Just like drivers, pedestrians have an obligation to follow the rules of the road. These rules are designed to keep everyone as safe as possible – drivers, passengers and pedestrians included – and they apply regardless of an individual’s knowledge or ability.
Pedestrian Rules of the Road in Colorado
For pedestrians, two of the major rules that apply are: (i) pedestrians must always cross the street at designated crosswalks, and (ii) pedestrians must wait their turn to cross at intersections controlled by traffic signals. When crossing outside of a crosswalk (jaywalking) or crossing without the right of way, the risk of being injured in an accident can increase significantly.
The reason for this is simple: Drivers know (or should know) to look for pedestrians at crosswalks and controlled intersections – especially in cities like Denver where walking is a way of life for many people. They should know to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, and they should know to look for pedestrians before turning right on red. When a driver encounters a pedestrian unexpectedly, he or she still has a legal obligation to do everything possible to avoid a collision; but, due to the circumstances involved, his or her options for avoiding a collision may be limited.
Your Rights After a Pedestrian Accident Involving Shared Liability
As another general rule, drivers are liable for any injuries they cause. If a driver hits someone else, either a pedestrian or another motorist, then the driver (or, more commonly, his or her insurance company) must pay for all damages resulting from the driver’s negligence. However, there is one major exception to this rule: This exception applies in cases involving “contributory negligence.”
Colorado’s Contributory Negligence Law
Colorado’s contributory negligence law states that if an accident victim is 50 percent or more at fault for his or her own injuries, then the victim cannot recover any financial compensation. If the victim is anywhere from 1 percent to 49 percent at fault, then his or her financial recovery will be reduced in proportion to his or her percentage of fault. So, for example, if the evidence suggests that a pedestrian was 25 percent at fault in an accident, then the pedestrian’s financial recovery will be limited to 75 percent of his or her total losses.
When is a Pedestrian “Contributorily Negligent”?
Is a pedestrian who jaywalks or crosses on red “contributorily negligent”? Maybe. In all cases, determining a person’s legal rights after a pedestrian accident requires a prompt and thorough investigation of all of the facts and circumstances involved. While it is possible that a pedestrian could be deemed partially at fault for crossing outside of a crosswalk, it is also entirely possible that there was a justification for his or her decision and that the driver involved in the accident was being so careless that he or she deserves to be held fully responsible.
Discuss Your Legal Rights with a Denver Personal Injury Lawyer
If you were injured in a pedestrian accident in downtown Denver or anywhere else in the Denver area, we encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation about your legal rights. To find out if you are entitled to a financial recovery, call 303-333-8000 or inquire online today.