The Role of Negligence In Pedestrian Accident Cases: Establishing Fault

The Role of Negligence In Pedestrian Accident Cases: Establishing Fault

In an accident involving a vehicle and a pedestrian, the pedestrian will always sustain the most injuries. That’s because the pedestrian is more vulnerable than a driver due to not having steel buffers or the protection of seatbelts and airbags, which also often means that the fault is on the vehicle’s driver most of the time.

To truly establish fault in this situation, the court is guided by the principle of negligence. If you are involved in such an accident, get a qualified pedestrian accident lawyer to ensure you are fairly compensated – or else, you might walk away limping and empty-handed. 

What Is Negligence?

Many people think the English dictionary definition of negligence is the same as the legal meaning. The English dictionary defines negligence as failure to be cautious with your actions. On the other hand, the legal definition of negligence is failure to act carefully toward another person, as the average person would fall under the same conditions. Failure to exercise care includes one’s actions and failure to act.

How Can Contributory and Comparative Negligence Affect Your Case?

It’s normal to assume that the driver is the liable party in a pedestrian accident case. Sometimes, the defendant may claim the pedestrian was responsible for the accident. Depending on whether you live in a jurisdiction that exercises contributory or comparative negligence laws, shared fault will affect your damage award.

If you live in a contributory negligence state, you may have no claim for damages if you are even slightly responsible for the accident. On the other hand, if you live in a comparative negligence state, you can only claim damages proportional to the defendant’s share of liability.

However, in some comparative negligence states, you may fail to receive compensation if your liability level exceeds a certain percentage. For example, if the court determines that you are 50% liable for a pedestrian accident, you lose your chance for reimbursement.

What Are the Elements of Negligence?

To establish fault under negligence in a pedestrian accident, you must satisfy four conditions: legal duty, violation of duty, proximate cause, and compensation.

  • Legal Duty

When determining negligence, the court will establish whether the party at fault owed the victim a duty of care. In this case, a driver owes a pedestrian a legal obligation to exercise caution by driving safely. Similarly, the pedestrian owes the driver a legal duty to cross the road safely and walk on their lane.

  • Violation of Duty

Suppose the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care. In that case, the court will determine whether they violated their duty by acting contrary to how a reasonable person would under the same conditions.

  • Proximate Cause

For a negligence claim to succeed, the plaintiff must associate their injuries or losses with the defendant’s negligence. It isn’t enough for the defendant to act negligently; their behavior should affect the plaintiff adversely. For example, one cannot sue a driver who was negligently over-speeding if their actions didn’t lead to an accident.

  • Compensation

Finally, one of the most important elements of negligence is showing you should be reimbursed. The plaintiff should prove to the court that they deserve compensation for their injuries or losses.

What Are Some Ways A Driver Is Negligent for a Pedestrian Accident?

Some ways a driver may be held liable for a pedestrian accident include:

  • Exceeding the recommended alcohol level when driving
  • Exceeding the recommended speed limit
  • Driving while engaging in acts that draw their attention from the road
  • Ignoring traffic signs and lights
  • Failure to signal when turning
  • Failure to consider a pedestrian’s right of passage

What Are Some Ways a Pedestrian Can Be at Fault?

In some cases, the pedestrian will be deemed responsible for an accident. Here are some scenarios where a pedestrian violates their duty of care.

  • Jaywalking or walking in areas prohibited to pedestrians 
  • Walking while engaging in other acts that keep your eyes off the road when crossing the street
  • Failing to obey the traffic lights
  • Crossing the road while intoxicated

Talk to Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Today!

If you are involved in a pedestrian accident lawsuit, seeking legal counsel is in your best interest. For a breakdown of your legal options after a pedestrian accident, consult the Boohoff law group. We will help you ascertain the liability of the defendant. Furthermore, if you share responsibility for the accident, lawyers will only rest when you are adequately compensated.