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Can The Pedestrian Be At Fault In An Auto-Pedestrian Accident?

Portland has worked hard to be a place that is easy to travel in. Whether you get around by car or by foot, there are a variety of avenues to get where you need to go. Portland has also worked hard to become a place where both automobile drivers and pedestrians can co-exist peacefully.

While our car accident fatality rates are among the lowest in the nation, pedestrian fatalities are still high enough to raise concerns. When a pedestrian accident does occur, injuries are severe and often life-threatening. We tend to blame the driver, and hold them responsible for the damages. Can a pedestrian ever be at fault for these kinds of accidents? While it is true that drivers are expected to remain in control of their vehicles at all times, there are certain conditions in which a pedestrian can be held responsible for their own injuries and damages when an accident involving an automobile does occur.

Pedestrian Rights and Responsibilities

According to the Portland Bureau of Transportation, pedestrians bear the brunt when it comes to traffic fatalities. This was not always the case though. Prior to 2008, the number of motorist fatalities always outnumbered those of pedestrians. From 2008 to the present though, as the number of fatal car accidents began dropping, the number of fatal pedestrian accidents began to rise. Of the reported 28 total traffic fatalities in Portland for 2014, more than half were pedestrians.  

While pedestrians always have the right of way in crosswalks, under the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) there are certain responsibilities they have when it comes to dealing with motorists. Laws requiring pedestrians to yield in traffic include:

  • Under ORS Section 814.010, pedestrian are required to obey all traffic devices and signals, and are expected to refrain from crossing at a red light or when the “Do Not Walk” signal is flashing.
  • Under ORS Section 814.040, pedestrians are expected to yield to vehicles when crossing the street without a crosswalk, and are expected to refrain from suddenly leaving the curb or sidewalk and moving into traffic.
  • Under ORS Section 814.050, pedestrian are required to yield to ambulances and emergency vehicles.
  • Under ORS Section 814.060, pedestrians are required to use tunnels or overhead passages when available, as opposed to crossing on roadways.

Pedestrians can be ticketed and fined for failing to abide by the above statutes. They may also be held liable for any damages or injuries they suffer as the result of their failure to follow pedestrian laws requiring them to yield, to obey traffic signals, and to cross streets and roadways safely.

Contact Our Experienced Portland Auto-Ped Accident Lawyers

Drivers and pedestrians both have a duty of care when it comes to avoiding accidents on our roads. If you or someone you know has been injured as the result of a pedestrian accident, it’s important to consult with an experienced Portland pedestrian injury attorney right away. At the Johnston Law Firm, our attorneys are experienced in handling pedestrian and crosswalk injuries, and can help you get the compensation you need to recover from your injuries. Contact our Portland office today at (503) 546-3167 for a free consultation.


Marc Johnston

Lead Attorney at Johnston Law Firm, P.C.

Based in downtown Portland, Marc A. Johnston is the owner and managing attorney of the award-winning, internationally-known personal injury law firm, Johnston Law Firm, P.C. Marc's career has been dedicated to representing the injured and individuals who have been treated unfairly by an insurance company. His focus on trial law creates the backbone of the Johnston Law Firm — a firm that is ready to go the distance in seeking justice for its clients.