North Carolina pedestrian accidents can be complex. True, those involving motor vehicles can often be fairly straightforward cases, especially if the driver was clearly negligent or reckless. Yet there are circumstances when a situation involving a pedestrian is more complex, such as those involving a hit-and-run, property maintenance, construction material/debris, or parking lot defects. Yet no matter whether one’s case appears to be simple or not, a pedestrian involved in an accident needs the help of an experienced North Carolina injury lawyer to get them through the situation.
A North Carolina injury lawyer needs to be versed in multiple areas of the law; automobile law, commercial/residential property law, drunk-driving statutes, and personal injury law are all aspects of pedestrian law. A North Carolina injury lawyer from the offices of Brent Adams & Associates is experienced and knowledgeable when it comes to understanding these and the other fields of law that may affect one’s case.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Association reports that each year nearly 5,000 pedestrians die in motor vehicle-related accidents, and more than 78,000 pedestrians suffer injuries when hit by a car or truck. Every two hours or less, a pedestrian is killed in a traffic accident. But vehicles are not the only cause of North Carolina pedestrian accidents. In addition to pedestrian-vehicle incidents, thousands of non-vehicular pedestrian accidents also occur annually. Poorly maintained property, defects in sidewalks or parking lots, and construction debris on walkways can contribute to these accidents.
Proving Driver Negligence
Whether a vehicle or property defect causes an accident or injury, a pedestrian may recover damages for the injuries suffered if someone else's negligence caused or contributed to the incident. Negligence is the legal term for the failure to do (or not do) something that a reasonable person would, in a similar situation, in order to protect others from foreseeable risks. In order to establish negligence in a pedestrian accident, the injured person must prove that the person at fault acted in an unreasonable manner.
Who’s at Fault?
First off, while you may be led to believe that drivers who hit and kill pedestrians are always at fault (after all, a car can easily weigh 40 times as much as a person and moves considerably faster), many times it is the case that the pedestrian is actually at fault. Pedestrians who are hit by motor vehicles may have a claim against the driver but they must prove that the driver was fully negligent and that the driver's negligence alone caused the accident. However pedestrians must also adhere to the laws of the road. For instance, if someone walks across the street before the signal tells them to go, that person has violated traffic laws and could be held responsible even if he or she is the one injured.
However, many times, the driver is at fault. If a driver fails to observe posted speed limits; fails to yield the right of way to pedestrians at marked cross walks; fails to turn properly at an intersection; or drives while under the influence of alcohol, he or she would be liable for any injury or death caused to a pedestrian.