Holding Drivers Responsible in Motor Vehicle v. Pedestrian Cases

by Mike Myers on September 14, 2014

Sad news in Bellingham:

A 60-year-old man was struck by a car and killed Friday shortly after 7 p.m. as he used his walker to cross Alabama Street, according to a police. The man was walking slightly behind his woman companion as they headed to a bus stop near Racine Street.

Drivers almost always try to blame it on the pedestrian. Fortunately the law comes down in favor of pedestrians. According to Washington courts:

The right-of-way protection afforded a pedestrian in a crosswalk is an exceedingly strong one, and a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk has the right to rely on this protection and to assume that automobile drivers will respect it.

[A pedestrian in a crosswalk] has the right to assume that operators of approaching vehicles will obey the law and yield the right of way until he knows or should know to the contrary.’

One of the most common fall-back positions is that the sun was in the driver’s eyes. Washington law has rejected this defense:

Reduced visibility doesn’t lessen the protection of the crosswalk but gives rise to greater vigilance on the part of driver. Conditions causing reduced visibility do not lessen the protection given to pedestrians in crosswalks.

Pedestrian cases seem pretty straightforward. But drivers always try to skirt responsibility. It’s important to hire an attorney right away to make sure these defenses are defeated and the insurance company pays fair value to the pedestrian or pedestrian’s family.

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