Pedestrians standing on the pavement are entitled to consider themselves safe. If they lean out into the road or have their back turned to traffic they are still unlikely to have any responsibility for any accident that occurs. Even if they entered 1 or 2 inches into the road the Court of Appeal have confirmed they will not be found at fault.
Vehicles with large wing mirrors, such as lorries and buses, must pay particular attention to pedestrians. If they hit a pedestrian with their wing mirror they will almost certainly be held responsible for any injury sustained.
Entrances into drives and other premises off the road generally cross the pavement. Any driver crossing the pavement is under a high duty of care to any pedestrians.
Where a pedestrian steps into the road blame for any accident will depend on the circumstances. Vehicle drivers are supposed to pay attention to pedestrians as a source of danger and drive defensively as a result. They should be looking out for pedestrians about to step into the road or out form between parked vehicles. A particularly high level of vigilance is expected for young, elderly, disabled or infirm pedestrians. However, an adult pedestrian stepping straight out in front of a vehicle may leave the driver with little or not time to react even if they were paying attention. If the accident were to happen (for example) outside a school, in a shopping area or near to a bus or ice cream van then it may be regarded as completely different to an accident in a rural area.
A motorist cannot assume that green traffic lights give them an absolute right of way. The Court has previously held motorists equally to blame where a pedestrian is hit at traffic lights, despite the fact that the light was green for the motorist. Any excessive speed through the lights or junction will also be taken into account. Conversely, if the pedestrian is on a crossing and the motorist contravenes a red light they will almost certainly be found fully responsible for the accident.
If the pedestrian is drunk or under the influence of drugs then unless it can be shown that this contributed to the accident it will be irrelevant. Where this is an issue the police have much fewer powers to investigate whether the pedestrian's abilities were impaired than they do for motorists. The Court will also take into account the background circumstances. If you are passing a nightclub in the early hours of the morning you should expect drunk people to be around, that they may act and erratically and drive accordingly.
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