Legally, the situation is no different than any other insurance claim where the fault lies with another person. The insurance company pays to repair a car, then turns to the at-fault party to get its money back. This happens many times every day. The other party may be another driver, a bicyclist or a pedestrian.

Everyone who uses a road is responsible for using due care. Someone in a car must respect traffic laws, but so must someone walking or riding a bicycle.

Crosswalks are built for the safety of both pedestrians and motorists. Drivers know to be on the lookout for pedestrians at crosswalks, so they should proceed with caution around areas where someone could be in the roadway. They are exercising due care. A jaywalker is violating the law, though they are responsible for taking due care just as a driver is. A person who steps into the roadway in front of a car (especially at night if the person is in dark clothing) can be difficult or even impossible for a driver to avoid.

What if you hit someone?

Accidents between pedestrians and cars are regrettable and inevitable. Here is how the insurance side works:

If a person hits a pedestrian and has collision coverage, the driver can use that coverage to pay for the damages done to his vehicle (minus their deductible).  The insurance company will investigate and determine who was at fault.  If another driver is at fault, then normally the insurer would subrogate with the at-fault party’s insurance company (or that person personally if not insured) to recover what it paid out on the claim.

Even though a pedestrian can be found liable, not all auto insurers will pursue the injured individual or their estate if the pedestrian dies to recover the money the company paid out. While an insurance company may have the right to go after a pedestrian, it’s not usually in their best interest to do so. They likely will spend a lot of time and money pursuing a person that cannot pay for damages and there may be bad publicity to follow.

If as a driver you hit a pedestrian and are at fault, your bodily injury liability insurance typically would pay for that person’s injuries or death (up to your limits). If the pedestrian is at fault and your insurance company chooses not to pursue him financially, you would be unable to recover the deductible you paid.

If you are an insured driver but are hit by a car while a pedestrian, you may be able to look to your personal injury protection (PIP), medical payments coverage or even uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage of your car insurance policy if the driver’s insurance doesn’t cover your injuries.

— Penny Gusner contributed to this story.

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Contributing Writer

Shivani Gite is a personal finance and insurance writer with a degree in journalism and mass communication. She is passionate about making insurance topics easy to understand for people and helping them make better financial decisions. When not writing, you can find her reading a book or watching anime.