Liability in a Crosswalk Collision
By Lynn Fugaro, Staff Writer
Being a pedestrian on a busy city street a few years ago was dangerous enough, but now, with so much technology at everyone’s fingertips, walking on a roadway while using your phone or trying to cross a street with distracted drivers all around you is life threatening.
We have all seen people crossing streets while looking down at their phones, and we have all seen drivers plowing through crosswalks because they’re going too fast or distracted by their phone—completely unaware of how close they are to the car or person right in front of them. Determining liability in a crosswalk collision can be a difficult task, but the very technology that is distracting drivers and pedestrians is also providing accident investigators more evidence to prove fault in pedestrian accidents.
Let’s take a look at crosswalk collisions from the point of view of the pedestrian who is seriously injured in an accident through no fault of his own. If you’re injured in an accident while crossing a street and have medical expenses and lost time from work, you may have a valid legal claim against the driver who hit you. While a lot of major roads now have crosswalks in place to allow pedestrians to cross a busy street without being hit by a car, using crosswalks does not always keep pedestrians safe.
Who is at Fault in the Crosswalk Collision?
The law of negligence is used to determine liability in crosswalk collisions, and the law of negligence states that a person who fails to exercise a reasonable standard of care under certain circumstances may be deemed “negligent” in the eyes of the law. Liability simply indicates who is at fault.
States have different ways of dealing with negligence, so it’s important that your pedestrian accident attorney explains this to you during your initial consultation. Some states follow a “comparative negligence” rule, which means, basically, that a pedestrian may collect damages even if he was partly at fault for the accident. Other states have what is called “contributory negligence,” which means that if the pedestrian were even just slightly responsible for the collision, then he cannot collect compensation from the other side’s insurance company.
In many states, an injured pedestrian can file a claim against the driver's (or owner's) auto liability insurance policy as almost all states require that vehicle owners and drivers carry liability insurance to cover personal injuries to third parties and damage to the property of third parties.
“No fault” states require insurance companies to pay for medical expenses and lost wages of those policyholders, regardless of who is at fault. In some states, this type of insurance is known as Personal Injury Protection or PIP.
Determining liability in a pedestrian crosswalk collision is a complex process, but a pedestrian accident attorney will have the knowledge and experience to navigate through the paperwork, filings, investigation, interviewing, and negotiations that accompany all personal injury claims that result in serious injury or death.