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Pedestrian Injury Cases: They’re More Complex Than You Think


Whenever a car hits a pedestrian, the natural assumption is that the car is at fault. Cars are larger, faster, and we have all been trained, as drivers, to look for and avoid pedestrians. It’s no wonder that the assumption is that the car is at fault.

But in reality, car on pedestrian cases are a lot harder to win for injured pedestrians than you may think. A pedestrian needs to do more than just show that he or she was walking and was hit by a car.

But what is it about pedestrian accident cases that makes them so difficult for injured pedestrians to win? Here are some reasons. But note that none of this means that pedestrians cannot win accident cases—they can, and do, regularly. It just means that the complexities of these cases require the help of attorneys with experience in pedestrian accident cases.

Jurors relate to Drivers

The first hurdle is just plain bias.

It’s no secret that at least here in South Florida, more of us drive places than walk. That means that the jury on the case is more likely to sympathize with the driver. The jurors are more likely to understand that some pedestrians jump out in front of cars, and when they put themselves in the feet of either party, they’re more likely to do so with and thus sympathize with the driver.

Following the Rules

The other problem is that in many cases, pedestrians don’t always exactly follow the law, when walking on public roadways.

Many cross when they don’t have a signal. Many cross in areas that aren’t designated crosswalks. That is in part due to South Florida not being very pedestrian-friendly, but the fact is that many times pedestrians walk or cross streets, in areas or ways that they should not.

That doesn’t mean they can’t recover damages. But it does mean that a jury can blame the pedestrian for his or her injuries or the accident. And that gives a liable car driver that hits a pedestrian, an avenue to mount a legal defense to the case.

In some cases, neither the car driver, or the pedestrian, are following the law. A pedestrian may jump out on a road without a crosswalk, while the driver who hit the pedestrian may have been distracted and not paying attention.

When this happens, the jury has to look at both parties, and evaluate which has more liability—which party’s actions or inactions most contributed to the accident. In some cases, a jury will have to decide which party had the last opportunity to avert an accident, but failed to do so.

Not as Much Evidence

Unlike cars, pedestrians don’t often sustain damage that tells you how the accident happens. A pedestrian can sustain broken bones or other injuries, but that doesn’t give any clue as to how the accident happened, or where the car or person were when the collision happened, the way damage to an actual car does.

Pedestrians also may not even remember the accident, again, providing proof problems in court.

Injured as a pedestrian? Get help with your accident case. Contact the Tampa personal injury lawyers at Barbas, Nunez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian and schedule a consultation today.

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