Featured News 2012 Determining Who is At Fault in a Pedestrian Accident

Determining Who is At Fault in a Pedestrian Accident

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), approximately 5,000 pedestrians die in motor related vehicle accidents in the United States every year. In addition, there are more than 78,000 pedestrians who suffer injury from being hit by cars or trucks every year. On top of all of the pedestrian accidents that are related to motor vehicles, there are also thousands of non-vehicular pedestrian accidents as well. Some of the major causes for these non-vehicular accidents include parking lot or sidewalk defects, construction projects, unsafe property management and others.

When a pedestrian suffers injury because of a vehicle or unsafe property, they are entitled to seek compensation for their injuries under laws such as premises liability and others. In order to qualify for an injury claim, the pedestrian must be able to prove that someone else's negligence or carelessness contributed to or caused the harmful accident. The term negligence is legally defined as the failure to do, or the failure not to do, something that reasonable person would in order to protect others from foreseeable risks.

Injured pedestrians who are looking to file a claim against a negligent driver must be able to prove that the person at fault, the "defendant", owed a legal duty to the pedestrian under the circumstances and that they failed to fulfill ("breached") that legal duty through conduct, action or a failure to act. An injury claim can only be filed if the defendant's negligent actions caused an accident that harmed or injured the victim as a result.

If you are a driver who has been involved in the injury of a pedestrian in any way, you must know what course of action to take in order to prevent a lawsuit and costly damages. The outcome of a pedestrian injury claim relies on a careful analysis of the facts of the accident as they relate to the essential elements of the law, and can be more complicated when more than one party is responsible for the accident. Depending on the specific circumstances of the accident, the driver of a vehicle that strikes a pedestrian or the party responsible for maintaining the sidewalk, parking lot or road where the accident occurred may both be responsible for the pedestrian's injuries.

There are some circumstances, however, when the pedestrian is at fault. Every pedestrian has the legal responsibility to exercise reasonable care for his or her own safety in proportion to the danger to be avoided and the consequences that can be reasonably anticipated. The pedestrian may be guilty of contributing to their own injuries if they have failed to exercise this level of care. Some of the most common types of pedestrian-induced accidents relating to negligence include pedestrians who enter a stream of traffic and disrupt the flow, pedestrians who fail to use marked cross walks, pedestrians who ignore the "walk" signal and other intersection signals, and pedestrians who suddenly dart in front of vehicles.

Studies show that children between the ages of five and nine are the most likely to be hit by a motor vehicle because they are smaller in size and less visible. As a result, the law imposes a higher duty of responsibility on drivers when it comes to children, and drivers must exercise a greater level of care when they are in the vicinity of schools and residential districts where children are playing. Being involved in a pedestrian accident is an emotionally traumatizing experience, and it is important to seek help and guidance from a car accident lawyer who is familiar with how to protect your rights regardless of whether you were the victim or the party responsible.

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