What Are the Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?

Pedestrian Walking on Zebra Crossing

Pedestrian accidents can result in devastating injuries that dramatically impact victims’ lives. If you or a member of your close family has suffered an injury in a pedestrian crash that was someone else’s fault, a lawyer can explain your legal rights and options. Consulting an experienced pedestrian accident attorney can determine the best path forward for seeking the compensation you deserve.

While there are many potential causes of pedestrian collisions, some factors contribute to these incidents more often than others.

Let’s explore the most common reasons vehicles might strike pedestrians and how the negligence of drivers, property owners, and other parties frequently plays a role. If any of these scenarios sound familiar, speak with a skilled pedestrian accident lawyer about your case.

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Texting while DrivingOne of the leading causes of pedestrian accidents today is distracted driving. Despite laws prohibiting texting, checking email, and other dangerous behaviors behind the wheel, far too many motorists continue to let their attention wander from the road.

Looking away for even a few seconds is enough time to miss spotting a pedestrian crossing the street or walking along the side of the road.

Distractions can take many forms, including:

  • Using a cell phone for any purpose
  • Eating or drinking
  • Adjusting vehicle controls like the radio or GPS
  • Grooming or applying makeup
  • Conversing with passengers
  • Tending to children or pets
  • Daydreaming or being lost in thought

Any activity that diverts a driver’s eyes, hands, or mental focus from operating their vehicle safely is considered a distraction.

Pedestrians are especially vulnerable to distracted drivers because they are smaller and easier to overlook than other cars, trucks, and objects on the road. Distraction also slows reaction time, making it harder to brake or swerve in time to avoid a collision.

If you suspect the driver who hit you was distracted, an attorney can help gather evidence to prove this negligent behavior. Cell phone records, surveillance video footage, and eyewitness testimony may be used to show the driver was engaged in non-driving activities at the time of the crash.

A pedestrian accident lawyer will know what proof is needed to establish fault for your injuries.


Excessive speed is a factor in a significant number of pedestrian accidents. The faster a vehicle travels, the less time the driver has to see and react to a pedestrian on their path. Speed also increases the force of impact and severity of injuries if a collision does occur.

Reckless actions like weaving in and out of lanes, tailgating, ignoring traffic signals, and road rage can also endanger pedestrians.

An aggressive driver is less likely to be on the lookout for people on foot and more likely to lose control of their vehicle. They may drift onto the shoulder, jump the curb, or veer across the center line—all mistakes that can put pedestrians directly in harm’s way.


Drunk man driving a CarDespite decades of public awareness campaigns about the dangers of drunk driving, intoxicated motorists remain a serious threat to pedestrian safety.

Alcohol and drugs – including some prescription and over-the-counter medications – can impair skills that are essential for safe driving, such as:

  • Vision and perception
  • Judgment and decision-making
  • Coordination and reaction time
  • Ability to divide attention between tasks
  • Memory and information processing

An impaired driver may have trouble staying in their lane, maintaining a consistent speed, and responding to unexpected situations. They are also more likely to engage in other risky behaviors like speeding or running red lights. All of these effects make intoxicated drivers extremely hazardous to pedestrians.

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is not only dangerous but also illegal. If an intoxicated driver caused your pedestrian accident injuries, they may face criminal charges in addition to civil liability.

However, criminal proceedings are separate from an injury claim handled by a pedestrian accident attorney. You need your own lawyer advocating for your right to compensation, regardless of whether the at-fault party is prosecuted or convicted.


Drivers are legally required to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in many situations, such as:

  • At marked crosswalks and intersections
  • When turning at a green light or arrow
  • Before entering or exiting an alley, driveway, or parking lot
  • When a pedestrian is already in the roadway
  • Anytime a pedestrian has a “Walk” signal at a crossing

Unfortunately, many motorists ignore or forget these rules. They may be in a hurry, assume they have the right-of-way, or simply fail to check for pedestrians before proceeding. As a result, they strike people who are legally crossing the street or otherwise have the right to be where they are.

Establishing that a driver failed to yield the right-of-way is a key element in many pedestrian accident claims. It can show the driver was negligent and, therefore, liable for the pedestrian’s injuries.

A pedestrian accident lawyer can investigate the circumstances of your crash and gather evidence, such as traffic camera footage, police reports, and statements from witnesses, to prove the driver did not properly yield.


Regardless of the specific factors involved, a vehicle accident often leads to severe injuries, costly medical bills, and other significant losses. If you or someone you love suffered an injury in a pedestrian accident that was someone else’s fault, you shouldn’t have to bear these burdens alone.

Consulting a knowledgeable pedestrian accident attorney is the first step toward protecting your rights and seeking the compensation you deserve. A lawyer can thoroughly investigate your case, identify all liable parties, and develop a customized strategy for maximizing your financial recovery.

Don’t wait any longer to get the legal advocacy you need after a devastating pedestrian crash. Contact a pedestrian accident lawyer near you today for a free consultation. A pedestrian accident attorney can listen to your story, explain your options, and fight for the justice you deserve.

Seek a free consultation with a reputable personal injury law firm in Columbia today.