Pedestrian at Fault

Whenever we hear of a vehicle striking a pedestrian, it is pretty much assumed that the driver of the vehicle is at fault, and he is going to be held liable for a lot of damages. After all, the pedestrian did not have much of a chance against the sheer size difference involved, and what could they have done so wrong that they are no longer the victim, but the defendant?

Haven’t we always heard that the pedestrian has the right of way? From a legal standpoint, this isn’t always the case and in certain circumstances, the pedestrian could be wholly or partially to blame!

Pedestrians have a “duty of care” just like the driver of a motor vehicle does. They must take reasonable steps to ensure their own safety in direct proportion to the danger involved and the consequences that could be expected to occur. Some common causes of pedestrians being struck by a vehicle are: ignoring traffic signals such as the “walk” sign; darting out into traffic without assessing the danger; jaywalking.

Failing to use marked crosswalks; intoxication; or distracted walking because of using their cell phone, talking or texting. In Ohio, the comparative liability law takes into consideration the percentage of fault that each party is responsible for, to assess damages.

The driver of the vehicle that strikes a pedestrian is understandably emotionally stricken, but they must try to stay as calm as possible and take action at the scene. They need to get anyone involved in the accident to a place of safety and call for medical attention immediately.

Most likely, in this type of scenario, there will be serious injuries involved. Call the police and when they arrive, give truthful statements but don’t over-explain as you are in a state of shock and may say something that would imply that you were at fault.

The insurance company may be at the scene very quickly; you should avoid talking to them until you have contacted a reputable Ohio attorney to advise you. If the pedestrian is able, exchange contact information such as name, phone number and insurance company, but not much more so nothing gets misconstrued.

Your lawyer will begin the investigation to find out who is at fault and proof of it. Fault is usually based on negligence and the person who failed to exercise a reasonable standard of care would be considered negligent. Police reports will be very effective in establishing fault as the officer is trained to survey the scene, talk to witnesses and make an intelligent interpretation of their findings. The report will indicate who the officer saw as being at fault.

Your lawyer will have the resources to subpoena witnesses, medical records, surveillance camera footage if applicable, and have experts to survey the scene of the accident to help prove that, as the driver of the vehicle, you were observing all safety regulations, and exercising a duty of care by following all traffic laws and observing the speed limit.

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