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Auto Accidents: What if a Pedestrian is Partly to Blame?

April 6, 2016 Car Accidents,Pedestrian Accidents

When pedestrians get hit by a car, the damage can be astronomical. Because there is no protection from impact, pedestrians can sustain serious life-changing injuries. In fact, sometimes, the injuries are fatal.  Still, pedestrians may be able to make claims against the driver of the car that hit them if they can show the driver was to blame.

Unfortunately, sometimes pedestrians are also partly responsible for the accident. This can make recovering pedestrian accident damages more complicated. New York City pedestrian accident lawyers can provide assistance to victims of pedestrian accidents or their surviving family members by helping them obtain just compensation for their damages.  Your attorney will also provide invaluable advice on what happens after a crash that you were considered partially responsible for causing.

What Happens if Pedestrians Share Blame for Causing Accidents?

Transport Workers Union (TWU) warns that pedestrians are increasingly engaging in dangerous behaviors that often lead to motor vehicle accidents occurring. The research cited by TWU reveals that pedestrians had some responsibility for causing almost 47 percent of fatal collisions where the pedestrian died in the accident.  This number comes from a two-year study conducted by the New York City Department of Transportation.

One of the behaviors performed by pedestrians involves crossing against the signal, which is described as the primary cause of 31 percent of pedestrian deaths.  Pedestrians are also increasingly using electronic devices and not paying attention. The problem of pedestrian behavior causing accidents appears to be the worst in Manhattan where the streets are very crowded.  In Manhattan, pedestrian actions are the primary cause of approximately 43 percent of fatalities and around 56 percent of total pedestrian-vehicle accidents.

The risks of pedestrians contributing to accidents has only become exacerbated in recent years as a result of the rise of smartphones and other electronic devices. Many people walk while looking at these devices, which is considered “distracted walking.” While there are laws against cell phone and electronic device use while driving, there are no corresponding laws preventing walkers from using their phones and looking at electronics. Sadly, these pedestrians could end up walking into the path of a car when they are not paying attention.

In situations where a walker is partly responsible for a crash, the walker or his or her family members may still wish to explore the possibility of making an injury claim.  New York allows victims to pursue a case for compensation — even if those victims were partly to blame. The rule allowing victims to sue even if they shared some responsibility is called the comparative negligence or comparative fault rule.

The comparative fault rule replaced traditional common law rules throughout the U.S., as traditional contributory negligence rules would unjustly prohibit victims from pursuing claims when the victim was responsible in any way for contributing to the accident.

Comparative fault rules, on the other hand, let a victim pursue a claim against a defendant, even if the victim shares responsibility for what happened. If the victim is able to successfully show the defendant is at least partly responsible, the victim can recover compensation for the portion of blame attributed to the defendant.

Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff can represent victims and assist them in proving the extent of a defendant’s responsibility in injury claims where the plaintiff shared some fault in causing the accident. Call for help as soon as possible to learn more about your options under the law.