§49.7 Duty of Pedestrians
The Case : De Rossett v. Malone, 239 S.W.2d 366 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1950).
The Basic Facts: Plaintiff filed suit for injuries incurred when she attempted to cross a street in Memphis at a point between intersections and she was struck by a vehicle driven by the defendant.
The Bottom Line:
- "In the absence of a restrictive statute or ordinance, a pedestrian has a legal right to use any portion of the street or highway and to cross it at any point either directly or diagonally. No more is required than that he exercise ordinary care for his own safety, which may include keeping a reasonable lookout for passing vehicles in order to avoid injury therefrom, for the nature and extent of the precautions required by ordinary care, necessarily depend upon the particular circumstances of each case. The pedestrian's failure to keep a lookout may constitute negligence per se, although it will not necessarily do so under all circumstances. [5 Am. Jur. 761, Sec. 454]; note, 164 A.L.R. 103; cf. Hodge v. Hamilton, [293 S.W. 752]. This, because, as said, there is no imperative and invariable requirement as to looking and listening, as in the case at railroad crossings. [61 C.J.S., Motor Vehicles], §§ 470, 471, pp. 43, 60; [25 Am. Jur. 523-524]." 239 S.W.2d at 373.
- "If a pedestrian looks for approaching automobiles before attempting to cross a street or highway, he is presumed in law to have seen what he should have seen had his observance been careful and attentive. He cannot justify himself by saying that he looked and did not see the approaching car that injured him, when, if he had looked, he must have seen the car. Unless there is some circumstance or condition to excuse him, his failure to see the car constitutes negligence as a matter of law. See also Reid v. Owens, [93 P.2d 680], 126 A.L.R. 55." Id. at 374.
Other Sources of Note: There are several statutes which address the responsibilities of pedestrians. They may be found at Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 55-8-111, 55-8-133, 55-8-134, 55-8-137, 55-8-138, 55-8-139, 55-8-180.