Walking or jogging may seem like a safe daily exercise; however, pedestrian accidents happen all the time. Imagine that you are crossing the road, minding your own business when suddenly a drunk driver hits you. If this has recently happened to you, then you need to take action fast to ensure your rights because waiting can be detrimental to your case. So, if you want to know who is liable for pedestrian accidents, keep on reading for more information.
The Liability of the Driver
More often than not, drivers are to blame for pedestrian accidents because after all, they are the ones behind the wheel and in control of the situation. So, if you have been injured as a pedestrian, you are entitled to file a lawsuit to get fair compensation for your troubles. The compensation mostly covers your medical bills and provides any lost wages, especially if your injuries are severe enough to render you immobile or unable to resume your work. However, it is always important to contact a lawyer before you take any action, as filing a lawsuit on your own can be hard. Besides, most similar cases are settled before the case goes to trial, so a lawyer’s negotiation skills can come in handy. In any case, drivers are liable for pedestrian accidents in the following cases:
- If the driver was intoxicated or under the influence of drugs when the accident took place.
- If the driver ignored the speed limits and was recklessly driving at a high speed.
- If the driver ignored the right light, which led to the accident.
- If the driver was using their phone while driving to text or make calls.
- If the driver was driving against the direction of traffic in their lane.
In rare cases, a pedestrian accident might lead to the driver’s death, which can make it a bit harder to receive damages. In fact, the impact of driver fatalities on personal injury cases related to pedestrian accidents can change the course of your lawsuit. The deceased driver’s assets should go into probate for assessment. Then, the deceased’s beneficiaries will get their share of the assets. When the probate process is done, you will also receive your compensation, so you will not have to waive your rights.
The Liability of the Pedestrian
While it may seem strange that a pedestrian might be held liable for the accident, sometimes, this is the case. If the pedestrian was the one who caused the accident and the driver was not at fault, then the pedestrian cannot receive damages. In fact, the driver may even file a lawsuit against the pedestrian and demand compensation. The cases where the pedestrian is liable for the accident, at least partially, are as follows:
- If the pedestrian was walking in the middle of the street instead of using the crosswalk.
- If the pedestrian ignored the red “Do not walk” signal.
- If the pedestrian was under the influence of alcohol or drugs when crossing the street.
- If the pedestrian was walking in areas not made for pedestrians, such as bridges and highways.
- If the pedestrian was using their phone when crossing the street.
Sometimes, the situation might not be clean-cut, meaning that both the driver and the pedestrian can be held liable for the accident. For example, if the pedestrian was texting when crossing the street and the driver was under the influence of alcohol, then both are at fault and share the liability. In this case, the jury will rely on the evidence and the witnesses’ retelling of the incident to determine the sum of compensation. According to your state, two rules dictate this: comparative negligence and contributory negligence.
- Comparative negligence: The injured pedestrian can still get compensated although the sum will be less than what they would have received if they had no hand in the accident at all. For instance, if the compensation the pedestrian should receive is $10000, but the jury determines that the pedestrian is 50% liable, they will only get $5000.
- Contributory negligence: This rule is still in effect in Alabama and Virginia. It states that even if the pedestrian is only 1% liable, they will not be able to receive any compensation for their injuries.
It can be hard to determine who is liable for a pedestrian accident. Although most might think that the driver is always the one who should be held accountable, sometimes the pedestrian can be the party at fault. On the other hand, both might be responsible for the accident. Regardless, to know your rights and make sure that justice gets served, you must contact an expert lawyer.