Reclaiming Your Life after a Devastating Accident

Why Pedestrian Accident Claims Are Such Unique Cases

by Stacy Dean

Seeking compensation with the support of a pedestrian accident attorney may seem like a straightforward task, but the job is still very distinct within the field of personal injury law. For the individual who has been hit, or their loved one who has, the idea that a car struck a person can seem like a pretty cut and dry case. Proving civil liability, however, may get more involved than that.

Criminal Charges

One thing that tends to slow down any case a pedestrian accident lawyer is advancing is waiting for criminal charges to be filed. It's not always assumed that a criminal complaint will be submitted, unless the driver did something blatantly reckless, such as driving 80 mph while drunk. If there's a chance a criminal charge will come down, though, your attorney will want that to be on the books before moving ahead with a civil complaint.

Even if the driver is not found to be criminally liable, a civil case can still go forward. In some instances, a cop who felt a driver should have been charged can make a great witness. Regardless of how a potential criminal proceeding ends, it's still a good idea to get in touch with the police, collect their contact information and get an idea of how they might testify.

Duty of Care

Liability is assigned based on a concept called duty of care. When a driver is making a turn, for example, they have a duty of care to look ahead and make sure a person isn't walking through the same space they're turning into.

Duty of care is where pedestrian accident claims can get tricky. A person crossing a street has a similar duty of care to look both ways before stepping forward. Similarly, there is a duty of care to only cross streets in designated areas, such as crosswalks. A driver still needs to watch out for pedestrians, but compensation may be reduced in cases where jaywalking occurred.

Division of Liability

It's normal in any injury case for liability to be apportioned among the two parties, and this is especially common in incidents involving vehicles. In most states, one party must be found at least 51% responsible for injuries for a claim to move ahead. A few states, such as California, may allow for compensation to be awarded with a lower finding of responsibility in instances where multiple parties were found at fault.  

For more information, contact offices like Richard D. Hoffman Law Offices.