You might think that you can’t get into that much trouble just going for a walk – but it happens all the time. Pedestrians are actually in unique danger from distracted or neglectful drivers whenever they’re forced to walk on the road, even at crosswalks.
If national trends hold true, hundreds of pedestrians in this state will end up injured in collisions with motor vehicles and some will be killed. That makes it particularly important to understand both your level of risk and your rights.
What protection does Kentucky law offer pedestrians?
Some pedestrians are in more danger than others. Children (who often don’t have strong impulse control and lack adult judgment-making skills) are especially vulnerable, but so are older people (who may not ambulate quickly) and people in low-income areas where there are fewer marked crosswalks and sidewalks.
However, Kentucky is a right-of-way state. This means that drivers in vehicles are always expected to yield to pedestrians when:
- ● The pedestrian is on a sidewalk
- ● The pedestrian is in a marked crosswalk
- ● The pedestrian is crossing an intersection (even without a light)
In turn, pedestrians are expected to use sidewalks when they are present, keep to the shoulder of the road when they aren’t, avoid crossing roads except at intersections, not walk while impaired by drugs or alcohol and use tunnels or overhead crossings when available.
As a general rule, it’s always wise to make sure that you travel in a group (which increases your visibility) when possible, and pedestrians walking at night should always wear reflective clothing.
If a pedestrian does get hurt, can they claim compensation?
Even if you’re the most responsible pedestrian ever, you may not be able to keep yourself entirely safe. All it takes is a moment of inattention on a driver’s part to end up in a wreck.
If the driver violated Kentucky’s right-of-way law, you can most assuredly hold them responsible for your injuries. But, what if you made a mistake, too? Well, Kentucky’s pure comparative negligence rule means that as you weren’t 100% at fault for your own injuries, you can still collect damages according to each party’s fair share of the liability.
In other words, if you were 30% at fault for the accident and your injuries were worth $100,000, you could still hold the driver liable for 70% of that total, or $70,000.
If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident, don’t assume that you can’t recover any of your losses. Legal guidance can help you maximize your claim.