Las Vegas Pedestrian Accident Attorney
A Closer Look at Pedestrian Accident Liability
Every motorist must exercise caution and care when driving, especially in areas where pedestrians are present. But even the most cautious of drivers are not immune to accidents. In accidents involving pedestrians and motorists, are motorists always at fault?
This article discusses pedestrian accident liability and its doctrine of “Contributory Negligence.”
A pedestrian can be charged with contributory negligence if his/her action/s ultimately contributed to the harm he/she suffered. A defendant uses a contributory negligence defense to eliminate the responsibility to pay damages.
When is a defense of contributory negligence used?
Motorists are bound to their duty of reasonable care. However, the law recognizes that not all situations on the road are the same. Therefore, the burden of reasonable care only requires that a motorist exercise caution just like any other average, careful person would in the same situation.
A reasonable, careful person recognizes the presence of pedestrians by slowing down. If a cautious person sees a child riding a bicycle on a road that has a 25MPH speed limit, then he/she would slow down. Should a motorist maintain the speed limit and a collision happens, then he/she would be at fault.
A motorist is considered negligent if he/she fails to exercise due care by being distracted, intoxicated and unmindful of environmental conditions while driving.
On the other hand, a pedestrian also has the responsibility to exercise reasonable care to ensure his/her safety. Pedestrians are negligent if they dart into the road, fail to use crosswalks, ignore signals, walk in a busy street at night while wearing dark clothes, and so on. Regardless of how cautious a motorist is if the pedestrians behave negligently, a collision is likely to happen. In this instance, the court will most likely find that the inattentive pedestrian caused the accident.
The pedestrian will still be liable if the motorist took an evasive action to avoid hitting him/her and in the process collided with another vehicle. In this instance, the pedestrian will be held accountable for the damages to both vehicles and injuries sustained by the motorists and their passengers.
What if the pedestrian is a child?
Las Vegas Pedestrian Accident Attorney Dan Lovell of Empire Law Group
The law recognizes the “tender years” doctrine, which states that children are incapable of protecting themselves. Children age 5-9 are at the highest risk of
collision because they are small and move very unpredictably. Also, children cannot sense and avoid danger.
Some jurisdictions would not use the doctrine of contributory negligence if children caused accidents on the road.
Pedestrians on Highways
Pedestrians, as well as other obstacles, are unexpected in interstate highways, where vehicles move fast and freely. Pedestrians who are present in the roadway resulting in mishaps are deemed negligent, and therefore the doctrine of contributory negligence applies.
These include pedestrians who enter or cross the highway, walk along the road in the dark, tend to a previous crash, and repair vehicles and so on.
Shared blame may also happen. A jury would have to decide who is more responsible for the collision based on the percentage of shared liability. For example, if the motorist is 40% at fault, then he/she would have to pay 40% of the damages. The pedestrian would have to pay the remaining 60%.
Some legal cases seek to find federal or state agencies at fault because of the highway’s design, maintenance, construction, or state of repair. State agencies must exercise reasonable care to all who use the road.
Motorists and pedestrians should be exercise due caution when using public roads. No one is immune from fault.