There may be situations when a pedestrian could be to blame for a car accident. Some car accidents that involve pedestrians may result in no damages to the vehicle, but the pedestrian could have some fairly bad injuries.
We all know that pedestrians are not as well protected in a car accident as a driver of a car is. However, this does not stop some people from assuming that pedestrians have a right of way. This isn’t always true, which is why we wanted to explain why some pedestrians could be at fault (Whether partially or wholly), even though they may think they had right of way.
How to Determine who was at Fault
Although there are some circumstances in which the driver of a vehicle is at fault for injuring a pedestrian, a driver may not always be to blame.
Pedestrians are usually considered to be better at avoiding accidents with cars than drivers are, typically because pedestrians don’t tend to be on the road quite as often as cars are. However, there are situations when pedestrians are on the road such as when they decide to cross the road, and this is when accidents can occur.
When we try to determine who was at fault for a car accident that involved a pedestrian, we try to look at the law of negligence as this can provide answers.
Every single person, whether they are driving a car or they are a pedestrian is expected to use a reasonable level of care. This level of care applies to given sets of circumstances, in other words, they are expected to obey all of the traffic laws, no matter where they are.
Let’s imagine that Andy does not act with any reasonable car and ends up hurting Brian. The law is likely to consider that Andy has been negligence irrespective of which person was driving, and which one was a pedestrian. This means that if Andy was a pedestrian and did not exercise reasonable care, and his failure caused a car accident, he will be at fault. Andy is likely to be liable for any damage to the car, and any car that Brian subsequently hit when he was swerving to avoid Andy.
The Concept of Shared Fault
There may be occasions when both a pedestrian and a driver are found to be at fault for the accident. For example, let’s imagine that Philip was jaywalking and Trevor’s car was heading towards him. Trevor was traveling at 50 miles per hour in a 25 mile per hour zone. When Trevor hits Philip and subsequently injures him both people will be found at fault as they were both behaving negligently.
If a personal injury lawsuit was brought about as a result of the accident, the outcome will be different depending on the state in which it took place. Some parts of the United States use contributory negligence, whereas others use comparative negligence.
Contributory negligence is only used by a few states, and under this system, if the defendant shows that the plaintiff’s negligence may a contribution to the accident (Regardless of how small the contribution is), the plaintiff will not be successful in their claim. This system can seem quite harsh, but the good news is that only Washington D.C., Maryland, Alabama, Virginia, and North Carolina use this rule.
When a state follows a comparative negligence rule it basically divided fault between all of the parties. For example, Trevor may claim that Philip is at fault for jaywalking, however, when the comparative negligence rule is applied, Philip’s liability could be reduced. This could happen if it was found that Trevor was also at fault for the accident.
There are two different types of comparative negligence, pure comparative negligence, and modified comparative negligence, and they can determine the outcome of the case. Let’s take a closer look at each:
– Pure comparative negligence
When pure comparative negligence is used, the liability is split between the defendant and plaintiff according to their percentage of fault. This means that if Philip was found to be 40% responsible for the accident when he was jaywalking, and Trevor was 60% for the accident as he was speeding, Philip’s damages would be affected. Philip would, therefore, receive 60% of the damages as he was only 40% to blame.
– Modified comparative negligence
When this type of negligence is used the liability will be split according to how much each person was to blame, but only to a degree. If the plaintiff (Trevor, in this case) is found to be at least 50% at fault, then they will not be awarded anything.
If you were involved in a car accident where a pedestrian was injured, please speak to a personal injury lawyer as soon as you can.
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