We’re told all the time that sitting at a desk all day is bad for our health, and that getting out of the office for a stroll is essential for our well-being. But even walking can be dangerous, especially along heavily-trafficked city streets.
So can a pedestrian injured in an accident sue? And how do you figure out who’s at fault?
Pedestrian v. Car
If a pedestrian is struck by a car, any legal liability will rest on whether the driver was negligent in causing the collision. You can demonstrate driver negligence by proving that he or she was speeding or disobeying traffic signals, failed to yield to pedestrians, was distracted or inattentive, or was intoxicated at the time of the accident. Generally speaking, if the driver was negligent you can be compensated for any injuries sustained in the accident.
Pedestrian v. Bike
Cars aren’t the only danger to pedestrians — as more people are biking around these days, the number of cyclist-pedestrian collisions has increased. As with motorist accidents, an injured pedestrian would need to show a cyclist was negligent in order to have a successful injury claim. For the most part, those on bicycles have to follow the same laws as those in cars, so if a cyclist was speeding through a red light, riding against traffic, or failing to pay attention, he or she could have been negligent. And while there are some instances where cyclists can ride on the sidewalk, they must still ride responsibly.
Motorist or Cyclist v. Pedestrian
Not every pedestrian accident is someone else’s fault. The more we’re looking down at our phones while walking, the more we can be at fault for a collision with a bike or car. There are cases when a motorist can sue a pedestrian after an accident, and courts can deal with pedestrian liability a bit differently depending on where you live. Some states have pure contributory negligence laws which make it impossible for an injured party to recover any damages if she was at all responsible for the accident. Other states try to apportion the amount a plaintiff can recover to her percentage of fault under comparative negligence laws. Knowing the difference between contributory and comparative negligence can be essential to your injury claim.
Any personal injury lawsuit can be complicated, especially those involving a pedestrian. If you’ve been injured as a pedestrian, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney near you — most are willing to consult with you about your case for free.
- Injured in an accident? Get your claim reviewed by an attorney for free. (Consumer Injury)
- Top 10 Deadliest Cities for Pedestrians: Study (FindLaw’s Injured)
- Do You Walk and Text? Research Shows the Dangers of Distracted Walking (FindLaw’s Injured)
- ‘Cash Cab’ Crash Kills Vancouver Pedestrian (FindLaw’s Injured)