Impact of Traffic Laws on DC Pedestrian Accidents

If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident case, the following is what you need to know regarding traffic laws in Washington, DC and how they could potentially impact your injury claim. To learn more, call and schedule a consultation with a DC pedestrian accident lawyer today.

How Traffic Laws Apply to Pedestrians

In the District of Columbia, there are municipal regulations which control the manner in which a pedestrian crosses the street. The laws that apply to pedestrians are slightly different than those that apply to cars, but equally as important. This means that a pedestrian should comply with the rules of the road that govern the manner in which they cross the road.

How Are Traffic Laws Different For Pedestrians?

The traffic laws that apply to pedestrians are fairly specific about the manner in which the pedestrians cross the street. The majority of the laws governing pedestrians deal with the use of a crosswalk. These rules also prohibit crossing the street outside of crosswalks, such as in the middle of the block. The rules even go so far as to say that if a pedestrian crosses the street in the middle of the block or in some other location besides a crosswalk, he or she must yield the right-of-way to traffic.

A lot of pedestrians may believe that a pedestrian always has the right-of-way. Unfortunately for that pedestrian, the law in the District of Columbia disagrees. The law requires pedestrians to conform to D.C. municipal regulations regarding pedestrian traffic. These municipal regulations place duties on both pedestrians and the operators of motor vehicles equally.

Importance of Following Traffic Laws

Traffic laws are designed to keep both pedestrians and the drivers of vehicles safe, while keeping traffic moving.  Thus, it is important for everyone to follow the traffic laws so that everyone can traverse the streets in the safest way possible.

It is also important to follow the traffic laws because if a pedestrian is struck and injured, he or she may initiate a claim against the at-fault driver.  Here, in the District of Columbia, the pedestrian’s claim may be barred due to contributory negligence.  Contributory negligence is a legal defense that allows the at-fault driver to escape culpability if he or she is able to convince the judge or jury that the injured pedestrian either contributed to his or her injuries or assumed the risk of the injuries.  The way an at-fault party can present evidence of contributory negligence is through the violation of a particular code section, such as the one requiring pedestrians to cross in the crosswalk.  This means that even if the driver of a vehicle is 99% at-fault for the collision, and the pedestrian may be severely injured or even killed, if the jury believes that the pedestrian were even just 1% at fault, the pedestrian’s claim is barred from recovery.  So, with this scenario in mind, pedestrians should understand how important it is for them to follow the rules of the road.