Pedestrian accidents can be catastrophic. Even a low-impact collision with a vehicle can lead to extensive injuries and disability. Although there are many causes for these types of accidents, some are more common and could be the fault of a driver or even the pedestrian.
When a Driver is at Fault for a Pedestrian Accident
Motorists are expected to drive with caution when pedestrians are present. But even if they aren’t, drivers who operate their vehicles as if one could appear at any moment. Remaining observant at all times behind the wheel can prevent many of these accidents.
Oftentimes it is carelessness that causes a pedestrian accident. For instance, a driver making a left or right turn may fail to first check to see if someone is approaching or is already crossing. Some motorists might turn without using a signal. Busy intersections can be especially risky. Distractions are another common cause of pedestrian accidents.
Drivers who aren’t completely paying attention to their surroundings have an increased risk of striking someone or something, examples include:
- changing dials;
- talking on a cell phone;
- texting; or
- reaching for an object.
Recklessness also accounts for a significant number of crashes, these actions demonstrate disregard for the safety of others and can include:
- driving while impaired; or
- indifference to traffic signals, signs or laws.
When Pedestrians are at Fault for the Accident
Although many times drivers are at fault for these types of crashes, the pedestrian could cause the accident, too. This could be the case if a pedestrian unexpectedly steps or darts into traffic. It may not allow enough time for a motorist to react. Distractions like listening to music or talking on a cell phone could increase risk of these incidents.
A failure to use a crosswalk is another common cause. Crossing in the middle of a street is especially dangerous when someone walks out from between parked cars or other objects obscuring the pedestrian from oncoming vehicles.
Walking against signals is another cause, or even trying to beat a light or signal. Many assume that pedestrians always have the right-of-way. But that isn’t necessarily true.
Determining Fault in a Pedestrian/Motor Vehicle Accident
Some of these accidents are strictly the fault of either the pedestrian or the driver. But in some cases it could be determined that both contributed to the accident. For instance, the driver failed to signal before turning but the pedestrian was also crossing against the light.
When this happens, a degree of fault will need to be assigned to both parties. Under Pennsylvania law, if anyone’s responsibility reaches 51 percent, that party cannot recover damages. Of course, if the individual is found to be partly responsible, compensation that is recoverable would be reduced by that party’s percentage of fault.
Therefore, it’s critical to assemble enough proof to show the other party was at fault. This could include a police report, statements from witnesses and photographs.
With so much at stake, it’s also a good idea to seek legal advice. Cordisco & Saile LLC can help by reviewing all evidence regarding the cause of the pedestrian accident and helping establish fault. An attorney can also explain the injured person’s legal options to recover damages. Call us to set up a consultation: 215-642-2335.