Visibility is a key component in pedestrian accidents in Arkansas. If drivers cannot see pedestrians, it’s often difficult or impossible to avoid them. However, failure to see a pedestrian doesn’t always negate a driver’s legal responsibility and liability in these cases. Indeed, the way Arkansas traffic laws are written, it is always the driver’s responsibility to be on the lookout for pedestrians and they must always yield the road to these individuals—even when visibility is reduced.
Arkansas Crosswalk Laws
Arkansas traffic laws require that motorists stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. If they fail to do so, they could be subject to legal action and be forced to pay financial damages to victims and/or their family members. However, that law may be a bit confusing for motorists and pedestrians because it encompasses both marked and unmarked crosswalks. So what’s the difference?
- A marked crosswalk is exactly what it appears to be—a crosswalk designated with paint, signage, and/or lighting.
- An unmarked crosswalk doesn’t have paint, signage, or lighting yet is still a legal crosswalk. Under state law, any intersection where two roads meet or cross is generally understood to house a crosswalk—whether it’s marked or not.
Therefore, drivers must always assume that there is a crosswalk at any intersection they come across.
Visibility Hazards Create Danger Zones for Pedestrians
Visibility hazards can create extremely dangerous conditions for pedestrians entering or exiting marked or unmarked crosswalks in Arkansas. Such hazards include:
- Poor lighting (streetlamps, sunlight, etc.)
- Weather conditions (fog or rain)
- Physical impediments (signs, parked vehicles, trees, etc.)
All of these can reduce the ability of drivers to see pedestrians and vice versa. It falls to the driver then to proceed with caution and at a prudent speed in areas in which these hazards exist.
Arkansas’ “Prudent Speed” Law
While visibility condition can contribute to pedestrian accidents in Arkansas, drivers cannot shirk their responsibility to drive cautiously. Indeed, Arkansas’ “Maximum Speed Law” has provisions in it that require drivers to moderate their speed of their own accord in conditions which may not be ideal.
For example, when the sun is setting and low to the horizon it may blind drivers and make spotting pedestrians in crosswalks extremely difficult. In such a situation the driver is legally required to adjust their driving accordingly. They may need to drive much slower than the posted speed limit in order to adhere to the legally binding Prudent Speed Law (27-51-201 of the 2010 Arkansas State Code).
Proving Liability Can Be Difficult
Proving that driver bares the majority of fault in a pedestrian accident in Arkansas in which visibility is a major factor can be difficult. Indeed, insurance companies are very likely to fight claims in such cases because visibility is such a subjective attribute. While one individual may have no problem seeing in certain conditions, another legally licensed driver may have extreme difficulty.
Proving that you—the victim—are not at fault for injuries stemming from a low-visibility pedestrian accident in Arkansas may require:
- Gathering additional evidence
- Consulting with experts
- Recreating the conditions surrounding your accident
- And more
And all of that may be more than you are capable of or willing to take on during your physical recovery period.
If you’ve been struck by a reckless or negligent driver while in a crosswalk, consult an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer in Arkansas immediately. Contact the Pfeifer Law Firm online or call 501-374-4440 today. The consultation is free, and you don’t owe us anything until we recover for you.