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Personal Injury

Pedestrian Right of Way: How It Affects Your Injury Claim

December 31, 2019

Pedestrians are uniquely vulnerable on the roadways.  Given this vulnerability, the legislature has implemented various right-of-way rules meant to protect pedestrians from unruly drivers.

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident as a pedestrian, then Montana law may give you a right to recover damages as compensation for your injuries.  Get in touch with an experienced Billings pedestrian accident attorney for further guidance.  Your attorney will evaluate your various claims and help you identify a path to securing your damages in full.

Many pedestrians are unsure as to whether they actually had the right-of-way and how this might influence their ability to sue and recover damages for their injuries.

Though there is often an element of ambiguity in pedestrian accident cases (except for extreme scenarios involving drunk drivers or reckless pedestrians), right-of-way issues don’t necessarily have to be so complicated.

Let’s explore some of the basics.

Right-of-Way Situations in Montana

In Montana, there are right-of-way rules that govern different situations. From a legal standpoint, the only time a pedestrian is protected to cross a road is either by way of a crosswalk or intersection.

Marked Crosswalks

In accordance with Montana law, motor vehicles must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians who are crossing the roadway at a marked crosswalk. Such crosswalks are generally easy to identify, as they are typically denoted by two white lines.

Unmarked Crosswalks

Although unmarked crosswalks can be harder to determine, they are typically located at intersections consisting of the section of the roadway that connects the adjacent lines of two sidewalks.

How a Right-of-Way Violation Affects an Injury Claim

As a pedestrian, you’re likely wondering how a right-of-way violation (or lack thereof) influences your ability to recover damages for your injury.

Simply put, the occurrence of a right-of-way violation may be proof of the defendant’s negligence.  By contrast, the lack of a right-of-way violation does not necessarily shield the defendant-driver from liability.

So, what does this mean for your ability to recover?

Even if you did not have right-of-way, if the evidence shows that the driver was aware of your presence and they collided with you anyway, then the driver will have violated the standard of care. Even if you were acting illegally, the driver must make reasonable efforts to avoid causing you injury.   

Speak with a Billings Pedestrian Accident Attorney Right Away

If you were a pedestrian in an accident with a motor vehicle, help is available for you to ensure you obtain the just compensation to which you’re entitled.  Contact our office today to discuss your rights and options under the law.