After any sort of accident, it is important to determine fault–especially if there have been injuries sustained by anyone involved. After a pedestrian accident, this is just as important as with any other type of accident, especially because pedestrians are likely to sustain significantly worse injuries than the passengers of the vehicle who was involved. If a passenger causes an accident, it is exceptionally unfair for the driver to be held responsible for any of the damages and injuries.
However, there are many biases about pedestrians that can lead to the pedestrian being wrongfully faulted for the accident, even as they were following the pedestrian traffic rules to the letter of the law. If you have been involved in an accident as a pedestrian, it is important that you get the legal protection and the compensation that you are entitled to if the driver of the motor vehicle was at fault. However, even if you were partially at fault it is important that you are able to protect yourself from unnecessary liability.
Visit the Capital Law Firm to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible about your options, take a look below about how these cases are typically handled, and get a better idea of steps that you can take to protect your own legal interests.
Determining Fault After an Accident
Determining fault after any sort of accident can be complicated, but this is especially true in a pedestrian accident. These following steps are ways that you can make sure that the whole story gets told, and that you legally protect yourself from any unnecessary liability.
The first things you should do after any accident is to call 911. Once contacted, they will dispatch police, fire, and EMTs to the scene of the accident to administer emergency care, secure the area and any hazards, and to document the situation in an accident report. This report includes statements from you, the driver, anyone else involved in the crash, and any potential witnesses. This official document is an important piece of information moving forward.
Gather Eyewitness Accounts
In addition to relying on police to gather eyewitness accounts, if possible make sure that you get the contact information of any third parties who witnessed the accident who could provide you with more insight as to how the accident happened, who was at fault, and other details they saw that you may not have seen.
Look For Surveillance Video
If possible, a surveillance tape, traffic camera, or dashboard camera are some of the best ways to determine who is at fault for an accident because they show the entire situation. While there is no guarantee that there is footage of the accident, make sure that you are certain one way or another. Remember that watching this footage yourself can be very difficult, so it may be best to have your attorney take this step so you do not need to relive the trauma.
Can the Driver and Pedestrian Both Be At Fault?
California’s pure comparative negligence rule allows for someone involved in an accident to seek compensation for their damages even if they are 99% to blame for the accident. The damages that they seek are reduced by the amount that they are to blame, meaning that someone who is 99% responsible is able to seek 1% of their total financial damages.
This rule is extremely important to keep in mind, because even if you are partially at fault for the crash, you have almost certainly sustained more severe injuries as a pedestrian than anyone inside a vehicle, meaning that you may be able to walk away with an actual settlement even if you are entitled to less than 50% of your total damages because of your contributory negligence. A lawyer will be able to help you understand how these breakdowns work in more specific detail as it relates to your accident.