Determining Liability in a Greenville Pedestrian Accident Case
Liability claims in North Carolina are ultimately determined by a jury if the Greenville pedestrian accident claim has not been resolved prior to going to court. However, most of the time, these cases are settled out of court.
Liability in a pedestrian case is no different than in car accident cases. Everything falls within the same jurisdiction of negligence under North Carolina law.
If a claim is disputed and goes to court, both sides will have an opportunity to present facts and arguments as to why they should prevail. A jury must listen to both side of the story and any expert witness opinions and render their decisions of who was liable based on common sense.
A pedestrian could be found contributorily negligent by the court if they were found to be inattentive or otherwise somehow contributing to their own accident. For example, in a pedestrian accident case where the individual darted into the road, they would be found contributorily negligent.
Contributory negligence can be a complete bar to all recovery. In a pedestrian accident, if the pedestrian is proven to be slightly at fault, then the pedestrian may not recover any amount of damage.
The standard amount of attention a pedestrian must pay to their own safety in a crosswalk before their own negligence can become involved in the case would be that they must behave as a “reasonable person” would in the same situation. They must do what a reasonable person would do in paying attention while crossing. This does not mean the person has to be extremely vigilant, but it would not be reasonable to cross with one’s head buried in one’s hands. Behavior somewhere in the middle would be considered reasonable for an individual using a crosswalk.
Factors in Determining Liability
The speed of the vehicle is always an important factor is that speed can determine how long someone will have to stop before a collision.
Driver distraction often leads to driver liability if it can be proven that the driver was texting or otherwise not paying attention.
Use of crosswalks can help the pedestrian in that if a pedestrian was properly using the crosswalk, that may be evidence as to why they are not contributorily negligent.
A driver committing a traffic violation could be considered evidence of negligence relating to any type of injury to a pedestrian.
Damages in pedestrian accidents are awarded for medical expenses, economic loss and non-economic loss (better known as pain and suffering).
Damages are calculated based on evidence of medical expense, evidence of economic loss as it relates to employment, and evidence of pain and suffering. Pain and suffering damages are calculated by putting on evidence to suggest what the pedestrian has been through.
Ultimately, a jury is responsible for tabulating the damages, but the attorney for the pedestrian can make suggestions and arguments as to why the jury should find for a certain amount.
There is no cap on damages other than punitive damages, which are punishment damages. If the driver of the vehicle that caused the accident was found to be drinking and driving or using drugs, punitive damages might be appropriate.
Role of an Attorney
An attorney will work diligently toward establishing the driver as liable for a person’s pedestrian accident case in Greenville. They can interview witnesses to get statements from police officers, take measurements, look for any type of recorded evidence of the scene such as traffic cameras, and otherwise investigate the accident so that liability can be established favorably.