According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, crash related accidents involving pedestrians account for a death every two hours and an injury every seven minutes.1 The risk for death or injury during a crash or collision involving a pedestrian is significantly greater for certain high-risk individuals including adults over the age of 65, children between the age of 5 and 15, and those that are alcohol or drug impaired.2 Pedestrian accidents are multifaceted issues that often involve high-risk categories of individuals, but also exist due to a range of different causes and can correlate to complex liability concerns.
Why Do Crash-Related Pedestrian Accidents Happen?
Averages indicate that due to automobile collisions nearly 70,000 pedestrians are injured and 4000 killed every single year.3 Pedestrian automobile accidents are contributed to both driver and pedestrian actions. One of the leading causes of pedestrian accident is unmarked crosswalk, these intersections without signals create problems with drivers and pedestrians recognizing who has the right-of-way.4 despite the use of signaled crosswalks, pedestrians are often injured when a vehicle makes a left-hand turn at a rate three times greater than those injured when a vehicle is turning right.5 texting and phone usage laws are prevalent for drivers, however, pedestrian’s also are at a greater risk for injury when using cell phones or music devices while traveling since 8% of these accidents occur during the use of an electronic.6 Though quiet cars are prevalent among modern automobile manufacturers, battery-operated or hybrid vehicles are 40% more likely to strike a pedestrian due to reduced ability of pedestrians to detect oncoming traffic.7 this statistic suggests that hearing is an essential element to reducing pedestrian accidents, but visibility is also a large factor. Pedestrian accidents are 50% more likely to occur on the weekend and 70% more likely to occur during dark nighttime hours.8 These percentages correlate with two major contributing factors to pedestrian accidents: wearing dark clothing and engaging in substance use. Despite the fact that the range of factors causing car-pedestrian accidents is linked to the behaviors and actions of both the driver and pedestrian, there is often an assumption that the driver of the vehicle is at fault. However, pedestrians can be wholly or partially responsible, but still receive compensation for the injuries they sustained.
Shared Fault in a Car-Pedestrian Accident
Determining a pedestrian’s right to recover compensation is based on principles of liability. Examples of when a pedestrian may be partially at fault for an accident arise when a pedestrian is jaywalking, walking against the directions of a traffic signal, walking intoxicated, or walking in prohibited areas that restrict pedestrian access such as highways, bridges, or causeways.9 When these types of situations arise, pedestrians can recover, but based on the shared fault rule known as comparative negligence.10 For instance, the state of Missouri follows a legal principle known as pure comparative fault in which a pedestrian may recover, but the amount of damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed for the accident.11 This theory of recovering damages under comparative negligence is based on first determining the percentage of fault of all parties and then allocating the percentage of fault held by the pedestrian against the total potential for recovery. In other words, if a pedestrian is determined to be 40% responsible or liable for an accident, they can still recover up to 60% for their injuries.
Contact an Experienced St. Louis Personal Injury Attorney for a Free Consultation
If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident, it is important to discuss the circumstances of your injury with an experienced auto accident attorney who can help to protect your legal rights and interests. To contact a personal injury attorney for a free consultation please feel free to call the The Bruning Law Firm trial attorneys at 314-735-8100.