Posted on: 19 February 2016Share
If you were injured in a car accident, and a pedestrian is to blame for that accident, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against that at-fault party. This helps you to recover money to pay for your medical expenses, any lost wages you suffered as a result of the accident and compensate you for your pain and suffering. However, winning a claim against a pedestrian is challenging. Here is some information you should know if a pedestrian caused a car accident that injured you and you are considering filing a lawsuit.
Situations in Which a Pedestrian May Be Found at Fault for the Accident
It is not always easy to prove that a pedestrian was at fault for the accident. This is because drivers have a responsibility to yield to pedestrians they see and be aware of their surroundings. However, when a car hits a pedestrian, the driver is not automatically at fault. The driver may share partial blame for the accident or the pedestrian can be fully at fault. Some of the situations where a pedestrian may have partial or full fault include:
- A jaywalking pedestrian or a pedestrian that is crossing outside of the crosswalk
- A pedestrian who is crossing against a "Do Not Walk" signal
- A pedestrian who is walking along areas where pedestrians are prohibited from being, such as highways and bridges
- A pedestrian who has not taken precautions to make themselves visible at night time
- A pedestrian who is intoxicated and not able to walk on the sidewalks or stay out of traffic
Proving a Pedestrian Was at Fault
If you swerve to avoid a pedestrian and are injured by hitting something else, you will want to document everything that happened in a timely manner. In some situations, it may come down to your word against theirs. You may be saying that you had a green light and didn't see the pedestrian versus them saying you ran a red light and they had the "walk" signal. One of the best ways to prove the pedestrian was at fault is to obtain contact information from any witnesses who may have seen the accident. This includes their full name, home address, phone number, cell phone number and place of employment. People may move or change phone numbers, so always ensure you have multiple ways to contact these individuals if your story needs to be corroborated.
Another important thing you should do is to snap some pictures of the accident scene. This will help show what the exact conditions were at the time of the accident. If you couldn't see the pedestrian, you can show how poor lighting, fog or other conditions may have contributed to you not seeing a pedestrian outside of the crosswalk or not abiding by the "Do Not Walk" sign. this can help minimize your liability in the accident.
If a witness hasn't already done so, contact the police and get an accident report. The accident report also helps to document where the accident took place and what the conditions were when the accident occurred.
Lastly, contact a personal injury lawyer who focuses on car accidents. They can help take written statements from the witnesses you got information from, reconstruct the accident scene, obtain police reports and help you file all paperwork related to the case in a timely manner. This ensures the statute of limitations does not expire before you file your case.
Suing Even If You Have Fault
If you and the pedestrian are both found to have some fault for the accident, you are still able to file a claim as long as you live in a comparative negligence state. Alabama, Maryland and Virginia are the only states where you cannot file a claim if you have any responsibility for the accident. When you file a personal injury claim, and you have some fault for the accident, the amount of the award you are given will be reduced by the percentage of fault you had in the accident. For example, if you and pedestrian are found to share equal fault, the pedestrian can only be held liable for fifty percent of your medical bills, pain and suffering and lost wages. Likewise, they can file a personal injury claim against you for 50 percent of their expenses as well. If you have 20 percent fault in the accident, your award is only reduced by 20 percent. This is why documenting becomes so important. It helps to reduce your liability, which ultimately, helps to increase the amount of your award.
Pedestrians are required to obey all traffic signals and signs. If they fail to do so, and you don't see them and hit them or something else with your vehicle, they may share fault or be at fault for the accident. If you sustained physical or emotional injuries due to the accident, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against them. Learning when a pedestrian may be at fault, what to do to help prove the pedestrian was at fault and what happens if you both share fault will help you better understand whether you have a case and what actions to take. If you have any questions, consult with a car accident lawyer. They can help advise you as to whether you have a claim and how you should proceed. Contact a firm like The Jaklitsch Law Group for more information.