UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Hitting a pedestrian with your vehicle can cause serious injuries. When you hit a pedestrian with your vehicle, will car insurance pay? Can a pedestrian ever be found ‘at fault’ for a collision with a vehicle?
Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about whether or not car insurance pays if you hit a pedestrian.
Liability Car Insurance Covers the Medical Costs of People You Injure
Every state in America requires you to have liability insurance. Liability insurance covers the medical expenses and other costs of anyone you injure on the road.
If you collide with another driver, for example, and the other driver needs to go to the hospital, then your car insurance will cover these medical bills.
Car insurance also covers other people you injure – like passengers in another vehicle or pedestrians you hit.
Every state requires you to have specific liability limits in order to legally drive on the road. In California, for example, drivers are required to have $15,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per person and $30,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per accident.
If you collide with two pedestrians and they each have $15,000 of medical bills and other expenses, then your car insurance will fully cover the costs incurred by these two pedestrians because of your negligence.
If you exceed your coverage limits, then you will need to pay for any remaining damages out of pocket.
Pedestrians Can Be Found At-Fault for Car Accidents
Just because you hit a pedestrian with your vehicle doesn’t mean you’re at-fault. In many cases, the pedestrian is found negligent for an accident, in which case your insurance company may not be required to pay any damages, nor will you be personally liable for those damages.
Everyone who uses a road is responsible for using due care. As a bicyclist, you cannot weave in between cars going twice as fast as you. As a pedestrian, you can’t jaywalk across a four-lane highway.
Some of the situations where a pedestrian may be found at-fault for a collision include:
- Walking on a roadway at night wearing dark clothing
- Jaywalking, or crossing in the middle of the street outside of a crosswalk
- Walking onto a highway while intoxicated
- Walking along bridges, overpasses, and other roads where pedestrians are prohibited
- Entering a crosswalk against the crossing signal (walking across when it says ‘Do Not Cross’, for example)
In all of these situations, a pedestrian could be found at-fault – or at least partially at-fault – for the collision.
As with conventional accidents, fault can be tricky to determine when you hit a pedestrian. Let’s say a pedestrian jaywalks in front of you in broad daylight. You have plenty of time to stop – but you were on your phone and speeding at the time, so you weren’t able to stop in time. In this case, you and the pedestrian may both be found at fault: fault could be split 50/50, similar to what would happen in a car accident.
If the pedestrian is found at-fault for the accident, and your insurance company chooses not to pursue the pedestrian financially, then you may be forced to pay your own deductible – or cover your own repair costs out of pocket if you don’t want to make a claim.
Can You Pursue Damages Against a Pedestrian?
If the pedestrian is at-fault for an accident, then your insurance company may go after the pedestrian for damages.
The insurance company – or yourself – may approach the pedestrian and ask for $5,000 in vehicle damage repair costs, for example.
There have even been cases where insurance companies go after the family of a dead pedestrian asking them to cover repair expenses for the vehicle.
Policies vary between insurance companies. Some insurance companies will refuse to go after the injured pedestrian (or the dead pedestrian’s family) after an accident, while others have no issues with it.
What Happens If I’m Hit by Someone While a Pedestrian?
If you’re hit by someone while a pedestrian, then your car insurance could cover certain damages. Assuming you have car insurance, your policy may provide personal injury protection (PIP), medical payments coverage, or even uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage (if the driver that hit you was uninsured).
Car insurance covers more than just vehicle-to-vehicle accidents. When you have car insurance, it can also protect you in the event of a vehicle-to-pedestrian collision.
Generally, car insurance will pay when you hit a pedestrian. Your car insurance may also cover you if you were hit as a pedestrian by a driver.
Your car insurance bodily injury liability coverage will cover any medical expenses incurred by the pedestrian you hit – assuming you were at-fault for the collision. If the pedestrian is at-fault or partially at-fault, however, then the pedestrian may actually owe you money for vehicle damages.