Can a Driver Pursue a Claim Against a Pedestrian?
I don’t have to tell you that when a driver strikes a pedestrian, in a majority of cases, the pedestrian will be successful in filing a personal injury claim. If you’re reading this article, you may be wondering what circumstances would let a driver collect compensation after a crash involving a pedestrian.
Believe it or not, as protected as pedestrians are under the rules of the road, there have been a few situations where the negligence of a pedestrian caused them to significantly contribute to the crash.
Was the Pedestrian Acting Negligently?
In all traffic accidents, liability is based on negligence, a term you’ve likely heard used before in personal injury cases. We all know that pedestrians are very vulnerable on the roadways of New Mexico, so drivers are required to yield to those crossing the street in front of a vehicle. However, pedestrians are also required to exercise the same duty of care to prevent harm to themselves. This can mean following street signs, pedestrian controls, and staying in designated crossing areas. There are many hazards associated with distracted walking, which many studies believe is a contributor to more and more pedestrians accidents each year.
If a pedestrian acts recklessly and caused damage to a vehicle, the driver could, in theory, file a lawsuit against the pedestrian to recover damages, although this is quite rare. In most cases, the pedestrian is injured due to his or her own negligence and this can impact their ability to pursue a lawsuit against the driver.
Comparative & Contributory Negligence
You may notice a trend of pedestrians “contributing,” in some form, to the collision. That’s because the principles of comparative and contributory negligence are applied when assigning blame in cases where there may have been more than one negligent party. New Mexico and other states with comparative negligence laws will reduce a pedestrian’s ability to recover damages according to the percentage of his or her fault in the collision. For instance, if a pedestrian was found to be 75 percent liable for jaywalking when he walked into the side of a vehicle, he will only be able to recover 25 percent of his total damages.
States using a model of contributory negligence will prohibit an involved party from recovering any damages entirely if he or she contributed to the crash in any way. So, concerning the example above, the pedestrian would be completely barred from pursuing a case at all.
If you’ve been involved in a car crash, you shouldn’t leave your outcome to chance. Contact an experienced New Mexico personal injury lawyer today.
New Mexico Pedestrian Accidents
As we all know, being a pedestrian can be dangerous. New Mexico had the highest pedestrian fatality rate in the nation in 2017. In 2018, 82 pedestrians were killed in car crashes across the state.
Injured parties should contact an experienced Albuquerque personal injury lawyer to handle their case. Will Ferguson & Associates believes in helping those unfairly injured by another driver. Contact our offices at (505) 243-5566 to discuss your case today.
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