The National Highway Traffic Safety Association reports that each year nearly 5,000 pedestrians die in motor vehicle related accidents, and more than 78,000 pedestrians suffer injuries when hit by a car or truck. In addition to pedestrian-vehicle incidents, thousands of non-vehicular pedestrian accidents also occur annually. Poor property maintenance, sidewalk or parking lot defects and/or construction or other debris on walkways may cause or contribute to these accidents.
Whether a vehicle or property defect causes an accident or injury, a pedestrian may recover damages for the injuries suffered if someone else’s negligence caused or contributed to the incident. In some cases, there may be more than one party with legal responsibility for the accident.
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, those with potential liability include:
- The driver of a vehicle that strikes a pedestrian
- The party responsible for maintaining the sidewalk, roadway or parking lot where the accident occurred
- The pedestrian himself
Usually, any recovery in a pedestrian negligence case involving a motor vehicle will hinge upon the exact duty of care owed by those involved. Both drivers and pedestrians must adhere to the laws of the road and exercise reasonable care. In many cases, it may seem obvious who was careless or negligent, but the courts look to a number of factors in applying the facts of each case to the elements of a “negligence” claim.