When pedestrian accidents occur, both the driver and the pedestrian may share a portion of the blame.
Pedestrian accidents are an unfortunately common occurrence, both in Ponca City and throughout Oklahoma. With little to protect them in the event of motor vehicle accidents, the injuries pedestrians suffer have a tendency to be severe. While motor vehicle drivers are generally assumed to be at fault in these collisions, the fact is that there are actions the pedestrian may have taken which increased their risks or contributed to the crash. For both the driver and the pedestrian, this can have major impacts when filing a claim.
Contributing Factors in Pedestrian Accidents
According to statistics from the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office (OHSO), more than 700 people are injured in pedestrian accidents throughout the state each year. Sadly, these crashes prove fatal for more than 10% of victims while leaving others suffering severe and potentially debilitating injuries.
When these types of crashes occur, at-fault drivers can be held liable. The victim or the surviving family members may be entitled to compensation through an insurance claim or personal injury/wrongful death lawsuit. Common behaviors on the part of motor vehicle drivers which put pedestrians at risk include speeding, running red lights, distracted driving, and driving under the influence. However, there are actions pedestrians may have taken before a crash which could impact their rights in a claim. These include:
Failing to use crosswalks and not crossing at designated intersections;
Not looking both ways before stepping off sidewalks;
Not taking the proper precautions when walking in parking lots;
Walking on the road or in restricted areas;
Walking at night and not taking actions to increase their visibility, such as wearing bright colors or carrying a flashlight.
While some of these are simply errors in judgment, others are violations of state laws. Pedestrians are subject to the same types of rules and regulations as motorists and failing to follow them increase pedestrian accident risks.
Your Rights in Pedestrian Accident Claims
When a pedestrian accident happens, the first step is often to file an insurance claim against the at-fault driver’s policy. However, the claim may be denied if investigations reveal the pedestrian was partially at fault for the accident. In this event, the victim may be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit.
A lawsuit seeking damages for a pedestrian accident is based on the negligent actions of the driver involved. Even if the pedestrian is partially to blame, he or she may still be entitled to compensation under Title 23 of the Oklahoma Statutes, through the legal theory of contributory negligence. Provided the pedestrian was not more than 50% responsible for the accident, he or she can still be awarded damages, though the amount would be reduced.
Speak with Our Ponca City Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys
At Boettcher, Devinney, Ingle & Wicker, we help pedestrian accident victims get the compensation they are entitled to for the injuries they suffer. Contact our Ponca City, OK motor vehicle accident attorneys and request a consultation to discuss your case today.