Car vs. Pedestrian Accident Liability
Being a driver, you’re required to be cautious when you’re on the road, and when there are pedestrians around or near you, you need to be extra careful. Car accidents involving pedestrians are relatively common. Car versus pedestrian accidents may result in grave injuries to people and severe damage to property. Sometimes, the crash may be your fault, and sometimes, it can be the pedestrian’s fault. Whoever is responsible, he/she will face criminal and civil liability. When you get involved in a car versus pedestrian accident, it’s essential that you know what to do and what the law says about liability in a car versus pedestrian accident.
Duty of Care of the Driver
As a driver, you’re responsible for driving with the suitable amount of care no matter what happens. This duty is referred to as the duty of due care or reasonable care.
Your duties as a driver:
1. Be vigilant
You are expected to be prepared for any possible problem while on the road by being constantly vigilant. You should be alert to any potential hazards, pedestrians, and other vehicles on the way.
2. Know how to control your vehicle
You are expected to have total control of your vehicle. You’ll be considered negligent if you’re unable to control your car and cause it to overturn or leave the road for no mechanical reason. You’ll also be viewed negligent if you get caught using your mobile devices, eating, or drinking while driving.
3. You shouldn’t drive while under the influence
It’s considered a criminal offense if you get caught driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You will get fined and incarcerated.
Accidents Caused by Pedestrians
As a driver, you should take any practical precaution to avoid striking a pedestrian. However, there are times pedestrians act in a way that makes it impossible for anyone to avoid hitting them.
What pedestrians do that might result in them getting hit:
- Crossing the road drunk
1,547 pedestrians who get killed by getting hit by a car have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher.
- Wearing dark clothes at night
Almost 50 percent of pedestrians get hit by a car while wearing dark clothes at night. They are harder to spot, especially on streets with poor lighting.
- Using mobile devices
Eight percent of pedestrians are texting, calling, or playing on the phone while crossing the road.
If a pedestrian does any of these things while crossing the road and it resulted in an accident where you hit him/her, another vehicle, or property, he/she may be found liable for the damages and injuries.
What are Your Potential Liabilities for Hitting a Pedestrian?
If you end up hitting a pedestrian, you might be facing criminal and civil liabilities.
1- Civil Liability
A pedestrian who gets hit by you when you are driving has the right to sue for injuries and damages that he/she sustained because of the accident. The losses that he/she can claim are:
- Medical Expenses
You need to pay for his/her medical expenses when he/she gets treatment or hospitalized because of the accident.
- Lost Wages
You need to pay for the wages that he/she will lose because he/she is unable to work.
- Emotional Distress
He/she may be traumatized because of the accident, and you’ll be liable to pay for his/her therapy.
2. Criminal Liability
This refers to the state’s right to prosecute for the damages that you caused the state when you broke the law. You may be criminally liable when:
- Driving under the influence
You’re criminally liable if you’ve hit a pedestrian while you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Driving without or with an expired license
The state can prosecute you if you were driving with an expired license or you drove without one when you’ve hit a person.
- Hit and run
If you’ve hit a person and ran away, you’ll get charged with hit and run.
The Blame is Shared
In most situations in a collision that involves a driver and a pedestrian, they are the same, they are both responsible and are at fault. There’s not one person who is entirely guilty and another person who is entirely innocent. When this happens, the jury will figure out the degree the pedestrian and driver are responsible for the accident. The amount of percentage of fault that each party has would be equal to the amount that they should pay for the injuries and damages. If you, the driver, is found to be sixty percent at fault and the pedestrian is found to be forty percent responsible, you’ll have to pay for sixty percent of the damages or injuries, and he/she has to pay the forty percent.
As a driver, you should be careful and cautious while you’re on the road. It’s your responsibility to be vigilant, have full control of your car, and never drive while you’re under the influence or distracted. Even though it’s not your intention to hit a pedestrian, when this happens, you should keep calm and never lose your wits.
If you’re faced in this kind of situation and don’t know what to do, this website might be helpful for you.
By Jean Clark
Jean Clark is a professional writer and loves anything to do with law in business or in the public. She is family oriented, and she loves spending her free time with her family.