A personal injury is an incident that damages a plaintiff’s emotional health, physical health, or both. Mental health injuries include emotional pain and anguish sustained by the accident. Physical injuries include injuries to organs, limbs, or other parts of the victim’s body. Additionally, the injury that was sustained by a personal injury plaintiff does not need to manifest itself instantly, and may develop over time.
In a claim for personal injury, the plaintiff claims that they have sustained an injury due to an act or failure to act by the defendant. In response, the court may award the plaintiff with money damages for personal injury.
A personal injury may occur intentionally, such as when the defendant deliberately injures the victim or intends to commit an act that they know will result in injury to another person. An intentional injury occurs when a defendant commits battery, assault, and/or false imprisonment.
However, a personal injury may also occur unintentionally. If an unintentional injury occurs because of someone’s negligence, then the plaintiff may file a lawsuit based on the negligent behavior. Auto accidents, slip and fall accidents, and injuries sustained from medical malpractice are all considered to be examples of negligence cases. Negligence as a legal theory will be further discussed later on.
What Are Pedestrian Accidents?
All fifty states define a pedestrian as an individual who is traveling on foot, meaning, they are walking or running. Some states have a broader definition of the term pedestrian, which may include individuals who ride on skateboards, scooters, and/or roller skates. Additionally, the definition of pedestrian can be extended to include people who are riding bicycles, tricycles, or are using a wheelchair.
Pedestrians are legally required to share the road with motorists. Motorists are defined as individuals who are operating motor vehicles, which generally includes cars, trucks, and motorcycles. As such, a pedestrian accident occurs when a pedestrian is injured by a motorist.
There are many reasons why pedestrian accidents occur. Under some circumstances, the fault lies with the motorist. An example of this would be how a motorist who speeds, operates a vehicle while impaired, and/or fails to watch where they are going can injure an innocent pedestrian. However, there are some specific instances in which the fault lies with the pedestrian, and not the motorist.
As was previously mentioned, pedestrians are similar to motorists in that they must comply with all traffic regulations and signage. When a pedestrian fails to do so, a motorist who is otherwise observing the rules of the road may injure them.
In terms of which pedestrians stand a higher risk of injury, pedestrians with a failure to appreciate risk are most likely. These individuals include children, as well as pedestrians who are impaired by drugs and/or alcohol. Additionally, people with limited or decreased mobility are at greater risk of injury, including the elderly and people with a physical impairment. An example of this would be individuals who use a cane, a wheelchair, or some other mobility aid.
Who Can Be Held Liable For Crosswalk Accidents?
Crosswalk accidents are generally pedestrian-automobile accidents that occur at an intersection in which there is heavy pedestrian traffic. Similar to any other sort of pedestrian accident, injuries resulting from these accidents can be considerably serious. A crosswalk accident can occur for many reasons, such as:
- A person driving recklessly or negligently, such as they failed to stop or committed some other traffic violation;
- Poor visibility or driving conditions; and/or
- Driving under the influence (“DUI”) was involved.
Additionally, crosswalk accidents can refer to crashes between a car and a bicycle or between two vehicles. An example of this would be when a driver is trying to avoid hitting a pedestrian, and hits another vehicle instead.
Generally speaking, the driver of the vehicle will be held liable for a crosswalk accident. To reiterate, this can happen if the driver was driving too fast and did not have enough time to stop. Liability may be determined through the examination of various forms of evidence, including:
In other circumstances, there are different parties that can be responsible for an accident. An example of this would be if the vehicle did not stop due to faulty brakes, or some other defect associated with the vehicle. Under these circumstances, the manufacturer of the vehicle might be held liable based on a defective product theory.
Alternatively, the victim of an accident can be held liable or partially liable for their own injuries. An example of this would be if they knew of a risk or danger, yet proceeded to walk or linger in a crosswalk. Liability can also shift to the victim if they acted carelessly, such as running out into traffic.
What Are The Legal Remedies For Crosswalk Accidents?
As was previously mentioned, crosswalk accidents are an example of negligence. As such, remedies for crosswalk accidents closely mirror those associated with cases involving negligence.
Negligence has four elements that must all be shown in order to recover for injuries:
- Duty: A duty is the responsibility that one person owes to another. Generally speaking, people going about their business owe a duty of reasonable care to each other. Reasonable care is the amount of care that an ordinary and prudent person would use in the same situation;
- Breach: A breach of duty occurs when a person’s care falls below the level that is required by their duty;
- Causation: The breach of a duty must be the cause of injury. The legal test for causation essentially states that “but for” one person’s actions, the injury would not have occurred; and
- Damages: There must be some sort of harm that occurred. The specific type of injury can vary, from property damage and to emotional stress to lost wages.
Crosswalk accidents may require legal action in order to fully resolve any disputes or conflicts. A monetary damages award may be issued to the victim, which is intended to cover costs such as:
- Medical bills;
- Hospital expenses;
- Medication costs;
- Loss of income; and
- Property damage.
If a pedestrian is lawfully walking and an accident occurs with a negligent motorist, the pedestrian can sue for negligence. However, pedestrian recovery may be limited in some states. An example of this would be how in a contributory negligence state, the pedestrian may be barred from recovering damages if they themselves are negligent.
Other state laws provide that if the pedestrian is more than 50% negligent, and the driver is less than 50% negligent, the pedestrian cannot recover damages from the motorist. Still, other states, which are called comparative negligence states, dictate that a pedestrian who is injured by a motorist may recover damages if the motorist is negligent; meaning, the amount of recovery is reduced by the extent to which the pedestrian was themselves negligent.
Do I Need A Lawyer For A Crosswalk Accident?
If you were involved in a crosswalk accident, you should consult with an experienced automobile accident lawyer in your area. An attorney can inform you of your legal rights and options according to your state’s specific personal injury laws, and will also be able to represent you in court, as needed.