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Cars and pedestrians are often at odds on the road. But when accidents occur, how do you figure out who's at fault?
In car v. pedestrian accidents, both the driver and the injured pedestrian typically try to blame each other. And with accidents like a recent hit-and-run in Pittsburgh that resulted in a Penn State student's death, you can see why.
In less clear cases, how can you tell which party is legally to blame?
Driver Was Negligent
When a car hits a pedestrian, it's often due to the driver's lack of reasonable care while driving, or negligence.
Generally, drivers owe a duty of care to pedestrians, cyclists, and other motorists. This duty can be breached, for example, by:
A driver also has an additional legal duty to take greater care around young children who are unpredictable around vehicles, and can be at fault for not taking extra precautions in areas where children are present.
Pedestrian Was Negligent
Even though they do less damage than cars, pedestrians can be to blame for accidents when they are negligent. Generally, pedestrians are expected to act like reasonable people in guarding their own safety.
Common negligent mistakes by pedestrians include:
Pedestrians are also expected to remain alert to traffic conditions and not solely rely on signals.
Both Parties Were Negligent
Most contentious accidents involve some level of fault from both the pedestrian and the driver. In such cases, contributory and comparative negligence theories enable courts to decide who should pay depending on how much they were at fault.
The rules of comparative or contributory negligence are different based on each state, but the three types are:
Determining fault in a car v. pedestrian accident can be difficult, but it's often key to getting compensation for damage or injuries. That's why you may want to consult an experienced car accident lawyer to help figure out who was at fault and how to proceed with your particular case.