Hitting A Pedestrian: It's Not Always Your Fault

When it comes to a vehicle based personal injury case that also involves a pedestrian, most people naturally assume that the person at fault is always the driver of the vehicle, and for good reason. Most of the time, the driver in the case is usually at fault for such accidents and as such, is liable for any injuries incurred by the pedestrian. However, the claim that the pedestrian always has the right of way is simply not the case, and there are some instances where a pedestrian will be found to be liable for damages incurred by the vehicle. This brief article will serve to inform you of cases and how a pedestrian might be at fault for damages incurred during such accidents.

Determining Fault

First and foremost, if a pedestrian claims fault for a case, then clearly it is his or her fault. If this is the case, the driver of the automobile can many times sue the pedestrian under the auspice of a personal injury suit and recover at least part of the damages incurred by the vehicle. This is not to say that this is the only time that a pedestrian will be found at fault for damages.

There are many contingencies that determine whether or not the pedestrian was at fault or not. One of the first things that will be determined is if a pedestrian was using the crosswalk to cross the road. If a crosswalk is available and it is determined that a pedestrian did not use the crosswalk, he or she could be held liable for a certain percentage of the damage incurred by the vehicle.

Similarly, crossing against a traffic signal, which is to say crossing the street when the crossing signal is clearly telling you to stop, may also play a large factor in whether or not the pedestrian will be held responsible for paying any of the damages of the vehicle driver. Erratic movements, such as quickly leaping in front of the path of a car or walking on pathways in which pedestrian travel is forbidden (such as certain bridges and Interstate paths) also play a significant role in determining whether or not the pedestrian should pay for damages.

Comparative Negligence

There are, generally speaking, two forms of shared faults that can be determined. The first of these, and by far the most common form of liability or fault you will find in such cases, is comparative negligence.

When the comparative negligence rule is invoked, this essentially means that the person who is at fault for the most amount of damages for their claim will receive said damages, but the percentage for which that person is responsible for the other person's damages will be reduced in said claim.

In other words, if a vehicle driver hits a pedestrian and both are found at fault, but perhaps the vehicle driver is found to be comparatively "more" at fault, then the vehicle driver will have to pay the pedestrian's medical bills, but said amount will be reduced by the amount of damage that the pedestrian caused to the vehicle.

Contributory Negligence

Contributory negligence is a much less common rule, and is only invoked by three states and the District of Columbia. It is an "all or nothing" rule. This is to say, only one party will be considered liable, in which case the party will pay all of the bills incurred by the damage to which they caused in the personal injury suit, or neither party is responsible, in which both parties pay for their own damages.

Not all cases will find the driver of an automobile liable in personal injury cases involving an automobile and a pedestrian, but, as you have seen, most of them will. For more information about liability in personal injury cases involving an automobile and a pedestrian, consult with a lawyer from a law office like John Tamming Law Office.