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How is fault determined in a pedestrian accident?

How is fault determined in a pedestrian accident with a vehicle?

When a pedestrian accident happens, one of the issues that often comes up is the question of fault. Since both the driver and the pedestrian have a duty to maintain reasonable care, this question is one that is often tackled by insurance adjusters and attorneys as they try to resolve an insurance claim.

It is often the case that the driver is negligent. Generally, a driver owes a duty of care to pedestrians, bicyclists, and other drivers. Common ways that drivers breach this duty include:

  • Being distracted or inattentive;

  • Speeding or disobeying traffic laws;

  • Failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks;

  • Driving while intoxicated.

Similarly, pedestrians have a duty to maintain reasonable care, and many pedestrian accidents and injuries are the result of:

  • Crossing a street against the traffic light;

  • Walking into the flow of traffic;

  • Not using crosswalks.

When both the driver and pedestrian are potentially at fault, then the rules of comparative or contributory negligence come into play. These rules differ state to state.

Comparative negligence: When both the driver and pedestrian share fault, they split the cost based on their share of the fault. For example, if a party is determined to be 60% at fault, they must pay 60% of the damages.

Contributory negligence: If the injured party contributed in any way to the injury, the defendant doesn't have to pay anything. The courts have been moving away from this approach.

One of the challenges of dealing with the aftermath of a pedestrian accident is handling these issues as they relate to an insurance claim. For that, an experienced personal injury attorney is a huge asset. Learn more here about what an injury attorney can do to help.