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Is The Driver Always At Fault In A Pedestrian Vs. Car Accident?

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017
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Driving a car requires extra caution around pedestrians, or when they are likely to be present. However, that doesn’t mean it’s always the driver’s fault in every car accident involving a pedestrian. Depending on the circumstances, it is possible that a pedestrian could even be at fault for damages to the driver’s car. It is important to know the situations and discuss what the law has to say about liability in pedestrian vs. car accidents.

Driver’s duty of care

Getting behind the wheel comes with a certain amount of responsibility, known in personal injury law as duty of reasonable care or due care. This holds the driver to the standard of what a normal, careful driver would do under the given circumstances. A normally cautious driver should maintain vigilance and strict control of their car when they know a pedestrian is, or could be, in the area. For example, a person could be driving in a school zone at 20 miles an hour when they spot a child on a wobbly bicycle ahead. If the driver fails to slow down, they could be at fault. The argument under the law would be that a cautious driver would slow down in that situation.

When a pedestrian is responsible for a car accident

Of course, a safe driver will take the necessary steps to avoid hitting someone if at all possible. Sometimes, however, the pedestrian may act in a way that makes avoiding a collision impossible. In these cases, a judge or jury could find the pedestrian at fault for the car accident.

If a pedestrian runs out in front of the driver from behind a parked car, for example, they could be held liable. Even if the driver is going over the speed limit, they might not be held fully responsible. If the pedestrian jumps out so close to the car that the driver has no time to react, they might be at fault. However, in such an instance, both the driver and pedestrian could be at fault to different degrees.

If a pedestrian behaves in such a way that the driver is forced to take evasive maneuvers, they can be held liable for damages. For example, suppose a person is walking along a freeway at night wearing dark clothes. The driver might spot the person at the last second and swerve into another vehicle. In this case, the pedestrian can be at fault for any injuries sustained by the occupants or damages to vehicles.

When both the driver and the pedestrian cause the car accident

Not all car accidents leave both parties guiltless. Many times, both the driver and pedestrian can be at fault for behaving in a negligent manner. In these cases, the lawsuit can vary from state to state. However, in any state, the jury must determine what percentage, if any, the plaintiff contributed to the accident.

For example, a jury might find that a plaintiff pedestrian was jaywalking and therefore holds 60% of the responsibility. The speeding driver who hit them, meanwhile, will be held 40% liable because they did not have reasonable time to avoid the collision. Depending on the state, the plaintiff would then be held responsible for 40% of their own losses associated with the car accident. In other states, this could mean the driver would not be required to pay anything as the pedestrian is more than 50% responsible for the accident. Speaking with an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you determine fault regulations in your state.

If you were involved in a pedestrian vs. car accident, contact Attorney Dean Boyd today. Hiring a personal injury lawyer will help you navigate the legal process without the headache of having to do it on your own. You can call us at (806) 242-3333 or Contact Us by email to learn more about Our Services. You can also visit our office at 4423 SW 45th Ave in Amarillo, Texas or 5012 50th St #103 in Lubbock, Texas for more information about how we can help you.