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Pedestrian Car Accident in Michigan

Who is Responsible in a Pedestrian Car Accident?

March 4, 2019

UPDATE: Michigan’s New No-Fault Law went into effect July 1, 2020. The information on this page was written prior to the change in the law and may be out of date. Please visit for updated information on the new No-Fault law in Michigan.  

Each year, more pedestrians are dying in traffic accidents, across the country and especially in Michigan. Over the last 10 years, the number of pedestrian car accident deaths nationwide has increased by more than 46%.

Statistics for pedestrian car accidents in Detroit are more alarming, according to the Detroit Free Press/USA Today Network. A recent investigation found that more pedestrians died in Detroit than in any other U.S. city of comparable size.

One reason is that more motorists are driving SUVs and other large vehicles with higher front-end profiles. These vehicles make it harder to see pedestrians, accounting for many of these deaths. Additionally, a pedestrian will more likely suffer serious injuries when struck by an SUV than by a smaller car.

Furthermore, we now have distracted pedestrians in addition to distracted drivers. People crossing the street while focusing on their cell phones are at greater risk of being hit. The same is true for pedestrians who are wearing headphones that block out honking horns or other warning sounds. And, when the driver is also distracted, the risk of a pedestrian car accident is even greater.

Who Is at Fault in a Pedestrian Car Accident?

This question sounds simple, but the answer depends on many factors, including who had the right of way. 

If the person on foot has the right of way, the driver is responsible for the pedestrian car accident. However, determining who had the right of way can be complicated. One reason is that Michigan has no specific laws regarding the lawful use of crosswalks. Instead, most municipalities follow the Michigan Uniform Traffic Code. This statute allows pedestrians on the same half of the roadway as an approaching vehicle the right of way. Pedestrians who are walking lawfully and obeying traffic signals in a crosswalk also have the right of way.

Pedestrians may be responsible in certain situations, especially those who did not have the right of way. Here are some examples:

  • Crossing the street against a “don’t walk” signal
  • Suddenly darting out in front of a moving vehicle
  • Jaywalking or crossing a street outside of a crosswalk 

Drivers are usually at fault for pedestrian car accidents in the following circumstances:

  • Running a red light or disregarding a stop sign or other traffic signal 
  • Speeding or otherwise driving recklessly
  • Driving while distracted by a cell phone or other device 
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol

Michigan No-fault Insurance and Pedestrian Car Accident Claims

Victims of pedestrian-car accidents often receive compensation for their injuries regardless of who was at fault. No-fault insurance, which Michigan drivers must carry, includes Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits. This coverage pays for medical expenses, lost wages and even provides death benefits to the victim’s family. Victims may also be compensated for pain and suffering resulting from a pedestrian car accident.

“Michigan no-fault insurance rules regarding pedestrian car accidents are very complex,” says Mark Bernstein of The Sam Bernstein Law Firm. “It takes an experienced accident lawyer to make sure you receive all of the benefits you and your family are entitled to. If you or a loved one is injured in an auto accident, call us. Don’t settle for less than you deserve.”

Auto accident law is complicated, but finding the right lawyer is simple.

Call 1-800-CALL-SAM today for a free, no-obligation consultation.