When Could Pedestrians Be at Fault for a Car Accident?
In many pedestrian accidents, the driver is found to be at fault. Drivers are often not paying attention in areas with heavy pedestrian traffic and to make matters worse, sometimes they may be speeding.
However, there may be times when pedestrians could be found at fault for getting in an accident with a motor vehicle. An experienced lawyer from the Lynch Law Firm, PC is prepared to evaluate your claim and help determine who may have been at fault.
Pedestrian Accidents in New Jersey
Pedestrian car accident deaths have been a growing problem in New Jersey. In 2017, pedestrian deaths accounted for 29.3 percent of all traffic fatalities in the state, making New Jersey one of the most dangerous states for pedestrians.
The years since then have not been much better. In 2018, pedestrian deaths accounted for more than 35 percent of traffic fatalities. In 2019, that figure increased to more than 38 percent.
One of the main reasons for pedestrian accidents in New Jersey is people crossing roads where it is prohibited. Many of these accidents occur during nighttime hours when it is dark outside, and drivers may not be able to see pedestrians. Additionally, many pedestrians are distracted by their cellphones, music or other things and may not pay attention when walking.
Impairment from drugs and alcohol is also a contributing factor to many pedestrian cases and it is not always drivers who are impaired. Pedestrians may choose not to drive to avoid getting a DUI, but their impairment may cause them to stumble into the roadway in the path of a moving vehicle.
Cities and municipalities may be able to reduce the number of pedestrian fatalities by taking proactive measures, such as:
- Increasing lighting in pedestrian-heavy areas
- Adding more crosswalk signs
- Adding fencing to medians to prevent jaywalking
- Reminding drivers, it is state law to stop for pedestrians at crosswalks
Negligent Actions by Pedestrians
Pedestrians and drivers alike have a legal duty to exercise reasonable care and to take reasonable steps to avoid an accident. If either party fails to uphold this duty, he or she may be liable to another person he or she has harmed.
Some negligent actions by pedestrians that can cause or contribute to auto accidents may include:
- Crossing the street in prohibited areas
- Crossing the street before the traffic signal indicates it is safe to proceed
- Crossing when doing so would impede traffic
- Jaywalking in other ways that violates the rules of the road
- Walking while intoxicated
- Not looking before crossing
- Running into a street
- Wearing dark clothing while walking
Partial Fault for an Accident
In many accidents, the driver and the pedestrian are both found to be partially at fault. If this situation arises, the accident victim may still be able to pursue compensation for damages. In New Jersey, if the victim was less than 50 percent at fault for the accident, he or she can still pursue compensation.
The opposing side will try to prove that the victim was mostly or partially at fault. If it can successfully prove that the other party was 50 percent or more at fault, the victim will have no claim for the damages he or she has suffered, such as property damage, medical expenses and lost wages. Even if the other side cannot prove that the victim was mostly to blame, the other side will try to show that the victim was partially at fault. The opposition wants the jury to attribute a large percentage of the fault to the victim so that their own liability is reduced proportionately. For example, if the victim suffered $100,000 in damages and the defendant can show the victim was 40 percent responsible for the accident, the most the victim could receive would be $60,000.
The jury determines the percentage of fault between multiple parties. The jury assesses the evidence that each side presents to make this important determination. Helpful evidence to establish fault may include:
- Security or traffic camera footage
- Dash cam recorded footage
- Electronically stored data in the vehicle
- Property damage
- Location of debris from the wreck
- Skid marks, which can indicate when braking started and the approximate speed the vehicle was traveling
Contact the Lynch Law Firm, PC for Assistance
If you were injured in a pedestrian-versus-car accident, consider contacting an experienced New Jersey personal injury lawyer from the Lynch Law Firm, PC. We can discuss your claim during a free consultation and establish whether the driver of the car or the pedestrian was likely at fault and to what extent.
Contact us today to get started. (800) 518-0508