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Learn who’s at fault in a pedestrian vs car accident – CTP Claims

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Please note that this post was written for Queensland audiences and the information within may not apply to other regions.

Pedestrians are vulnerable road users largely due to their lack of protection – unlike passengers in a vehicle, they’re not protected by a hard shell, seatbelts and airbags.

And if you’re involved in a collision with a vehicle as a pedestrian, you’re generally considered the party with a greater risk of injury or death because of this lack of protection.

Pedestrian accident CTP claims can include situations like:

  • Being hit by a vehicle while crossing the road (whether at a marked pedestrian crossing or traffic light or not)
  • Hit by a vehicle walking on the footpath
  • Or being injured by a vehicle backing out of a driveway

Injuries a pedestrian is likely to suffer may include severe head trauma, broken bones, and spinal cord injuries, and even death.

The question that remains is: who is at fault in a pedestrian vs car accident?

What are the causes of pedestrian crashes?

Everyone using the road has a shared responsibility to use it properly and respectfully.

When it comes to pedestrian behaviour increasing the likelihood of crashes, injury and death, intoxication is a clear risk factor. In fact, it’s previously been estimated that the proportion of pedestrian deaths involving intoxicated pedestrians (i.e., BAC over 0.5) in Australia is in the range of 30-45 per cent.

Studies also suggest pedestrians are also often distracted with their heads down looking at their mobile phones when crossing the street. Read more about how mobile phones are a growing road safety threat.

As we learn growing up as children, it’s important to never assume a driver or rider has seen you and you should always look left and right before crossing a road. But even when pedestrians are careful, accidents still happen, and more often than not because of driver distraction, intoxication or speeding.

Research shows that one of the main factors of pedestrian crashes is a lack of understanding about the impacts of driving at inappropriate speeds in environments with vulnerable road users.

Vehicle speed is a key risk factor for pedestrian injuries and death. In fact, it’s estimated for every 1km/h increase in speed, the number of injury crashes rises by around three per cent. Read more about the role of speed on car crashes and injuries.

Who is considered a pedestrian?

A pedestrian is classified as those on foot whether walking or running, and those on wheeled devices like wheelchairs or motorised mobility devices, and roller skates, skateboards or pushing a bicycle.

Determining fault in a pedestrian v car accident and CTP Claims

With all of this in mind, how do you determine who was at fault for the pedestrian accident? And who can claim car accident compensation?

Determining fault is key to understanding whether you can make a claim or not. And as discussed above, both pedestrians and drivers of vehicles can be at fault in a motor vehicle accident.

For example, if you are a pedestrian who breaks specific road rules or fails to take reasonable care and caution to avoid an accident, you may be considered at fault and not be able to make a claim.

However, in most cases, the driver of the vehicle in question is seen to be the party at fault, or at least partly responsible – even when pedestrians jaywalk.

Road rules state that pedestrians have right of way in most circumstances and if you’re turning into a road and there are pedestrians on or entering that road including in shared zones or slip lanes (whether legally or not), you are required to give way. The same, of course, goes for pedestrians crossing at zebra crossings, when they have the green man at a traffic light and when in a declared “shared zone”.

It is also possible for both the pedestrian and driver of the vehicle to be at fault, in which case a claim may still be made, but the amount of compensation you receive will be reduced for “contributory negligence”.

Though it’s important to note that in most pedestrian accident claims, the vehicle is likely to be at least partially responsible – because essentially, a vehicle must always give way to a pedestrian.

Read more things you should know about CTP claims and common myths about car accident claims.

You can also read an Over of the Queensland CTP Claims Process here