New York is a state with busy streets, which includes those in its second-largest city, Buffalo. Unfortunately, with many cars speeding to get to their destination, accidents involving pedestrians are rampant in western New York and across the country. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports a high number of pedestrian deaths and injuries involving motor vehicles.
If you are a pedestrian who obtained injuries in a motor vehicle crash, you will need to determine how proof of fault will affect your damage claim.
The courts cannot just assume that the driver is purely at fault because they are the ones safely buckled in their vehicles. In pedestrian accident cases, it is important to determine the following:
- Who is at fault
- Whether there is a shared fault
- The degree of fault of each party
The driver is at fault if they fail to exercise standard care when driving and follow traffic rules. Traffic laws require drivers to yield to a pedestrian and slow down when approaching pedestrian crossings. Failure to do so puts the fault on the driver.
On the other hand, the law also expects pedestrians to follow road rules such as using the appropriate crosswalks and obeying traffic signals. If a pedestrian jaywalks, which causes the accident, then they are at fault.
It is also possible that both the driver and pedestrian have a shared fault.
An injured pedestrian can claim against the driver’s insurance company if the driver is at fault. If the driver does not have insurance or has insufficient coverage, the uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage can cover the compensation. Moreover, the victim can also file a lawsuit to seek damages for medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, and pain and suffering, among others.
However, if the pedestrian is at fault or has a shared fault with the driver, their claim is likely limited. The court may reduce the victim’s fault percentage from the amount of compensation they are to receive. This will be determined on a case-to-case basis.
Pedestrians are defenseless and vulnerable. Unlike drivers, they do not have seat belts or air bags to protect them and lessen the impact in case of an accident. Fortunately, compensation and damages may be available if their case meets the criteria set by law and the courts. Knowing available options is helpful when victims decide to claim compensation.