A pedestrian getting hit by a vehicle is a tragic situation that in a lot of cases could have been avoided by more attentive driving by the person in the vehicle. Yet, at what point can the pedestrian be held at fault in a civil claim? At PMM law, we have handled many cases where pedestrians were injured severely while walking down the road or crossing it. It’s important to know when to cross the road, and what level protections you have.
The first thing to look at is New Hampshire’s Pedestrian Right of Way statute, titled RSA 265:35. A car is required to yield to any pedestrian in a crosswalk. That part seems well understood and obvious.
What many people don’t always understand is that a pedestrian, under the statute, must yield to cars in the road in the absence of a crosswalk. A lot of folks believe the reverse is true, and that a pedestrian always has the right of way. While we agree a car should always be on the lookout for pedestrians, the liability of a driver may depend on other factors. For example, if a pedestrian is hit and there is no crosswalk, we look to other rules of the road like speeding, crossing the middle yellow lines, or crossing the fog lines on the side of the road. These rules of the road violations can establish liability on the part of the driver of the vehicle, even without a crosswalk.
As always, if you are approaching a busy intersection as a pedestrian, please use caution. No one wants to be hit by a car in what can amount to a life threatening experience. On the other side, if you are operating a car around a heavily populated area, you must be aware of any and all crosswalks around you, and caution in approaching them must be exercised. This is why speed limits in downtown areas are normally much lower, as they anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic.
If you have been injured, our attorneys have handled thousands of personal injury cases since we opened. We can help ensure your case is handled with compassion and care. Contact us today if you need our help.