When most people think about an accident involving a pedestrian, the assumption is generally that the driver of the vehicle was acting negligently, resulting in their collision with the pedestrian. While this is frequently the case, it is not the rule. Pedestrians can act just as negligently as a driver. If you were involved in a motor vehicle accident because of a careless pedestrian, you do have options.
Just how difficult your battle will be has everything to do with determining fault. Whether your accident case is settled privately with an insurance company or in a courtroom, there must be a determination of fault. This process basically designates who is at fault for the accident. In the case of accidents involving pedestrians, the conditions in which the accident occur will determine who was at fault.
For example, if you hit a pedestrian who was walking across a designated crosswalk, it's hard to say that the pedestrian was at fault. However, if you hit a pedestrian who was intoxicated and decided to run across the street, that is an entirely different scenario and you will typically not be held at fault.
Degree of Fault
Even after a determination of fault has been assigned, the next step is determining the degree of fault. Most accidents involving pedestrians will either be determined as contributory or comparative negligence. In simple terms, contributory negligence is all-or-nothing. For example, in a case where you were driving the speed limit and an intoxicated pedestrian ran across the street, the entire blame could be placed on them.
However, with comparative negligence it's not quite as simple because blame is shared. Using the same example, if you were speeding, this means that both of you are partially at fault, resulting in comparative negligence,
When your actions did not solely cause an accident, you have a right to be compensated for any of your injuries or for any damage to your personal property. In many instances, the degree at which you are held negligent determines how this compensation is awarded. In cases of contributory negligence, you can typically go after the pedestrian's insurance provider. However, with comparative negligence you may have to file a civil suit against the pedestrian to be awarded compensation.
If you have been involved in an accident with a pedestrian, don't assume that you don't have any options. A motor vehicle accident lawyer, such as Shaevitz Shaevitz & Kotzamanis, can help you get to the bottom of the incident and ensure you are fairly compensated.