Ask The Pedestrian Accident Lawyer: Who Has Right of Way?
The legal concept of "right of way" refers to the right one party has over another to proceed on the roadway. Oftentimes, the right of way is spelled out explicitly by signs or signals that inform motorists and pedestrians what to do in any given set of circumstances. Under Washington law, motorists and pedestrians are required to obey all signs and traffic signals that are properly installed and in good working order. In situations where there are no signals or signs, such as an uncontrolled crossing or the middle of a block, the law spells out who has the right of way in that situation. However, factors such as visibility, the speed at which a pedestrian is traveling, and the ability of the driver to react in time can affect the question of who has the right of way.
This is one of the reasons why having complete information about the accident is so important. Physical evidence, photographs, the location and condition of signs and signals, eyewitness accounts, etc. go a long way toward showing who had the right of way, which can be vital todetermining which person was at fault for causing the accident. In many cases, a determination of which party had the right of way is the starting point to deciding which party is negligent for causing an accident.