When operating a motor vehicle, you must always drive with caution when you are around pedestrians. That said, pedestrians are not always faultless in an accident situation. It's possible that a pedestrian can be responsible for causing an accident under the right circumstances, and they will actually owe you for the damages to your car. Here is what you need to know about pedestrian accidents while driving.
Your Duty of Care As A Driver
All drivers should be responsible for their actions when driving. Personal injury laws call this duty of care, which means you must act in the same way a regular person would in a similar situation.
Driving a car does not always have a clear-cut definition of what your duty of care should be, because it is a judgment call based on the current situation. Following the speed limit is not enough. You must also be alert of your surroundings just like a normal person would act when driving.
When Pedestrians Are Responsible For Accidents
A pedestrian must not cause a situation that can cause a normal and cautious driver to get into an accident, or else the pedestrian will be held responsible for the accident. Pedestrian responsibility can occur if they were to suddenly jump out into traffic from an obscured spot, such as behind a car that is parked. It can also occur when walking along the side of the road at night while dressed in dark clothing that is non-reflective.
Breaking laws can also make a pedestrian responsible for an accident. It is very easy for someone to cross the street at a non-designated crosswalk. Depending on the situation, the pedestrian may be fully or partially responsible for causing an accident while jaywalking.
When Pedestrians And Drivers Are Both Responsible
It is common for both the pedestrian and driver to be responsible in accident situations. A jury will determine how much each party is responsible and assign a percentage of blame. Each state then has different laws that decide on if you owe the pedestrian for their injuries depending on that percentage.
A jury may determine that a pedestrian is 75% responsible for an accident and that you are 25% responsible as the driver. Some states may decide that you owe the pedestrian nothing because they are more than 50% responsible. Other states will require you to pay 25% of the pedestrian's damages since you are partially responsible, and the pedestrian pays for 75% of the damages to your car. Unfortunately, hospital bills can be much more expensive than auto bodywork repair.
Determining liability in any kind of car accident can be confusing. Work with an auto accident law firm like The Law Offices of Gregg Durlofsky, to help give you the best defense possible in court.