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Pedestrian Accidents - Frequently Asked Questions

The most common type of serious pedestrian accident is that involving a negligent motorist. Well over 5,000 pedestrians perish at the hands of negligent automobile drivers. Another 78,000 victims are seriously injured in car or truck accidents-often the fault of the automobile driver. Countless pedestrians are seriously injured in non-vehicular accidents each year. These may be attributed to defects in sidewalks or parking lots, poor property maintenance, construction-related accidents, or harmful debris or materials on public walkways.

  1. If I am injured by a motor vehicle or a loved one is killed as a pedestrian, can I sue the motor vehicle that hit my family member or me?
  2. What if I was partially at fault for the accident because I was walking outside of a crosswalk or running across the street?
  3. If I am a pedestrian, does a motor vehicle driver owe any special duty or care toward me under law?
  4. If my child has been injured or killed by a motor vehicle when he or she was a pedestrian, what are our rights?
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  6. If I am injured by a motor vehicle or a loved one is killed as a pedestrian, can I sue the motor vehicle that hit my family member or me?

Yes. As long as it can be established that the motor vehicle driver was at least partially at fault, you are entitled to bring a civil lawsuit for damages including personal injury and wrongful death.

What if I was partially at fault for the accident because I was walking outside of a crosswalk or running across the street?

If you were partially at fault, you can still bring a claim against the driver of the vehicle if the driver was partially at fault. Any damages you might be entitled to recover will be reduced by the percentage of your fault. For example, if a jury were to award you $100,000 but determine that you were 50% at fault, your recovery would be reduced by 50% and you would receive $50,000.

If I am a pedestrian, does a motor vehicle driver owe any special duty or care toward me under law?

Yes. Both pedestrians and drivers are responsible to exercise ordinary care when using roadways. However, the amount of care required by the driver is typically greater, since the driver is operating a vehicle that is capable of inflicting death or injury. Drivers of motor vehicles have a duty to keep their vehicles under sufficient control in order to avoid injuries to pedestrians.

If my child has been injured or killed by a motor vehicle when he or she was a pedestrian, what are our rights?

In cases involving young children, the law recognizes that greater care must be exercised for their protection. Because children's conduct is unpredictable, the law recognizes that the driver of a motor vehicle must anticipate a certain level of thoughtlessness and impulsiveness on the part of children. If children are present in an area (for example, near a school), the mere presence of children serves as a warning to the driver of a motor vehicle to exercise additional care.