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Factors Considered by Courts in Determining Pedestrian Accidents

While the likelihood of a car driver or passenger getting severely injured in a motor vehicle accident, despite being protected by car’s body, is not a remote possibility, imagine a pedestrian, who has nothing to protect his/her body, getting hit by a speeding car. This absence of protection is the sole reason why pedestrian accidents are either almost always fatal or resulting in severe injuries.

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Traffic Safety Fact Sheet show that in 2012, 4,743 pedestrians were killed, while 76,000 sustained injuries due to car accidents.

An article posted online in a website with the address, www.zavodnicklaw.com, shares this information about pedestrian accident:

Pedestrian related car accidents in Pennsylvania represented 3.3% of the total reported car crashes in 2014, however, they accounted for 13.9% of all traffic crash deaths. A review of the statistics published by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reveals that 41.9% of all pedestrian car accidents occurred while the pedestrian was entering or crossing at an intersection, driveway or mid-block. 31.1% of all pedestrian accidents occurred while the pedestrian was running, jogging, walking or playing. 5.1% of such car accidents occurred while the pedestrian was merely standing.

Anyone, at certain periods of the day, is a pedestrian. It can be a person running or jogging, someone just standing in any street corner, a hiker, or a person who decides to walk to a nearby grocery, to a friend’s house, or to the office.

There are different factors that can put pedestrians’ lives at risk. Though majority of the incidences wherein pedestrians get injured or killed involve motor vehicles, there are also non-vehicular causes of pedestrian accidents. These are the poorly-maintained or defective sidewalks and parking lots, faded or lack of crosswalks (especially in rural areas), inadequately lit roads, and debris on walkways.

Most pedestrian accidents occur in rural areas and during the night, when many different factors that compromise pedestrian safety are at work, such as overspeeding drivers (which is common due to the very light traffic), unlit roads, unaccompanied elders, intoxicated drivers, or intoxicated pedestrians.

Both drivers and pedestrians are expected to observe and obey road safety rules as well as exercise reasonable care. While drivers are usually judged as the liable or negligent party in pedestrian accidents, when the case is brought to court, all elements are looked into and there have been instances when it was actually the pedestrian who acted carelessly and caused the accident.

Some of the factors considered by the court in determining acts of negligence include:

  • On the part of the driver:
    • Overspeeding
    • Failure to yield the right of way to pedestrians, even at crosswalks;
    • Distracted driving;
    • Driving while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol;
    • Failure to signal, especially when about to make a turn
    • Disregarding traffic or weather conditions
  • On the part of the pedestrian:
    • Ignoring the “don’t walk” signal;
    • Failure to cross at marked crosswalks;
    • Entering and disrupting the flow of traffic; and,
    • Darting in front of vehicles

Pedestrians, who get injured because of the negligence of some drivers or someone who never did a good job in maintaining and keeping roads, sidewalks or parking areas safe, may be able to recover damages for whatever injuries they suffer. Being represented by a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury lawyer or pedestrian accident lawyer can be an advantage in a civil lawsuit as the really liable party will definitely do everything to disprove his/her accountability.

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