When an accident occurs between a pedestrian and a car, it's easy to assume that the person driving the car is at fault. That is because people believe that pedestrians are supposed to have the legal right of way, when the reality is that there are situations where they can be partially or wholly at fault.
Determining Who Is At Fault
When you are involved in an accident where you hit a pedestrian with your car, it is usually a matter of your word against theirs. A judge will hear both sides of the case, look at laws that were applicable at the time (speeding, crosswalks, stop signs, etc.), and make a determination of who was at fault. If there are eyewitnesses to the accident, police report finding, or an expert testimony, this can help sway a judge in one direction over the other.
When you are found at fault as the driver, the pedestrian can receive compensation from your insurance company or yourself. When the pedestrian is at fault, they will be unable to recover any financial losses they sustained due to their injuries. If damage was caused to your car, you actually have the right to sue them for the damages that they caused.
Some situations where a pedestrian could be at fault include:
- Crossing the street without the proper traffic signals activated.
- Crossing the street while intoxicated
- Walking in areas where pedestrians are not allowed (bridges, highways, etc.)
Even if the pedestrian does perform one of those actions, they may not be completely at fault for causing the accident. For example, fault due to jaywalking may be negated by speeding or driving while distracted. In this situation, a judge may make a comparative negligence ruling.
Comparative negligence allows a judge to assign fault based on a percentage, reducing compensation owed by the appropriate percentage. Consider a situation where a pedestrian was crossing a street while drunk, but was hit by a distracted driver. A judge may rule that the person driving is 75% responsible, and the pedestrian is 25% responsible. If the pedestrian's medical bill was $20,000, the driver would only be responsible for paying $15,000 and not be able to collect compensation for damages to their car.
Keep in mind that a judge may use a modified version of a comparative negligence ruling, where if one party is more than 50% responsible, they would be responsible for compensating the victim in full.
If you need help defending yourself in a pedestrian related car accident, contact a personal injury lawyer, such as at http://www.trammellandmills.com, that can help you though the proceedings.Share