Home / Blog / Do Pedestrians Have the Right of Way in Indianapolis?

Pedestrian accidents are rising in most cities in the United States, including Indianapolis. In response to the increasing number of pedestrian accidents, Indianapolis and other cities are redesigning their streets to better accommodate pedestrians. 

The good news is that if you were injured in a pedestrian accident in Indianapolis, you might have a right to compensation. An experienced Indianapolis pedestrian accident lawyer can help protect your rights and recover the compensation you deserve for your pedestrian accident injuries. 

What Are Indiana’s Right-of-Way Laws?

In Indiana, pedestrians have the right of way when crossing the street in marked crosswalks and at intersections. Drivers must also yield to pedestrians already on the roadway, whether they are crossing in a crosswalk, at an intersection, or in the middle of the road. 

On the other hand, pedestrians must yield the right of way to vehicles in the roadway and obey all traffic control signals unless a traffic control officer instructs them to do otherwise. 

Pedestrians also have other obligations under Indiana law that can impact liability for a pedestrian accident. Here are some highlights:

  • Whenever available, pedestrians must use sidewalks and cross the road at marked crosswalks and intersections. 
  • If there is no sidewalk available, pedestrians must walk on the shoulder of the road. If no sidewalk or shoulder is available, pedestrians must walk along the edge of the road as far as possible from the roadway.
  • Pedestrians must avoid stepping into the path of cars that are too close to stop safely. 
  • Pedestrians must avoid walking on or along roadways while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

If you or a loved one was injured as a pedestrian in Indianapolis, contact the Indianapolis personal injury lawyers at Wagner Reese to determine if the driver who hit you is potentially liable for your injuries.

Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in Indianapolis

Both drivers and pedestrians have a legal duty to obey traffic laws and to exercise reasonable care when navigating Indiana roadways. Nevertheless, accidents happen, for a variety of reasons.

Common causes of pedestrian accidents in Indianapolis include:


  • Young or inexperienced drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), teenage drivers are responsible for most pedestrian accidents. Inexperienced drivers often fail to yield the right of way to pedestrians at crosswalks or intersections.
  • A failure to obey school zone traffic laws. Globally, most pedestrian accident victims are school children under the age of 10. Most of these accidents happen as children are getting on or off school buses. Drivers in school zones must adhere to the posted speed limit and be extra cautious to prevent pedestrian accidents.
  • Reckless and distracted driving. Speeding, running red lights and stop signs, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and distracted driving are the most common causes of all traffic accidents in Indiana, including pedestrian accidents.
  • Poor visibility. Poor weather conditions, obstructions on or along the roadway, pedestrians wearing dark clothing at night, a vehicle’s faulty headlights, bright lights shining in the eyes of a driver or pedestrian, and other factors can all result in a pedestrian accident. 

With the help of a skilled pedestrian accident lawyer, Indianapolis pedestrian accident victims can hold the at-fault driver fully accountable. While it is still possible to obtain compensation without the help of a lawyer, your inexperience will likely limit your ability to recover the compensation you need to cover all your losses. 

Common Causes of Pedestrian Accident Injuries?

Since pedestrians are not protected by any safety equipment, a pedestrian accident is much more likely to result in serious injuries or death. Common injuries sustained in pedestrian accidents include:

  • Soft tissue injuries. These are injuries to the body’s muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Examples include sprains, strains, and contusions, as well as whiplash, tendinitis, and bursitis. Soft tissue injuries are not considered as serious as other injuries, like broken bones, but they can take a long time to heal and cause a lot of pain and discomfort. 
  • Bone fractures. It is not uncommon for a pedestrian to suffer bone fractures when in an accident with a motor vehicle. Severe bone fractures often require surgery and, in the worst cases, can lead to long-term mobility issues and even amputations.
  • Traumatic brain injuries. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is trauma to the brain caused by a direct blow to the head or by the head being thrown back and forth, suddenly and forcefully. A TBI can cause the victim serious, long-term physical and cognitive complications. 
  • Spinal cord injuries. An injury to the spinal cord can result in paralysis and affect many of the body’s other functions. Consequently, even a spinal cord injury that is considered less severe can have devastating, life-altering consequences.

What Happens If I Share Fault for a Pedestrian Accident?

Indiana is an at-fault state with respect to personal injury accidents. That means the party at fault for the accident must compensate the injured party for damages resulting from the accident. Even if the injured party is partly at fault for the accident, they can still receive partial compensation. 

In Indiana, if a judge or jury finds the injured party less than 51% at fault, they can still recover compensation in an amount reduced by their own percentage of fault. However, if the judge or jury finds the injured party 51% at fault or more, they will not recover any compensation. 

For instance, if you were injured in a pedestrian accident in Indianapolis and your total losses were assessed to be $100,000, but you were also found to be 50% at fault for the accident, you would still be able to recover $50,000 or 50% of your losses. But, if you were found to be 51% at fault, you would not recover any compensation. 

It is not unusual for both parties involved in a pedestrian accident to be assessed some percentage of fault. A skilled Indianapolis personal injury attorney can help ensure fault for your pedestrian accident is equitably assessed, and that you recover the most compensation possible for your pedestrian accident claim. 

Proving Fault for an Indianapolis Pedestrian Accident

The burden of proof in a pedestrian accident case lies with the injured party. They must have sufficient evidence to prove that the accident was a result of some form of negligence by the driver who hit them. 

Drivers owe pedestrians and other motorists a duty of care to operate their vehicles safely and obey the applicable traffic laws. A failure to meet this duty of care represents negligence by the driver.

You and your attorney can present evidence of a driver’s negligence in the form of the following:

  • Eyewitness testimony
  • Video surveillance footage 
  • The police report
  • Expert testimony
  • Photographs of the scene of the accident, vehicle damage, and your injuries
  • Your medical records

At Wagner Reese, our Indianapolis pedestrian accident lawyers thoroughly investigate every accident claim we handle, and often hire accident reconstructionists and other experts to explain to the judge or jury what caused the accident and who is at fault.

Call Wagner Reese Personal Injury Lawyers for Help with Your Pedestrian Accident Case 

Most pedestrian accidents are the result of driver negligence. If you or a loved one was injured as a pedestrian in Indianapolis, contact an Indianapolis pedestrian accident lawyer to help you hold the at-fault driver accountable for your injuries and losses. 

The skilled personal injury lawyers at Wagner Reese are at your service. We only have a limited amount of time to gather the necessary evidence and documentation and file a lawsuit on your behalf. So do not delay.

At Wagner Reese, every prospective plaintiff gets a free case assessment. Contact us today for a free case assessment.  

This content has been reviewed by the attorneys at the Wagner Reese offices.