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Who Is at Fault When a Car Hits a Pedestrian?

Waukegan Pedestrian Accident Attorney Nearly 6,000 pedestrians were struck and killed by motor vehicles in the U.S. in 2017, and many thousands more were severely injured. These figures beg two questions: What are the most common causes of these accidents, and when does the fault lie with the pedestrian versus the driver?

Alcohol Plays a Factor in Many Pedestrian Accidents

When a pedestrian is struck and killed by a car, it is more common for the pedestrian than the driver to be legally drunk, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. OIf all pedestrian fatalities, 33 percent involved an alcohol-impaired pedestrian and 13 percent involved a drunk driver.

You may wonder if a drunk pedestrian injured by a car can recover damages from the driver. The answer is, it depends on the totality of the circumstances. If the driver was obeying all traffic laws and a drunk pedestrian just stepped out in front of the car, the pedestrian would probably be assigned all or most of the fault for the accident. If the pedestrian is found to be at least 50 percent at fault for the accident, the pedestrian will be barred from recovering any damages from the driver, in accordance with the Illinois law of modified comparative negligence.  

Higher Speeds Result in More Severe Pedestrian Injuries

When a pedestrian is injured in a motor vehicle accident, the speed of the driver will be a critical piece of evidence used to allocate fault for the accident. The speed of the vehicle also affects the severity of injuries to the pedestrian. The chance of a pedestrian suffering severe injury rises from just 10 percent at a speed of 16 mph to 90 percent at a speed of 46 mph. Similarly, the odds of a fatality rise from 25 percent at 32 mph to 90 percent at 58 mph.

Distracted Drivers and Distracted Walkers Can Both Be at Fault

Cell phone records of both driver and pedestrian are likely to be checked during an accident investigation to determine if either or both were actively using their cell phones at the time of the collision. This evidence may be inconclusive, however, as glances at screens cannot be measured.

Other Factors Affecting Fault for a Pedestrian Accident

A pedestrian struck within a crosswalk when they had a green light is less likely to be deemed at fault than one struck at a non-intersection location. Lighting in the area could also be considered, as a pedestrian crossing a roadway in the dark without reflective clothing or a flashlight could be considered partially at fault.

A Waukegan Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Who Will Fight for You

If a member of your family has been injured or killed in a traffic accident while on foot, whether or not you are able to claim personal injury compensation will depend on the allocation of fault. Seek the advice of an experienced Lake County pedestrian accident attorney who will fight for you to receive compensation for your losses. Call the Waukegan office of Salvi & Maher, L.L.C. at 847-662-3303.

Sources:

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/pedestrian-deaths-could-hit-a-40-year-high-2019-02-28

http://www.idot.illinois.gov/Assets/uploads/files/Transportation-System/Resources/Safety/Crash-Reports/trends/Trends%202012-2016.pdf

https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.dot.gov/files/812059-pedestriansafetyenforceoperahowtoguide.pdf

 

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