Pedestrians and Auto Accidents: Who is at Fault?

January 8, 2020
Pedestrians and Auto Accidents: Who is at Fault?

Car accidents can result in serious injury or even death for the individuals in each vehicle. But when an accident occurs between a car and a pedestrian, the consequences can be even more serious.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatal traffic accidents that involve pedestrians continue to increase. The number of pedestrian deaths increased by three percent from 2017 to 2018, with 6,283 pedestrians losing their lives.

While multi-car accidents can be quite serious when moving at higher speeds, a driver can easily cause extensive injuries or death to a pedestrian even when driving at 10 miles per hour.

You’ve Struck a Pedestrian: Now What?

If you have been involved in an accident and have struck a pedestrian you must do the following:

  1. Move anyone who is injured to a safe location.
  2. Call 911 and request medical care and police.
  3. Exchange information with everyone involved (assuming they are not incapacitated), and refrain from making statements of guilt.
  4. Contact a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney.

When a driver strikes a pedestrian, one of the biggest questions is: Who was at fault? Under the law of negligence, any person who fails to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances may be considered at fault (“negligent”). However, more than one person may be considered at fault.

Comparative Fault and Contributory Negligence

In Oklahoma, negligence is measured under the doctrine of Comparative Fault. State law says that just because someone has contributory negligence, does not bar them completely from recovering damages. For example, if a pedestrian is jaywalking and as a result a speeding car hits them, both parties are negligent. A court will determine the amount of negligence each party contributed.

If a plaintiff’s contributory negligence is greater than the negligence of the other person, only then is he or she is barred from recovering damages. In other words, in order to recover, your own negligence involved in causing your injuries must be less than 50 percent. However, whatever proportion of negligence you contributed to your own injuries reduces your damages by that percentage.

For example, if the driver who hit the pedestrian crossing the street illegally was deemed to be 20 percent at fault for going 10 miles per hour over the speed limit, he or she is not entitled to 20 percent of the damages. (If there is $100,000 in damages, they would receive $80,000 after accounting for their portion of contributory negligence.)

Graves McLain Can Help

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident – whether driver or pedestrian – due to another’s negligence, you should still be entitled to damages. That’s why it is important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney.

To learn more or to schedule a consultation right away, call Graves McLain at 918-359-6600. We will speak with you for FREE in order to determine how we can best help. You will never pay an attorney’s fee upfront – and you owe us nothing – unless we win your case. We don’t get paid until you do.

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