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Can highway car accidents with a pedestrian be a driver's fault?

The highways in and around Charleston are an important means of transporting goods and people throughout the area. While highways serve critical functions in many parts of the country, the higher speed limits on them can also lead to deadly car accidents.

Cars, SUVs and commercial trucks constantly stream through highways at seemingly all hours of every day. But pedestrians are a less common sight on highways. Given the nature of highway travel, can an auto accident involving a pedestrian ever result in legal liability for the driver?

Under some circumstances, an injured pedestrian or his or her family may have a valid legal claim for accident damages against a driver, even if the accident occurred on a highway. Although most highways do not have sidewalks or any other areas nearby that would allow for pedestrian traffic, pedestrians may still be on the highway for certain reasons.

For example, if a person's own vehicle has a mechanical problem, the person may have to pull over and walk or stand on the shoulder of the highway to get help. Likewise, the person may have to do something to the vehicle, like changing a flat tire, that would put him or her outside of the vehicle and more exposed to passing highway traffic. Furthermore, a pedestrian could be on or near the highway trying to help others who were involved in an earlier crash.

Although pedestrians are not usually on a highway, there are situations where other drivers could expect to find a pedestrian in the area. When these situations unfold, the people in other vehicles have a legal duty to take reasonable steps to avoid injuring the pedestrian. Like any other scenario on the roadways, this means that drivers always have to pay attention and be prepared to react accordingly.

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Charleston, WV 25301

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