When most people think of car accidents, the first thing that probably comes to mind is two cars hitting each other. Second to that, they would probably think about cases where pedestrians are hit by cars. Usually, car accidents are caused by driver negligence, such as distracted or intoxicated driving.
However, this is not always the case. Believe it or not, pedestrian negligence can cause accidents just as easily as driver negligence does.
Pedestrians Must Exhibit a Reasonable Standard of Care
Pedestrians and drivers are both expected to exercise what is commonly referred to as a “reasonable standard of care.” This means that both drivers and pedestrians must obey local traffic laws and be vigilant during their travels. When pedestrians fail to exercise a reasonable standard of care, they could be responsible for accidents just like drivers can.
For example, imagine yourself driving down the road one day, and a pedestrian darts out from between two parked cars to cross the street against the light and out of the crosswalk.
You swerve to avoid the pedestrian and then hit a parked car. Should you be the only person responsible?
Failure to Act Responsibly Could Make a Party Liable
Should you be held responsible at all? It’s very unlikely that you’d have swerved and hit any cars if the pedestrian hadn’t jumped out into the street. But the problem is that whoever owns those cars (or their insurance companies) are going to hold someone responsible for repairing the damages.
Incidents like this are surprisingly frequent, but when they happen, many drivers don’t know how to proceed. However, there are some common-sense steps you can take to protect yourself in this situation.
Witnesses Are Absolutely Critical in Identifying the At-Fault Party
If you’ve been involved in an accident with a pedestrian, it’s incredibly important to gather witnesses. That’s why one of the first things you should do after making sure there are no injuries is to find as many witnesses to the accident as possible.
Their recollections will be crucial in piecing together the events leading up to your accident. They are unlikely to know either you or the pedestrian, so they will be impartial observers. If fault is disputed, both the legal system and the insurance companies will likely want to hear from neutral observers.
That’s why you should make it a point to identify witnesses, make notes of their initial impressions of the crash, and get their contact information.
Take a Minute to Gather Your Memories and Draw a Diagram of the Accident
Have you ever heard the saying that “your first instinct is usually your best one?” A similar thing is true of your memories. After you’ve taken care to make sure there are no injuries and identified as many witnesses as possible, grab a pen and paper and sketch out a rough diagram of the accident.
Be as detailed as possible. Your sketch or diagram should include the following information:
- The direction you were traveling in at the time of the accident
- Where you first notice the pedestrian you believe caused the accident
- What you believe the pedestrian did to cause the accident
- The relative position of any witnesses whose names you’ve gathered
Make a copy of your diagram as soon as possible. A quick way to do this is to take a picture of it on your phone and send it to yourself. If it’s not possible to follow this step in the immediate aftermath of the accident, draw up your diagram as soon as you get home.
Remember, the fresher your memories are when you do this, the better your diagram will be. So, do it sooner rather than later. Your testimony could help secure fair damages.
No Matter What You Do After the Accident, Don’t Admit Fault
Even if you think you might have been partially to blame for your accident, you will be better off not admitting fault. Even if a law enforcement officer issues a citation at the scene, avoid placing yourself in the role of the negligent party.
If you admit fault, that admission can be used against you by insurance companies and courts in determining liability for the accident.
Seek Legal Counsel to Defend Your Rights
It’s very easy to assume that every accident involving cars and pedestrians is the driver’s fault.
Our lawyers might find that the pedestrian knew they were at fault but wanted to take advantage of your liability insurance. Fortunately, car accident lawyers from the Law Office of Cohen and Jaffe, LLP can help prove the negligent party responsible for your losses.
Call Our Team, So We Can Get Started in Your Car Accident Case
We’ve been helping accident victims all over New York and Long Island for decades. We can do the same thing for you, too. The initial consultation is free, so you’ve got nothing to lose. On the other hand, you might have everything to gain from calling us.
So, pick up the phone and find out how we can help! CVP § 214 could limit how long you have to file a lawsuit, so do not wait. Dial (516) 358-6900 to speak to the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP’s staff.
For a free legal consultation, call 516-358-6900