What Happens If a Pedestrian Caused an Accident?
When a car collides with a pedestrian, we typically tend to assume the driver is to blame for hitting the person walking. While pedestrians are more difficult to see and more vulnerable to catastrophic or fatal injuries in such collisions, they are not always innocent victims. In some situations, a pedestrian can cause a driver to hit them, resulting in injuries and damages for the driver. Further, a negligent pedestrian might cause a driver to swerve and hit another vehicle, causing additional damage and injuries.
If you believe a pedestrian caused your accident and injuries, you should discuss the matter with a Wisconsin, Car accident attorney as soon as possible. These are often complex and disputed cases, so the right legal assistance is essential.
Examples of Pedestrian Liability
Pedestrian liability in accidents refers to situations where a pedestrian may have responsibility for an accident with a motorist or other parties. While pedestrians are generally afforded certain protections, there are instances where their behavior can contribute to a car accident.
Here are some examples of pedestrian liability, which often involve violating Wisconsin pedestrian laws:
- Jaywalking: Crossing a street outside of designated crosswalks or against traffic signals can be a significant factor in pedestrian accidents. If a pedestrian is hit while jaywalking, they may bear some liability for the incident.
- Ignoring walk signals: Disregarding pedestrian signals at crosswalks and intersections can lead to accidents. If a pedestrian crosses when the “Do Not Walk” signal is active and is subsequently hit, they may be partially liable.
- Intoxication: If a pedestrian is under the influence of alcohol or drugs and their impaired judgment contributes to an accident, they may share liability.
- Distracted walking: Just as distracted driving is dangerous, so is distracted walking. If a pedestrian is using a smartphone or otherwise distracted and this contributes to an accident, they may bear some responsibility.
- Walking on roadways: Pedestrians are generally expected to use sidewalks or designated pedestrian areas. If they choose to walk on the roadway, especially in areas without sidewalks and are subsequently involved in an accident, they may be deemed partially liable.
- Sudden entry into traffic: If a pedestrian suddenly enters a roadway without giving a motorist reasonable time to react, they may share liability if an accident occurs.
- Failure to yield the right of way: Pedestrians must yield the right of way to vehicles in certain situations, such as when crossing outside of designated crosswalks.
- Wearing dark clothing at night: Pedestrians are encouraged to wear visible and reflective clothing, especially at night. If a pedestrian is wearing dark or non-reflective clothing and is involved in an accident, they may share some liability.
The specifics of each case can vary, and determining liability in pedestrian accidents often requires a thorough investigation and legal analysis. Consulting with an experienced injury attorney is crucial to understanding your rights and responsibilities in such situations.
Proving Liability in an Accident Caused by a Pedestrian
Proving liability in an accident caused by a pedestrian involves establishing that the pedestrian’s actions directly contributed to the occurrence of the accident. Generally, you must prove the pedestrian was negligent under the circumstances, and the elements of negligence are:
- The pedestrian owed you a duty of care, such as following state traffic laws and rules
- The pedestrian breached their duty of care, such as walking when they had a “Do Not Walk” signal
- Their breach of duty caused the accident
- You suffered injuries and damages in the crash
While a pedestrian’s negligence might seem obvious to you, insurance companies and courts require evidence of negligence to determine liability. Your accident attorney can gather the necessary evidence to prove a pedestrian’s liability.
Comparative Negligence in a Pedestrian Accident
Even if a pedestrian bears some liability, the motorist involved may also have a share of responsibility, depending on the circumstances. In Wisconsin, the legal principle of comparative negligence applies in pedestrian accident cases. This means that if a pedestrian is partially at fault for the accident, their compensation may be reduced in proportion to their degree of negligence. On the other hand, if a driver is partially responsible for a collision, their compensation might decrease.
Navigating cases involving comparative negligence can be complex, as determining the exact percentage of fault is a complex process. Factors like traffic signals, pedestrian behavior, and driver actions all play a crucial role in establishing liability.
Engaging the services of an experienced pedestrian accident attorney in Wisconsin is even more important in these cases. Our attorneys can assess your circumstances, gather evidence, and build a strong case to ensure that your rights and potential compensation are protected under the law. Additionally, we can negotiate with insurance companies and represent your interests in court if necessary.
Recoverable Damages in a Pedestrian-Caused Accident
Both drivers can suffer injuries when they hit a pedestrian or another vehicle when trying to avoid a pedestrian. Such injuries regularly lead to economic and non-economic losses.
Recoverable damages in a pedestrian-caused accident refer to the compensatory awards that an injured party may seek in a legal claim against the pedestrian responsible for the incident.
These damages aim to restore the victim to their pre-accident state, both financially and physically. They typically cover various categories of losses:
- Medical expenses constitute a significant portion of recoverable damages. This covers costs related to hospitalization, surgeries, medication, rehabilitation, and ongoing treatments necessitated by the accident.
- Lost wages or income are recoverable, including future earnings, if the victim’s earning capacity is permanently affected.
- Pain and suffering represent non-economic damages, accounting for the physical and emotional distress endured due to the accident. This encompasses pain, trauma, anxiety, and diminished quality of life resulting from the injuries sustained. Property damage, if applicable, may also be included.
Seeking professional legal guidance ensures that victims receive fair compensation for their losses in pedestrian-caused accidents. Insurance companies often try to minimize claims, especially if it involves a driver seeking compensation from a pedestrian. Insurance coverage might also be complicated when a pedestrian is at fault, as they might not have auto coverage, and your attorney might have to explore other avenues for seeking compensation.
When Is It Considered the Driver’s Fault in a Pedestrian Accident?
Drivers can also be to blame for pedestrian accidents, meaning the injured pedestrian will have the right to seek compensation for their losses from the driver’s auto insurance. Some examples of driver negligence that can lead to a pedestrian collision include:
- Distracted driving
- Not obeying “Walk” signals
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Aggressive driving
- Impaired driving
While a driver might be watching for other vehicles on the road, they might not pay close enough attention to pedestrians alongside the road or at intersections. When drivers fail to stop at crosswalks when pedestrians have the right of way, it can result in severe and costly injuries.
Pedestrians have no protection in a collision with a motor vehicle, and they often suffer multiple points of impact – with the car, pavement, or other objects. Pedestrians might suffer multiple traumatic injuries from a single collision, requiring extensive and costly medical care.
Just like you have the right to seek compensation if a pedestrian causes an accident, pedestrians also have this right when a driver causes a collision. In either situation, injured victims must always consult with a trusted and experienced injury attorney who can assess liability and options for possible compensation.
Get Help from Our Lawyers for Pedestrian Accidents
Most pedestrian accidents are preventable, and either the driver’s or pedestrian’s negligence is the reason the incident happened. Negligent parties should be liable for the harm they cause on the road under Wisconsin’s fault-based auto insurance system. However, obtaining the compensation you deserve from a negligent party’s insurer can be much more challenging than you might imagine.
You need the right legal help from our firm, as we can:
- Identify liable parties
- Gather evidence of liability, including police reports, video footage, witness statements, and medical evidence
- File insurance claims and negotiate for a fair settlement
- File a lawsuit in civil court if insurers will not make a fair offer or admit liability
Contact Our Office to Discuss Your Case with a WI Car Accident Attorney
Never face a pedestrian accident claim alone, as insurance companies regularly take advantage of unrepresented claimants. You do not want to risk leaving money on the table that you deserve, so you should immediately get the medical help you need and then contact our team at Mingo & Yankala. We offer free consultations and can assess your situation.