Law Office of James M. Hoffmann Articles Car Accidents Involving Pedestrians

Car Accidents Involving Pedestrians

By James M. Hoffmann  May. 6, 2013 8:42a

When another person’s negligence contributed to the accident, the injured pedestrian can seek to recover damages. Negligence refers to someone’s failure to act reasonably in a given situation, and their subsequent failure to protect others from foreseeable danger. In that situation, determining how a reasonable person would act, is used to judge whether a person acted negligently. A pedestrian can also attempt to recover damages if the accident or injury was caused by a property or vehicle defect.

Establishing negligence includes proving that the person who is at fault for the accident:

  • Legally owed a duty under the circumstances to the plaintiff
  • Failed to fulfill that legal duty through through actions or failure to act
  • Caused the accident or injury that involved the plaintiff
  • The plaintiff was harmed as a result of those actions

The facts will have to be carefully assessed according to each of these elements. If multiple circumstances contributed to the accident, more than one person may be held legally responsible. Some people who could share liability:

  • The driver of the vehicle that injured the pedestrian
  • The pedestrian
  • Whoever is responsible for maintaining the roadway
  • Other drivers

Both drivers and pedestrians must follow the rules of the road and exercise care and caution. If a pedestrian is negligent of his or her responsibility and careless of following the rules, he or she may be partially or fully at fault for the accident. Drivers have the same responsibility.

Recovery in pedestrian accidents with motor vehicles where negligence is involved hinge on exactly what the duty of care of each involved party is. The facts will need to be carefully examined in order to determine who is at fault and whether each party could be partially responsible. It is not always immediately apparent who is at fault, and in some cases though it may seem obvious, a closer look may turn up different results.

Drivers must operate their vehicles with “reasonable care under the circumstances.” Failure to do so constitutes negligence.

When determining liability and negligence, the courts will look several factors.

  • Was the driver preoccupied or distracted?
  • Was the driver observing the speed limit?
  • Did the driver yield at marked crosswalks?
  • Did the driver obey traffic signals and signs?
  • Did the driver take traffic and weather conditions into consideration?
  • Was the driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol?

If the driver of the vehicle is found to be negligent, he or she will probably be required to pay damages to the pedestrian for personal injuries and property damage.

The pedestrian has a duty of care as well to protect their own safety and to not endanger drivers by behaving in a reckless manner. A pedestrian can be considered negligent if they fail to exercise reasonable care. Actions that constitute negligence include the following:

  • Ignoring the “Walk” or “Don’t Walk” signals at intersections
  • Disrupting the flow of traffic
  • Darting in front of a vehicle
  • Failing to use marked crosswalks

Pedestrians who do not exercise care can be found to be partially or fully at fault for directly contributing to their own injuries.

If you have been injured in a pedestrian car accident, contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Involving a personal injury attorney right away is one of the best ways to ensure that you will be able to recover the maximum amount of damages.

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