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How is Fault Determined in Pedestrian Accidents?

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pedestrian crossing the street

If a person crossing the street gets hit by a car, a majority of people will assume that the driver is at fault. After all, they were the ones operating the vehicle. However, pedestrian accidents can occur for several reasons and the liability may fall on the driver or a number of other people involved either directly or indirectly with the accident. If you are involved in a case related to a pedestrian accident, contact a New Jersey pedestrian accident lawyer for assistance.

What is a Pedestrian Accident?

A pedestrian accident is any accident involving a person walking, running, or just not in a vehicle being struck by a car, bike, truck, motorcycle, bus, tram, etc. To be considered a pedestrian accident, the injured party simply has to have not been in or on any type of vehicle.

How Can Pedestrian Accidents Occur?

Pedestrian accidents can occur in a multitude of settings and for a variety of reasons. Whether you are in a rural neighborhood, suburb, or busy city street, an accident can happen. Some of the more common reasons a pedestrian accident can occur are as follows.

  • Distracted driving
    • Texting, calling, eating, or drinking can cause the driver to be distracted from the road in front of them and result in an accident.
  • Intoxicated driving
    • Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can impact the vision and reaction time of the driver causing them to hit a pedestrian.
  • Speeding
    • Excessive speeding can lessen the time a driver has to react to a pedestrian in the road.
  • Weather
    • Rain and snow can impair the driver’s ability to adequately see the road and any hazards such as a pedestrian.
  • Disregard of road rules
    • Running a red light or stop sign or failing to yield can result in an accident.
  • Road design
    • A lack of proper signs, poorly maintained roads, and insufficient lighting could create an environment where a driver injures a pedestrian.
  • Pedestrian actions
    • Disregard of pedestrian rules such as darting out into the middle of the street can cause a driver to be unable to react in time to avoid an accident.

Is a Pedestrian Ever Liable for a Crash?

Liability can fall on the driver, local government, a property owner, or even the pedestrian who was injured. But how can it be their fault that they got hit by a car, for example? There are road rules for pedestrians as well as drivers. If a pedestrian violates the law and ends up being injured because of it, a court may deem them liable. The following examples could result in the pedestrian being liable for the accident.

  • Jaywalking
  • Crossing the street when they do not have a walking light
  • Walking while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Walking in an area that is restricted to pedestrians

To determine liability a court will examine the details of the case and all evidence to find out how the accident occurred and why. Liability is important because it will determine if the pedestrian is owed damages and who must pay them their compensation.

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