In cases of collisions with moving vehicles, pedestrians can suffer significant injuries even from very minor impacts. It tends to be pretty difficult to view the pedestrian with much liability in an accident. Especially when they suffer a broken bone or serious laceration while the vehicle has barely a dent on it. Yet, just because a pedestrian can suffer a serious injury at the hands of a vehicle does not completely excuse them from all cases of liability for the accident.
Pedestrian Negligence as Liability
It is obviously the responsibility of drivers to drive safely as well as to watch and yield to pedestrians. However, it is also similarly the pedestrians' responsibility to ensure caution when crossing trafficked areas for their own safety. Not using the appropriate caution, taking illegal actions, or just acting recklessly in the situation can have the pedestrian held liable for their own accident or at least contributing to it.
Negligent pedestrian behaviors include:
Crossing the street without the walk signal
Standing behind vehicles
Standing in the street
Crossing in front of vehicles with no signal
All of the above can be classified as pedestrian negligence, and thus can mean that the pedestrian is at fault for the accident. However, this doesn't mean they are without options for covering their injuries. Even if a pedestrian is at fault, California is a comparative negligence state. This means that even those at fault for an accident can receive some compensation.
What to Expect Under Comparative Negligence
California, among many other states, follows the rules of comparative negligence when it comes to liability in an accident. Under comparative negligence, those who may have had some negligence in their own accident can only recover compensation of the percentage they were not responsible for.
So if a pedestrian jaywalked into traffic and the courts decide that they are 20% responsible for the accident, and they are awarded $100,000 for it, they can only receive 80% compensation, or $80,000.
Alternatively, if it is deemed that the pedestrian was 99% at fault in their accident, they can still recover that 1% compensation. This will be unlikely enough to cover their injuries. Comparative negligence is particularly beneficial for people like those pedestrians in accidents. If they were at fault, they still likely got hurt. And with the healthcare system as it is, they will still require compensation for those medical bills.
If you were a pedestrian in an accident that may have been caused by your own negligence, you may feel like you don't have a lot of options available. You caused it and you may feel like you definitely will be paying for your own medical bills. However, that may not always be the case. In many cases, both parties do share some fault. Due to the potentially serious nature of your injuries, you owe it to yourself to see if there is at least something that can be done.
Are you a pedestrian that has been in an accident? Regardless of whether it was your fault or not, contact us today. We make sure to get the compensation that you deserve for your injuries.