Hitting a pedestrian when you are the driver can be scary, but it is not as uncommon as you may think. According to the statistics that were gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 60,000 pedestrians have been hit in traffic accidents in the past few years. Hitting a pedestrian while going over 30 miles per hour can result in severe injuries and even fatalities, but these injuries can happen even when driving much slower. As the driver, it is essential to know how to react right after getting into an auto accident with a pedestrian. By staying as calm as possible and speaking to the right parties afterward, you will be able to minimize the amount of liability that you have. You should also understand the rules of who is at fault and how to avoid these accidents in the future.
Who is the at-fault party?
When you are in a pedestrian accident, the first question that you may have is who is at fault for the accident. In most cases, who is at fault will be determined using the law of negligence. A person who is not exercising a reasonable standard of care based on the circumstances that are presented may be the one who is acting negligently.
However, it is possible that both the pedestrian and the driver can be considered negligent in a car accident. For example, the pedestrian may have been hit after crossing illegally on the street, and the driver could be negligent at the same time because they were driving faster than the speed limit. The way that this is treated will vary based on the state that the accident occurs.
For example, some states will use what is called pure contributory negligence. This means that if the pedestrian is considered negligent at all in the car accident, then they are not able to recover any damages from the driver or the drivers’ insurance company. So, if a pedestrian got hit on the road because they were jaywalking or even going on a crosswalk when it wasn’t their turn, regardless of what the driver was doing, the pedestrian would not be able to recover any damages.
There are other states who will follow what is known as the comparative fault rule. This means that if a pedestrian is able to recover some damages, even if they were only partly at fault. There has to be some proof that the driver was doing something negligent at the same time. If the driver was following all the right rules and the pedestrian did not, then the pedestrian will not be able to claim anything after the pedestrian accident.
File a police report
After a pedestrian accident, the police will come to the scene of the accident. They will take a statement from the driver, the pedestrian, and anyone else who is a witness to help determine who is at fault. They will then either make a conclusive finding right there, or they can go through a detailed investigation and write down the information to use later on.
This report can be critical because it will indicate whom they think will be the one at fault. However, it is not uncommon for insurance companies to dispute what is in the report. The insurance company will often send their own adjuster to look at the damage and to do some of their own investigations in order to determine if they are indeed held liable for the damage.
When this report is being done, it is essential to go along with the police officer. Answer their questions and give them any information that they ask for, without taking on the blame for it at all. Do not talk to anyone else during this time or try to place the blame. This can be used against you later on and can make it different to avoid being at fault later on if that situation comes along. Just talk to the police officer and your insurance agent. When it comes to anyone else, wait until you can get ahold of your attorney to discuss the case with.
When you are in a car accident with a pedestrian, it is important to have an attorney present. This can make a big difference in whether you become the one at fault or if you are held liable for any of the damages from the accident. Contact our firm to discuss your case and determine which steps you should take after a pedestrian accident.