hit by a Car

Every year thousands of pedestrians are hit by a car.

According to U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2013 a pedestrian was killed every 2 hours and injured every 8 minutes in an auto accident [1].

If you’ve been involved in a pedestrian accident you should know the most important details that will help you maximize your settlement amount.

In the following, we’ll cover….

What are the Rights and Duties of Pedestrians?
When is the Driver at Fault? 
When is the Pedestrian at Fault?
Can Both Driver and Pedestrian Be At Fault?
How Do You Receive a Settlement if You Were Hit By a Car?
What are Key Factors for Pedestrian Injury Settlements
Who Pays for Pedestrian Car Injuries?

Let’s get started…

What are the Rights and Duties of Pedestrians?

Just like drivers, every pedestrian has certain rights and duties on the road:

Pedestrian Rights:

Pedestrians are generally entitled to right of way:

    • At marked crosswalks.
    • On all sidewalks.
    • On all public roadways including highways.

Pedestrian Duties:

    • Must follow all traffic conventions and signals in the same way that drivers are.
    • Even if they have right of way, they need to be vigilant and act responsibly. They should not assume that drivers will see them and stop.
    • If a pedestrian is walking in an area with sidewalks they should stay on them.
    • Pedestrians are to stay off any toll bridges or highway crossing unless there are signs indicating it is okay.

When is the Driver at Fault?

If a driver violates their “reasonable duty of care” (the obligation to drive in a manner that reasonably accounts for others safety) they are going to be at fault almost 100% of the time.

Examples of unsafe driver behavior includes:

    • Distracted ex: talking on cell phones, changing radio station, applying makeup, dealing with kids
    • Speeding
    • Failure to follow traffic signs : stop sign, yielding

Lawmakers have been tightening laws in which drivers must yield or stop for pedestrians as a result of the uptick of recent deaths [2].

A driver may have even been driving in a relatively safe manner, but there is a bias to assign fault to a driver in these scenarios. Why? Because of the unequal nature of these accidents.

A pedestrian stands a good chance of being seriously injured or killed when colliding with a car. So this is why drivers owe pedestrians a greater duty of care.

When is the Pedestrian at Fault?

Many people assume that drivers are always at fault in pedestrian car accidents. While this is often true, it’s not a hard rule.

If a pedestrian acts in an unpredictable or unsafe manner (where a driver exercising normal caution could not avoid hitting them) the fault will likely be found with the pedestrian.

Examples of unsafe pedestrian behavior includes:

    • Jaywalking
    • Ignoring traffic signals
    • Walking in an area where pedestrian access is prohibited
    • Child running into the street after a ball
    • Walking on highways

In many of these cases the fault is going to lie with the pedestrian.

Can Both Driver and Pedestrian Be At Fault?

In certain situations the actions of both the pedestrian and driver contribute to the accident. In these cases, a court will be required to assign a percentage of blame to each party.

For example, the driver could be found to be 70% at fault for the accident while the pedestrian hit by the car 30% at fault.

Depending on which state you are in this could mean a percentage split in paying for the damages or it could mean whichever party was above 50% responsible being required to cover full damages. This difference is known as “contributory negligence” or “comparative negligence”.

How Do You Receive a Settlement if You Were Hit By a Car ?

If you are hit by a car, the process for getting a settlement is the same as if the collision was between two vehicles. At the car accident scene you should:

    • Note the driver’s insurance and contact information
    • Write down contact information of any witnesses
    • Contact driver’s insurance company and start the accident claim

You should also immediately see a doctor to document your injuries.

To get a high injury settlement, you need to show that the driver had some elements of negligence. To show negligence you need to gather evidence.

You should gather the following evidence::

    • Testimony of witnesses
    • Photographs/videos of the car accident scene
  • Medical reports and bills of your injuries

Providing this information will allow the insurance company or court to determine how much your claim is worth.

What are the Pedestrian Settlement Amount Key Factors

One of the first things people consider when approaching a pedestrian accident injury claim is “how much is my claim worth?”

The exact figure varies for each accident but there are some critical factors that go into determining settlement amounts. This includes:

    • The extent and severity of your injuries – injuries causing permanent pain or discomfort will be compensated the most highly.
    • The number of missed days from work and/or loss of earning potential.
    • The nature and scope of your medical treatment – are you required to have surgery? See a specialist? Etc.
    • If fault is very clear this can increase the pedestrians settlement amount. If fault is unclear it can have decrease the amount.
    • Pain and suffering – impact on your daily life as a result of the accident, i.e., your physical and emotional distress.

Who Pays for Pedestrian Car Accident Injuries?

How you are compensated for you are hit by a car depends on the circumstances of your accident, the degrees of fault, and what insurance coverage or assets the other party has.

Almost all states require drivers to have some form of auto insurance, and many states require that drivers carry uninsured motorists coverage (UIM). The result of UIM being in play is that even if the motorist who caused the accident has little or no coverage your insurance company will step in and cover any differences.

If you live in a “no-fault” state your insurance company will be required to pay your damages regardless of who caused the accident (up to a certain limit).

If a pedestrian has personal health insurance, this will probably be the first party to step up and pay medical bills. It’s then up to the insurance company to seek reimbursement from the responsible person or insurance carrier.

If a pedestrian accident occurs while you are working you may be able to receive settlement through a workers compensation claim.


Pedestrian car accidents can be extremely serious and life-changing for both driver and the person hit by the car. Resulting claims can have very high stakes and be extremely stressful. Just remember to keep the basics in mind:

    • Pedestrians often have the right of way, but they also have duties and must act with common sense.
    • Drivers are not automatically at fault. Pedestrians can cause the accident too. Sometimes both parties share the blame.
    • To get compensation, contact driver’s insurance company and file accident claim.
    • The value of a pedestrian car settlement amount will depend on economic losses (medical bills, lost work) and physical and emotional pain, etc).
    • Most common sources of compensation will be UIM coverage, the other parties carrier, your own auto insurance or personal healthcare plan.


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