In a pedestrian accident, it may seem obvious who is at fault. The car travels much faster and the driver is far less likely to be injured in a crash. Often, the driver of the car is seen as responsible for these accidents.
Unfortunately, these injury lawsuits are rarely straightforward situations where pedestrians can receive immediate compensation.
For a pedestrian accident victim to get compensation for medical bills and lost income, proving that someone else’s actions directly led to their injuries and losses is a requirement.
What Injured Pedestrians Have to Prove to Recover Damages
In all injury cases, it is apparent that the victim provides clear evidence of negligence. Negligence means failure to exercise appropriate and/or ethical ruled care expected to be exercised amongst specified circumstances. If someone’s negligence contributed to an accident, they can be held liable for the costs.
Below are four elements that the injury victim must prove to legally establish negligence in a pedestrian crash case:
- The person at fault owed the victim a duty of care. This tenant of an injury case establishes that the negligent party was responsible for acting as safely as possible under the circumstances. If the person at fault is a driver, proof of this duty is contained in state traffic laws that require drivers to be always capable and alert.
- The person at fault breached the duty of care. Many actions that fail to uphold the duty of care constitute negligence, such as driving distracted, speeding, ignoring traffic signs or signals, and driving while intoxicated.
- The at-fault party’s negligence caused the victim’s injuries. Negligence is not enough to win a claim. The breach of care must have directly led to the injuries the pedestrian suffered. For example, texting at the time of the crash may be a direct cause, but sending a text three minutes before the accident is likely not a cause of the crash.
- The victim suffered actual harm. Victims must provide evidence of the economic losses they suffered as a result of their injuries, such as financial hardship, increased medical bills, permanent disability, and other costs.
Who Should Be Held Liable for a Pedestrian’s Injuries?
Determining who is responsible for the accident can be done in large part by using the legal procedure for demonstrating negligence. In many cases, pedestrians file injury claims against the driver of the car that struck them. However, there are many other parties who could have played a role in the accident, including:
The local municipality. In some cases, a city government may share responsibility for a crash. Public entities may be liable for accidents involving poorly-placed crosswalks, malfunctioning traffic control devices, ineffective sidewalk or parking lot maintenance, and other safety hazards.
A product manufacturer. You may be able to file a product liability claim if a malfunctioning device caused you to veer into the path of oncoming traffic, such as a scooter or skateboard.
Another person or entity. A pedestrian usually does not have a right to enter the street outside of a crosswalk. If someone was struck because he or she could not use the crosswalk, the case may name additional parties that made safe sidewalk travel impossible.
The pedestrians who contribute in some way to their injuries may be assigned a portion of negligence. In Florida, plaintiffs can share blame for the collision and still prevail in their injury claims, but their damages will be reduced in proportion to their level of fault.