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Pedestrian Accidents : When Right of Way Becomes Wrong

Traffic rules recognize the pedestrian’s right of way. This is the reason why pedestrian lanes have been instituted to help pedestrians cross a busy street. Unfortunately, there are just reckless and distracted drivers who seems indifferent with the lives of people. According to the website of The Benton Law Firm, pedestrians have no form of protection from vehicles and are often pinned underneath vehicles resulting to various internal injuries like spinal or brain injuries. In 2013, 4,735 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in the United States. Aside from that, over 150,000 pedestrians received emergency care for non-fatal crash-related injuries.

Pedestrian accidents happen when they try to cross a busy highway. Other factors that can contribute to these accidents include poor maintenance, sidewalk, parking lot defects, construction, and debris on walkways. With these accidents, negligence has to be proven in order for the pedestrian to collect damages for their injuries. To establish negligence, the following conditions should be present:

  • The driver owned a legal duty to the injured person under the circumstances
  • There is a breach of duty on the part of the driver through action or inaction
  • The accident caused injury to the injured person
  • The accident was harmed or injured as a result of the accident

In pedestrian accident, multiple parties may be held liable for the accident. Depending on the situation, other persons that can be made responsible for the accident include:

  • The driver of a vehicle that strikes a pedestrian
  • The contractor or maintenance personnel who maintains the sidewalk, road, or parking lot
  • The pedestrian

Pedestrian accidents hinge on the duty of care owed by the parties involved. It is their responsibility to follow traffic rules and exercise reasonable care. While it may seem obvious as to who committed negligence, the courts consider a wide range of factors when checking the facts and applying it to negligence. Whoever will be found negligence of their duty shall be made liable for the payment of damages.

Both driver and pedestrian have a duty of care to each other. Failure to follow such duty will be considered negligence. Some examples of negligent acts on the part of the driver include distracted driving, speeding, not yielding the right of way to pedestrians, disobeying traffic signs or signals, and others. The law enforces a higher duty of care on drivers on the aspect of children. Thus, they should take extreme caution when driving by schools, parks, or residential areas. This is applicable to children between 5 to 9 years old.

On the part of pedestrians, it is also their duty to exercise reasonable care for their own safety. Thus, when they ignore the “walk” signal, enter traffic and disrupt its flow, fail to use marked crosswalks, they are being negligent of their duty of care resulting to their own injury and being at-fault.