Walking is an essential mode of transportation for many, offering a healthy and environmentally friendly alternative to driving. However, pedestrian accidents are too common, often resulting in severe injuries or even fatalities. A key factor in these cases is determining fault, which can be complex and contentious.
Myth 1: The Pedestrian is Always at Fault
One of the most pervasive misconceptions is that pedestrians are always at fault in an accident. This is simply not true. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2021, there were 7,388 pedestrian fatalities in the United States, an increase of 13% from 2020.
Drivers are responsible for exercising due care when operating their vehicles, especially in areas where pedestrians are likely to be present. This includes obeying traffic signals and signs, yielding the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks, and maintaining a safe speed. Drivers who fail to meet these obligations may be liable for any injuries or damages.
Myth 2: If the Pedestrian was Jaywalking, They Cannot Recover Damages
Another common myth is that if a pedestrian was jaywalking at the time of the accident, they are automatically barred from recovering damages. While it is true that pedestrians have to follow traffic laws and exercise reasonable care for their safety, this does not mean they are without recourse if they are injured while jaywalking.
In many states, an injured pedestrian may still be entitled to recover damages, even if they were partially at fault for the accident. Under this system, the court will apportion blame between the parties and award damages based on each party's degree of responsibility.
For example, if a pedestrian was found to be 30% at fault for an accident because they were jaywalking, they may still recover 70% of their damages from the driver who struck them.
Myth 3: Pedestrians Have No Responsibility to Watch Out for Cars
While drivers bear a significant responsibility for pedestrian safety, it is essential to recognize that pedestrians also have a role to play in preventing accidents. Pedestrians are expected to exercise reasonable care for their safety, which includes following traffic signals, using crosswalks, and being aware of their surroundings.
However, accidents can still happen even when pedestrians take all necessary precautions. In these cases, it is crucial to determine whether the driver was negligent or failed to exercise due care.
Myth 4: The Driver's Insurance Will Automatically Cover All Damages
Many people mistakenly believe that if they are injured in a pedestrian accident, the driver's insurance will automatically cover their medical expenses and other damages. While it is true that most drivers carry liability insurance, this coverage may not always be sufficient to compensate an injured pedestrian fully.
In some cases, the driver's insurance policy may have limits that are too low to cover all of the pedestrian's damages. Additionally, some drivers may be uninsured or underinsured, making it even more challenging for the injured pedestrian to recover the compensation they need.
Seek Legal Help After a Pedestrian Accident
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, it is essential to take action promptly. One of your first steps should be to contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can help guide you through the legal process and fight for the justice and compensation you deserve.
At Williams Attorneys, our team of skilled legal professionals has a proven track record of successfully handling pedestrian accident cases. We understand the complexities of determining fault and will work tirelessly to debunk common myths and misconceptions that may stand between you and the compensation you deserve. Don't let these misunderstandings prevent you from seeking justice – contact us today for a consultation.