It can be tricky trying to determine who is responsible for a motor vehicle accident. That is something that a personal injury lawyer deals with often. Although many people assume that being hit from behind in a car accident is a clear case of liability. Yet, every personal injury case is not the same. Many factors play a role in determining fault. When it comes to accidents involving pedestrians, there can be even more complicated issues. Ultimately, the driver is not always at fault when a pedestrian is hit.
Remain vigilant when pedestrians are close
Whenever a driver knows pedestrians are present or are likely to be nearby, the driver is expected to be extremely vigilant and maintain strict control of the vehicle. For example, a driver might be traveling only 25 miles an hour in a residential area, but if they see a child on a bike wobbling down the street, the driver is expected to slow down even more. If not, the driver may be liable for any resulting accident.
When can a pedestrian be held liable?
It should be obvious that a driver would take the necessary steps to avoid striking a pedestrian. But in situations where the pedestrian does something that makes it impossible for the driver to avoid striking the pedestrian, it could be the pedestrian who caused the accident. Put another way, when a pedestrian behaves in a way that forces a normal driver to take evasive measures to avoid a collision, the pedestrian could potentially be found liable.
The unseen dangers of distracted pedestrians
Our society is attached to their smart phones, so much that they cross the street without ever taking their eyes off their device. Pedestrians can be seen, especially in areas near colleges and universities, texting while walking, which can result in a person falling off the curb or even walking into traffic. While it is obviously necessary for pedestrians to be aware of their surroundings, drivers on the roadway must also be more diligent in avoiding these unique dangers.
How distracted pedestrians make the roadway dangerous
According to some studies, a pedestrian standing at a corner, who is distracted by their electronic device (whether texting or making a call) typically has at least a two-second delay before crossing the street. This can easily cause confusion for everyone at the intersection, especially the drivers. Also, because of these distractions, these pedestrians often do not make it all the way across the street before the light changes. Because they are oblivious to their surroundings, they create a dangerous situation for drivers. If you find yourself in this situation, contact a personal injury lawyer for assistance.
How are electronic devices so distracting to pedestrians
Studies show that injuries to distracted pedestrians are becoming more common. In one study, a professor from Polytechnic Institute of New York University it was found that an alarming number of cell phone users unknowingly stepped into a crosswalk while a vehicle was approaching. Pedestrians who are using cell phones or MP3 players not only become preoccupied with texting, talking, or listening to music, but they may also become isolated from the sounds of their surroundings, such as car horns, ambulance or police sirens and train whistles.
The general duty of care owed by every driver
Automobile drivers are always responsible for driving carefully. What is considered careful will typically depend on the given situation. For example, drivers are expected to slow down when it is raining. If a driver is traveling through a school zone, he or she is expected to maintain a proper lookout for children who may dart out into the roadway. The standard of care expected of a driver is that of a “normal, careful and prudent person would do in the same circumstances.” Since no two accidents are the same, the specific must be considered in determining liability.
The prevalence of pedestrian-related accidents
According to statistics on pedestrian accidents in the U.S., reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTHSA), at least 180,000 pedestrians were killed in car accidents between 1975 and 2005. In 2005 alone, 4,881 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents, and on average, a pedestrian is injured in a road accident every eight minutes. Many of these accidents could have been prevented if those victims were more attentive to their surroundings.
If you have questions regarding accidents involving pedestrians, or any other personal injury concerns in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a consultation, either online or by calling us as (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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