4 Important Things To Know About Pedestrian/Car Accidents
A pedestrian vs. vehicle accident may be more nuanced than a car vs. car accident. Minnesota is a no-fault car insurance state. This means that each person’s auto insurance covers much of the damage caused in an auto-only accident. However, a pedestrian accident is based on who is at fault – sometimes it is the driver, and sometimes it is the pedestrian. It’s not always clear who is at fault when a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle. Here are four important pieces of information that you need to know if you or someone you know has been struck by a vehicle.
1. Who Is Responsible
The person who caused the accident is the one who will have to pay the damages caused by the accident. That person is legally said to be liable. The biggest challenge in this type of accident is proving who is responsible. It’s incredibly beneficial to have a professional personal injury attorney assist you after an accident between a vehicle and a pedestrian.
2. Breaching the Duty of Care
When we drive a vehicle or walk down the sidewalk we have a duty of care – a responsibility to not bring harm upon other people. If you walk into a crosswalk without looking are you projecting a duty of care or negligence? If you are driving your car and looking for your cellphone are you projecting a duty of care or are you being a negligent driver?
Each party will have to prove that they provided an appropriate duty of care and that they were not negligent. That can be difficult because many times the balance of duty of care vs. negligence does not rest 100 percent on one party or the other. And sometimes that balance is not just about the driver vs. the pedestrian – it can also include governmental agencies. In that situation, the burden of negligence may be split three or more ways.
3. Actions that Can Cause Breach of Duty of Care for Pedestrians
Traffic laws are in place to direct drivers, so they operate a vehicle in a predictable way. Those traffic laws also help to define how pedestrians are to behave while interacting within traffic zones – city streets, freeways, etc. Situations that can cause pedestrians to be at fault or liable for a traffic accident include:
- Jaywalking – crossing the street outside a crosswalk
- Walking on the shoulder of a freeway
- Crossing against the light in a crosswalk
- Crosses the street unexpectedly so that oncoming traffic cannot stop in time.
4. The Burden of Proof
Whether you are a driver whose vehicle struck a pedestrian or a pedestrian that was struck by a vehicle you will have to prove that the liability for the car accident is not yours and that it falls on the other party.
That can mean showing that the driver was speeding or careless in operating the vehicle or that the pedestrian failed to obey traffic laws. A police report will help, and it gives an unbiased account of the accident. A personal injury lawyer who is familiar with Minnesota laws will also be helpful.
Contact An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney If You’ve Been In An Accident
NGSW&B serves the greater Minnesota community by offering personal injury and pedestrian accident representation. Learn more about your rights and how to overcome the burden of proving your case by reaching out to our team.