When Are Pedestrians at Fault for Car Accidents? 

When Are Pedestrians at Fault for Car Accidents? 


Last year, 76 pedestrians died in traffic crashes in Colorado. Many people assume that the driver is automatically responsible for these accidents, but that is not always true. There might be instances where the pedestrian is responsible or both parties are partially liable for the collision. If you were involved in a pedestrian accident, contact the Mintz Law Firm. Our attorneys will launch a thorough investigation into the incident to help determine if the pedestrian was partly responsible for an accident, and we will help you obtain compensation for your accident-related expenses. 

Drivers and Pedestrians Have the Same Duty of Care 

Both drivers and pedestrians have to exercise reasonable care for the safety of those around them. If either party fails to act responsibly, they may be liable for any accidents that result from their conduct. 

Under Colorado law, a person has a duty of care when they have the power and ability to take necessary actions to protect another from harm. You do not have a duty to intervene when someone puts others at risk, but you have a reasonable obligation to avoid acting in a way that endangers others. This duty applies to drivers and pedestrians equally. 

How Pedestrians Might Cause an Accident 

There are various ways a pedestrian could be fully or partially responsible for an accident with a motor vehicle. Some instances include: 

  • Jaywalking 
  • Failing to look before crossing the street
  • Entering the crosswalk when traffic signals indicate to wait
  • Walking on a street while intoxicated 
  • Intentionally throwing items onto the street
  • Darting into the street to retrieve something 
  • Being distracted by their cell phone 

For example, a pedestrian may be at fault if they walk into oncoming traffic and drivers cannot avoid them. Additionally, if the driver can avoid hitting the pedestrian but hits parked vehicles instead, the pedestrian still might be responsible. 

Colorado Traffic Laws That Apply to Pedestrians 

It is essential to know that a majority of Colorado traffic laws also apply to pedestrians. They must obey all traffic signs and signals. Additionally, pedestrians may only cross in designated crosswalks. Not doing so may result in an infraction with a fine of up to $100 plus fees under statute 42-8-403. 

However, pedestrians will most likely always have the right of way at crosswalks. For example, say four cars were at a four-way stop sign. Typically, the vehicles would take turns based on who arrived first. When a pedestrian is looking to cross, they will always have the right of way, but they still must exercise caution and wait until it is their turn to cross. 

Comparative Negligence Will Most Likely Come into Play 

In most auto accidents, both parties are responsible for the collision occurring. When this happens in Colorado, courts follow comparative negligence rules. Comparative negligence adjusts your compensation based on how responsible you were for the accident. For example, if a court determines you were 30% liable for the collision, you can receive up to 70% of your damages. 

Remember, Colorado follows modified comparative negligence. This means that if a court finds you more than 50% responsible for the accident, you cannot receive compensation for your injuries or damages. Having an attorney on your side will be beneficial, especially since most courts side with the pedestrian. 

Contact an Experienced Colorado Car Accident Attorney 

If you were in a motor vehicle accident with a pedestrian, you should speak to an auto accident attorney right away. If their negligence caused the accident, it is not fair for you to pay the price. At the Mintz Law Firm, we will launch a thorough investigation into the accident by interviewing witnesses and reviewing video footage to determine who was responsible. When you partner with us, you can be confident that we will do everything to protect your best interests at all times. To schedule a free consultation, call (303) 462-2999 or complete our online contact form

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