The first thought you might have when hearing about a car striking a pedestrian is that the driver of the vehicle must be at fault. This may be because of the obvious discrepancies between the sizes of a vehicle and person as well as between the severity of the injuries incurred by a driver and pedestrian. In a car/pedestrian accident, the pedestrian is usually the party who is injured most severely, and pedestrians are extremely vulnerable to cars on the road. All that being said, pedestrians can still be found partially, or wholly, at fault for an accident with a vehicle.
Determining FaultThere are many factors that can indicate a driver is at fault in an accident – speeding, failing to follow traffic lights and signals, making an incorrect turn, etc. At any moment, a driver can have a lapse in judgement and cause an accident, but so can a pedestrian. It can seem difficult to determine who is at fault in an accident, but it boils down to the basic principles of negligence. Every person is expected to exercise a reasonable amount of care under certain circumstances. Both drivers and pedestrians are supposed to follow the rules of the road. The party failing to follow the rules and exercise reasonable care can be found to be at fault if an accident results. A pedestrian might cause an accident by failing to obey traffic signals and walking across the roadway when he or she is not supposed to. Or, the pedestrian might cross the road outside of the designated crosswalk without yielding to the right of way to vehicles. At the same time a pedestrian might be incorrectly walking across the road, a driver still has the duty to react to the situation and avoid the accident. Drivers must take measures to prevent injuring others on the road.
Sharing FaultDetermining fault is not always easy. It is possible that both parties can contribute to the cause of the accident. Florida lawmakers were able to anticipate this co-responsibility for accidents and have made Florida a pure comparative negligence state. This means that even if you are partly responsible for your own injury, you are not barred from recovering compensation from the other at-fault parties. Instead, the amount of damages you receive is reduced by the percentage of fault for which you are responsible. If you have been injured in a car accident, whether as a pedestrian or driver, there are options available to you. Pedestrians cannot just assume they are innocent of fault and neither can drivers. Every case is unique and must be examined thoroughly and treated according to the law. The personal injury attorneys at Dennis Hernandez & Associates know that accidents can be frustrating, especially when determining who is at fault. It is our mission to help you pursue the compensation you deserve under the circumstances. Contact us today for a consultation.
(image courtesy of Scott Webb)