Today, because more people are out walking and jogging, there has been a dramatic rise in pedestrian accidents. While pedestrians always have the right of the way in some states, in other jurisdictions pedestrians are responsible for their own safety when crossing the street. Nonetheless, drivers also have a responsibility not to injure others while operating a motor vehicle. In addition to pedestrian-vehicle accidents, thousands of individuals are injured each year due to poorly maintained sidewalks, parking lots or debris on walkways. In either situation, it may be possible to recover damages for injuries that were caused by another party’s negligence.

Pedestrian-Vehicle Accidents

A key element in pedestrian-vehicle accident claims is the duty of care owed by the parties involved. Although drivers and pedestrians both have an obligation to abide by the rules of the road and exercise reasonable care, there are numerous factors involved in determining which party was negligent.

Drivers Duty of Care

Drivers must exercise reasonable care under the circumstances and operate their vehicles in a safe manner. By failing to do so, a driver can be found negligent. Examples of conduct that may be deemed negligent include, but are not limited to, distracted driving, speeding, failure to obey traffic signs or signals, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and failure to yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks. In short, a driver may be required to pay damages for personal injuries and property damage caused by his or her negligence.

Additionally, drivers are under a higher duty of care as it relates to children because they are smaller, less visible and can be unpredictable. The law requires a driver to exercise a greater degree of care when they know, or should know, that children are present, particularly when driving by schools, playgrounds, and residential areas.

Pedestrian’s Duty of Care

Pedestrians are also required to exercise reasonable care for their safety. The level of care must be proportionate to the avoidable danger and consequences that can be reasonably anticipated. Contributory negligence can be assessed against pedestrians who fail to exercise such care and contribute to their injuries. Examples of negligent pedestrian conduct include, but are not limited to, ignoring the walk signal at an intersection, failing to use marked crosswalks, and rushing in front of moving vehicles.

Other Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrians who are injured in non-vehicle related accidents may also be able to recover damages by pursuing a premises liability lawsuit. In short, owners of private and public property have a duty to maintain their property and to warn people of any hazards. In order to have a valid claim, an injured party must show that the owner knew, or should have known, about the hazardous condition, negligently failed to correct it, and that the hazard caused the injury.

Although injured pedestrians may be entitled to compensation, there are a number of factors involved in these claims such as whether the pedestrian was trespassing when the accident occurred. Moreover, a pedestrian who contributed to the accident, by ignoring a warning sign for example, may be found partially responsible, and will only receive partial compensation.

Recovering Damages in a Pedestrian Accident

Whether the injury was due to a vehicle related accident or a property defect, a pedestrian may recover damages if another person’s negligence caused or contributed to the injury. In order to establish negligence, it is necessary to show that the defendant (1) owed a legal duty to the plaintiff, (2) breached that duty through his or her action or inaction, (3) caused the accident involving plaintiff, and (4) injured or harmed the plaintiff.

Moreover, in a pedestrian accident there may be more that one responsible party, including the driver of a vehicle that strikes a pedestrian, property owner who failed to maintain a sidewalk, road or parking lot where the accident occurred, as well as the pedestrian. If you were injured in a pedestrian accident, a highly skilled personal injury attorney can help you obtain meaningful compensation.