In Colorado, car accidents involving pedestrians are becoming more common and can often result in serious injury or death. In 2019, the Colorado Department of Transportation (“CDOT”) reported 76 pedestrian deaths, which represented 13% of all Colorado roadway fatalities. This number nearly doubled in one decade. Colorado counties with the most reported pedestrian deaths include El Paso County, Denver County, Adams County, Jefferson County and Arapahoe County, as compared to the counites with the lowest reported pedestrian deaths which include Larimer County, Weld County, Pueblo County, Delta County, Garfield County, Montezuma County and Pitkin County.
When is a Pedestrian Liable?
In most circumstances, a pedestrian has the right of way. However, depending on the situation, the pedestrian can be held responsible for a car accident when they break the law or behave in negligent manner. Examples include:
- Crossing a street in an area other than the crosswalk
- Not following a traffic signal designated for pedestrians
- Walking on a road where pedestrians are not allowed; and
- Darting in front a car without giving the driver enough time to stop
Much like when a driver is found to have caused an accident, if a pedestrian causes an accident, they are responsible for the harms and losses they cause. This means they are not only responsible for their own medical bills for injuries they suffer, but for those of the injured driver who struck them.
In Colorado, a party injured by another is entitled to compensation for their losses so long as they are not more than 50% at fault. Said another way, the injured party can recover so long as their actions did not contribute more than 50% to the accident. However, when contributory fault is assessed against the injured party, the injured party’s compensation is then be reduced by their share of contributory negligence.
For example, in the case of the pedestrian under the influence who is struck by a texting driver, the insurance adjuster may find the pedestrian was 60% at fault and the car driver to be 40% at fault. Since the driver was found to be 40% at fault, their compensation from the insurance company will be reduced by 40%.
What Damages are Recoverable in Auto vs. Pedestrian Accident?
In Colorado, there are three primary categories of recognized damages to compensate a person injured in an accident:
- Economic Damages: any financial losses you incur as a result of a trucking accident. Most commonly, these damages include medical bills and lost wages. These damages can encompass both past and future losses.
- Non-Economic Damages: non-monetary losses related to an injury such as physical and emotional distress, pain and suffering, grief, anxiety, frustration and loss of enjoyment of life. In Colorado, these damages are subject to a cap in personal injury cases.
- Physical Impairment: Impairments to the body, such as cosmetic disfigurement, neurological damage, and other impairments.
- Punitive Damages: In certain circumstances, punitive damages may be awarded against a truck driver and/or trucking company whose conduct is attended by circumstances of fraud, malice, or willful and wanton conduct. Punitive damages act to punish the truck driver and/or trucking company and must be accompanied by facts to support the truck driver and/or trucking company recognized their conduct as dangerous and with disregard for the rights and safety of other. Punitive damages in Colorado, like in most states, are subject to a cap in personal injury cases.
Tips for Pedestrians to Avoid Car Accidents
The following is a non-exhaustive list of ways pedestrians can avoid being involved in a car accident:
- Always use crosswalks and obey the crosswalk signals, walking only when the “Walk” or the “Walking Man” is illuminated.
- Avoid distractions while walking across streets and intersections. This includes avoiding eating or drinking while walking, and using your cell phone, iPod, or other handheld devices that can detract your attention from the roadway.
- Make eye contact and/or nod when encountering a driver in a roadway or intersection. This alerts not only you but also the driver of your presence.
- If crossing a roadway or intersection at night, pedestrians should remember they are harder to see at night and exercise additional caution before entering the roadway.
Contact a Colorado Pedestrian Accident Attorney
Pedestrian accidents can be complex and require extensive investigation and evaluation. At Bowman Law, we have helped thousands of people navigate the complexities of the legal system. If you or a loved one have been hurt in an auto versus pedestrian accident, please contact us today by calling 720-863-6904 or emailing us for a free consultation. Our lawyers handle a wide range of personal injury cases, including Motor Vehicle Accidents, Bicycle Accidents, Pedestrian Accidents, Slip & Fall Accidents, and Dog Bites & Attacks. We service Arvada, Aurora, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Commerce City, Lakewood, Littleton, Thornton, Westminster, Wheat Ridge, and other parts of metropolitan Denver, Colorado.
Owner and Managing Attorney
Jerry Bowman, J.D., M.A., Owner and managing attorney of Bowman Law LLC, takes his responsibility to the legal profession seriously and dedicates his time and effort to providing quality and competent legal representation to clients in Denver and throughout all of Colorado. He holds an MA in Political Science from Wayne State University and earned his law degree in two and a half years from Michigan State University College of Law.