Fault in Car Accidents Involving Pedestrians
- October 6, 2014
- Car Accidents
The vast majority of traffic accidents occur between two or more motor vehicles, but there are a significant percentage of car accidents that involve pedestrians. For the pedestrian, these accidents can lead to life altering injuries or they could even cause death. In the majority of car accidents where a pedestrian is struck, the party that holds most of the liability is the operator of the vehicle. The driver’s insurer may offer the pedestrian what seems like a fair compensation package, but with all of the complexities of the situation, they should seek the representation of a car accident attorney.
Determining fault in Car Accidents
When it comes to a person on foot getting hit by a car, most people instinctively assume that the driver of the car was at fault. While in most cases that would be correct, there are factors that can place some or all of the blame on the pedestrian. Along with that, there may even be some fault to the driver of a vehicle that didn’t even hit the pedestrian. Making a determination of fault is important because it will have a direct effect on the claimant’s ability to recover compensation and how much they can recover. Furthermore, if the pedestrian is found to have been completely at fault, the driver might be able to make a claim against them for any injuries to the driver or for damage to the vehicle.
While a driver does have a duty of care in regard to driving safely in order to guard against any damage they may cause other motorists or pedestrians, a pedestrian also has a duty to care for their own safety. Behaviors and actions by the pedestrian that endanger their own safety can result in at least part of the fault for the accident being their own. Some of these actions include:
- Entering or crossing the roadway while intoxicated
- Crossing the road against a “Do Not Cross” signal
- Walking on roadways that do not allow pedestrian traffic
- Walking into the street while distracted
- Entering the roadway quickly and without opportunity for the driver to stop
Even when a pedestrian’s actions in some way contributed to the cause of the accident, chances are that the driver will still hold some level of liability. Maybe the driver was speeding or driving while distracted. This would mean that, even though the pedestrian did not take the proper precautions to protect their own safety, the driver also failed in their duty to take adequate precautions to protect the safety of others. This would be a case where the principle of comparative negligence comes into play. The pedestrian might be able to recover compensation, but the fact that the pedestrian contributed to the cause of the accident will limit the amount of compensation that they can recover.
Pedestrians that have suffered injuries as the result of being hit by a car should consult with a personal injury lawyer. Even if you think that your actions played some causal role in the incident, it might be much more complicated than you realize. A car accident lawyer in Dallas will have the knowledge and experience to evaluate the situation and to determine whether you have a reasonable claim for injury compensation.