Liability in Raleigh Pedestrian Accident Cases
When an individual gets their driver’s license, they take an exam and are tested on whether or not they understand and are capable of following the rules of driving and rules of the road. Everyone who has a driver’s license has a duty to keep a reasonable lookout and obey the traffic laws. If an individual breaches those duties and harm results, those are the elements of a negligence claim and that is what one would be suing.
Proving liability in Raleigh pedestrian accident cases requires investigative work prior to the case. Many try to resolve cases without having to file a lawsuit, so they would talk to the investigating officer if there are any other witnesses. The other driver and the insurance company would do the same thing. It could be critical to speak with a pedestrian injury attorney right away.
How is Liability Determined in Pedestrian Accident Cases?
When determining liability in Raleigh pedestrian accident cases would do a thorough investigation, which would include interviewing any witnesses and checking any available video surveillance from local businesses or police officers. One would want to reconstruct the scene, so they might have an accident reconstructionist come out and give an idea of where the pedestrian was and exactly what happened and then one can make.
One can get informal opinions about whether who is at fault for the wreck. The insurance company is doing the same thing essentially. If they determine that their driver was responsible, one can try to resolve the case by filing a lawsuit. If the insurance company determines that the pedestrian was contributing, they may deny. Then the only option is to file a lawsuit.
Informally, one can point out their position to the insurance company and vice versa, short of filing a lawsuit. Once they get into litigation, accident reconstructionists, witnesses, and other people can help tell the story. The argument then, if the case goes to a jury trial where one can put on evidence and make opening and closing arguments, is about who is wrong and who did what. The jury decides the case.
Pedestrian Injury Cases vs. Car Injury Cases
There is a different duty that applies to both drivers and pedestrians when it is a pedestrian accident case. A pedestrian is more vulnerable. They are not in a two-ton vehicle; they are just in a human body. There tends to be a different standard; drivers should be on a heightened awareness in crosswalks when dealing with pedestrians, because the danger is so high. It is still the same body of law in general and negligence principles apply, but there are some case-specific differences that would arise in pedestrian cases.
A pedestrian might be found negligent if they had an opportunity to avoid getting hit and they did not. Perhaps they were not paying attention or stepped into oncoming traffic and did not have control of the intersection. Maybe they were not walking facing traffic or walking with traffic but not off the road on the shoulder.
How do the Roles of the Individual’s Involved Impact a Claim?
A driver committing a traffic violation is negligence per se. If one can show they violated a safety statute, then they can establish duty and breach in and of itself. A violation of the safety statute or driving law can be very helpful. One can also allege violations that are not negligence by traveling at excessive speeds, failing to keep the vehicle under proper control, or not having operating lights. Those are things that could have caused the wreck to happen and would help bolster the pedestrian’s case.
Understanding the Impact of Distracted Driving in Walker Accident Cases
There is something called negligence per se. If one can show that someone violated a safety statute, basically a statute under the Motor Vehicle Code, then negligence is established in and of itself; one does not have to prove that a duty was breached by the driver.
If someone is texting or on the phone not paying attention, it may be a way to establish negligence per se. If one can prove that someone was distracted, even if there is not a statute, it is going to be easier to show that they were breaching their duty.
It would not impact liability in Raleigh pedestrian accident cases, but it might impact the contributory negligence issue. Even if the other driver was negligent and did something wrong in the operation of their vehicle, as a pedestrian, one can prove they were distracted. Their distraction would be that they could have gotten out of the way or avoided the wreck. The contributory negligence issue would overcome the negligence of the defendant.
Role of an Attorney in Establishing Negligence
An attorney may first want to interview any witnesses. If it is happening at a crosswalk or an intersection, typically that is going to be a relatively busy area, so there should be other pedestrians, drivers, or businesses who saw something. They want to talk to them as quickly as possible.
They also want to get a copy of the accident report and find out what the officer had to say and whether they charged anyone or gave anyone a ticket. If it is a contested liability case, they may want to retain a human factors expert or an accident reconstructionist to help them visualize the scene, show what happened, and convey how the pedestrian was not at fault.