When pedestrians are hit by automobiles, bikes, and other vehicles, the damage they incur is often devastating. These accidents are usually defined by the fact that there is little damage to the vehicle, but massive damage to the pedestrian. With this fact stated, you see that pedestrians are incredibly vulnerable when they are on the road.
Yet, this vulnerability does not mean that pedestrians are never partially or completely at fault for accidents that injure them. Having a lawyer is helpful if your goal is to prove that you held minimal liability in a pedestrian accident. Why not contact one today?
You can reach out to Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today.
How Can Pedestrians Be at Fault in Accidents?
A crucial element of personal injury law is that every person must exercise a reasonable level of care to avoid accidents. This means both drivers and pedestrians are required to obey traffic laws and any relevant road rules that pertain to the streets, crosswalks, and other roads they are using. People who do not act with a reasonable level of care and cause harm due to their negligence will be held liable for any accident, regardless of whether they are a pedestrian or a driver.
So, in order for a pedestrian to be at fault in an accident, it must be proven that they did not exercise the required minimum amount of reasonable care leading up to the accident. For example, consider pedestrians who are struck by vehicles after illegally crossing into the path of said vehicles outside of a crosswalk. These pedestrians may have made it highly unlikely that oncoming traffic would be able to avoid the accident, meaning they were at least partially negligent.
If the driver had enough time to avoid the accident by evading, but this led to them crashing into other vehicles, the pedestrian could be responsible for that accident. If you believe that you did not cause the pedestrian accident that you got hurt in, speak to a lawyer to build a case proving it. When this is done successfully, plaintiffs are usually able to recover fair compensation from the parties that caused the accidents.
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Is Fault Sometimes Shared Between Pedestrians and Drivers?
Pedestrian accidents are not always straightforward. The fault may be spread across multiple parties. Consider a situation wherein a driver is speeding, then hits a jaywalking pedestrian.
Both were acting negligently, so fault could be shared between them. Whether a court would rule that both parties were partially liable depends on whether they are in a contributory negligence state or comparative negligence state. Here’s more about each type of system.
Only a few states use the contributory negligence system. Under this system, defendants that can show that the plaintiff was negligent and caused an accident will be free from any liability for the associated damages. This would be the case even if the plaintiff was only 1% responsible for the accident.
While this may seem harsh, it is the law. Though, contributory negligence laws are only applied in Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia.
With comparative negligence laws, the fault is assigned to each party separately. Through this system, the defendant’s liability can be reduced depending on how much responsibility the plaintiff holds for causing the accident. With pure comparative negligence laws, liability and damages are split according to an exact percentage of fault.
Under modified comparative negligence laws, liability is only split to a certain level. This means plaintiffs who are more than 50% at fault for an accident will be barred from recovering any level of compensation from the defendant.
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What Damages Can Be Recovered in Pedestrian Accidents?
Damages are the losses that an individual or entity can recover compensation for. In pedestrian-car accidents, both parties have the option to claim damages from each other. Though, if the driver suffered no injuries and minimal property damage, their ability to file for damages will likely be insignificant.
Assuming a pedestrian is able to successfully file a claim against the driver considering negligence laws, these are the types of damages they can claim:
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Lost opportunities
- Lost future wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
These damages are divided into two categories, economic and non-economic. The economic damages include tangible losses like medical bills and lost income, while non-economic damages focus more on intangible losses like pain and suffering or emotional distress. Your ability to file for non-economic damages depends heavily on the overall severity of your injuries.
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How Long do You Have to File a Pedestrian Accident Claim?
Every state has a statute of limitations on personal injury claims that determines how long you have to file a claim against someone who caused an accident that injured you or your property. Here are the statutes of limitations for every state we serve:
- AN – Three years
- MS – Three years
- TN – One year
The statute of limitations starts on the date of the incident.
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How do I File a Claim After a Pedestrian Accident?
To file a claim after a pedestrian accident, you need to submit the appropriate paperwork to the courts. Those papers must be served to the defendant, then the lawsuit begins. This is only necessary if you are unable to make a claim through the driver’s insurance company.
A lawyer can walk you through the process of filing your claim, but you are not required to use one. Still, keep in mind that insurance companies will fiercely protect their bottom line profits. If you are not equipped to negotiate with their adjusters and lawyers, they can easily take advantage of you and provide a minimal settlement or no settlement at all.
Things are even harder if your case goes to court. Under these circumstances, you have the lofty goal of persuading a judge or jury that you are owed compensation.
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If you feel that you have the opportunity to claim compensation from a driver who hit you on the road, do not wait to file a legal claim. You will need support throughout the process, so consider hiring a lawyer too. They will have the expertise needed to prove that you have minimal liability in the accident.
If you wish to speak to a lawyer, consider talking to Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC. You can schedule a free consultation by filling out the contact form on this page.