What if I Am Partly to Blame for My Pedestrian Accident?

January 8, 2024 | By Francis Firm Injury Attorneys
What if I Am Partly to Blame for My Pedestrian Accident?

Pedestrian accidents happen when you least expect it. You might be crossing the street at a crosswalk with a walk signal, assuming you are safe when a driver makes a turn and collides directly into you. While you are obeying the law, another person’s distraction or failure to yield suddenly turns your life upside down.

Many injured pedestrians face serious challenges due to their injuries. You might need costly and ongoing medical treatment, have to miss work, and have to forego the usual activities you enjoy while you recover. Some pedestrians never fully recover, and their accident forever alters their lives, affecting them financially, physically, and mentally.

If you have serious injuries and someone else is responsible, you can seek compensation from their insurance for your injuries and losses. However, liability rules can be complex in personal injury cases. You must first prove that a driver was negligent in a pedestrian accident and present evidence that they did something unreasonable. In many cases, the driver is 100 percent to blame for the accident because they did something careless, such as driving distracted.

Proving negligence is not the end of the story, and insurance companies may turn around and say that you also did something wrong. They certainly have a motivation for doing so, and you will lose money if they can prove their allegations. In a pedestrian accident case, there may be quite a bit of money on the line since injuries are usually severe.

You have every reason to contact a pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as you can after your accident. If you cannot make the call, have someone do it for you. When lawyers say that they will fight for your legal rights, one of the things that they will do is stand up for you when insurance companies try to blame you wrongfully. If you delay getting a lawyer, your financial compensation can be at risk.

The Number of Serious Pedestrian Accidents Is Increasing

The sidewalks and roads are becoming a far more dangerous place for pedestrians, and the fatality rate in pedestrian accidents is soaring. In recent years, the number of people killed rose above 7,500, which is the highest number of fatalities since the early 1980s. Even though governments are running awareness campaigns and trying to make things safer for pedestrians, much depends on drivers and the level of care that they exercise. Unfortunately, drivers are acting in a riskier and more self-centered fashion.

Many people suffer an injury in pedestrian accidents, and most of them are seriously hurt because there is nothing to protect them from impact with the car. They may be thrown through the car's windshield or propelled through the air to the hard concrete. Pedestrian accident victims are facing a lengthy rehabilitation process, and some of them may never fully recover.

Your pedestrian accident case will depend on the evidence you possess or that your lawyer can obtain during the legal process. You may not start with anything because your physical injuries prevented you from gathering evidence at the scene of the accident.

A pedestrian accident lawyer knows how to get the evidence you need for your claim. Initially, you have the burden of proof to show that the driver was to blame for the accident. Negligence is the legal standard in a personal injury case, and you must prove that the driver did something unreasonable under the circumstances.

How Drivers Can Be to Blame for Pedestrian Accidents?

Here are some ways that drivers can cause pedestrian accidents:

  • Not seeing a crosswalk because they were distracted and looking down at their phone
  • Being unable to stop in time because they are exceeding the posted speed limit
  • Losing control of their car because they are drunk
  • Not paying enough attention behind the wheel
  • Being unable to correctly see at night (which is when most pedestrian accidents occur)
  • Driving recklessly and missing the crosswalk or not seeing the pedestrian

Insurance Companies May Try to Blame You to Preserve Their Checkbook

Insurance companies know they may be responsible for significant money in a pedestrian accident claim. When an accident victim has suffered a severe injury, they must pay for their driver's actions. Insurance companies go into self-preservation mode when faced with large potential claims and try to find a way to cut their tab or get out of paying entirely. They are known to do whatever it takes to save themselves money in a pedestrian accident case.

It is a common strategy for insurance companies to try to blame the victim for their injuries. Each state has a law that dictates whether a personal injury victim can get compensation when they bear part of the blame. Some states do not allow accident victims to get anything, even when they are only a fraction to blame for the accident. Other states may prohibit a financial recovery if the pedestrian was more than 50 percent at fault for the accident. The tactics the insurance company may use depends on the law in your state.

Facing Partial Blame for Your Pedestrian Accident Can Feel Devastating

Facing even partial blame for your pedestrian accident can be a distressing and challenging situation. In such cases, you may face a range of emotions, from shock to guilt, as you try to navigate the aftermath of the incident.

Understanding that accidents involving pedestrians often have multiple contributing factors, you should recognize that shared blame doesn't necessarily imply sole responsibility. The complexities of traffic dynamics, road conditions, and the behavior of both pedestrians and drivers can contribute to accidents.

While the emotional toll can be overwhelming, you can seek legal counsel to navigate the legal complexities and determine the degree of liability accurately. An experienced pedestrian accident attorney can assess the circumstances surrounding the accident, evaluate evidence, and advocate for a fair apportionment of blame.

Moreover, you should prioritize your well-being and mental health during this challenging time. Keep up with your medical treatment for your injuries, even if you worry about your ultimate compensation. Never assume your claim is a lost cause because you hit an obstacle. Instead, put your case in the hands of a pedestrian accident lawyer who can prove who was truly to blame.

You May Still Get Some Money When You Were Partly to Blame for the Accident

You can get money for a pedestrian accident, even with a shared fault. However, you can and should fight any effort to portray yourself as careless when it is not fact-based. You have rights in a pedestrian accident case, and your lawyer will protect them.

Insurance companies know they may owe an accident victim and their family significant financial compensation for their injuries. They may try to get out of paying an accident victim entirely or attempt to cut their tab at the margins. Either way, you may be in a challenging legal situation when seeking a full settlement check.

Even if the insurance company manages to make any allegations against you, it does not mean that you are not eligible for compensation. You may get a reduced amount of money, but you can still receive a settlement check; therefore, you should always fight back when the insurance company tries to scapegoat you.

Your Lawyer Can Defend You from Unfair Allegations

The point is that you should never make any assumptions about whether you are eligible for financial compensation. Even if you think you may have done something wrong, you should always check with a lawyer, who will determine if you have a potentially valid claim. A lawyer will likely not take the case if they do not believe it to be strong because they will end up working for free if there is no settlement.

Your lawyer's job will be to defend you from the insurance company's allegations that you are to blame for your accident. Insurance companies have the burden of proof and need evidence to demonstrate what you may have done. If they do not have this proof, they will not be successful in blaming you for the accident. However, they may act like you are the one who has the burden of proof to show that you did nothing wrong.

You Can Present Evidence to Show that it Was All the Driver's Fault

You may have to prove your innocence to get total compensation for your pedestrian accident, and your lawyer's role will morph into that of a defense attorney. They can gather evidence about what happened during the accident and use it to combat any narrative that unfairly blames you.

Your lawyer may use the following sources of evidence to not only prove what happened during the accident but also to defend you from allegations:

  • Eyewitness testimony from people who saw the accident
  • The police report that the officer wrote describing their observations and what they were told (but it is hearsay and inadmissible in court)
  • Pictures from the scene of the accident
  • Testimony from an accident reconstruction expert
  • Traffic or dashcam footage

You Can Fight the Insurance Company if Necessary

Remember that insurance companies do not get the final say over whether you can get compensation and how much you can receive. They merely try to settle the claim on behalf of their policyholder. You have the legal rights, and insurance companies are in a position where they need to negotiate with you. If they deny the claim and refuse to settle with you, it is not the end of your pursuit of financial compensation.

Similarly, insurance companies cannot blame you for part of the accident without you having any recourse. Your attorney can negotiate with them about your percentage of blame, and they may be willing to talk because it is a way of managing their own risk. Alternatively, you can take the case to a jury, which will determine who bears the most responsibility for the accident.

Contact a Lawyer Right After the Pedestrian Accident

You need to contact a pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible. In the interim, many things can cloud your legal picture, and the insurance company thinks nothing of trying to trick or take advantage of you when you are in a problematic state. The longer you go without a lawyer, the more your legal rights are compromised. If the driver's insurance company gets you to speak on the record, you can say something incriminating without even realizing it.

In addition, you only have a limited time to gather the needed evidence because insurance companies begin to get proof to back up their contentions. Then, it may be too late to hire a lawyer.

How a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Can Help Your Case?

When you hire an experienced pedestrian accident attorney, they will do the following for your case:

  • Investigate the accident and gather proof that can show the driver was to blame for the accident
  • Review your case and explain the legal process and your options for compensation
  • Compile your claim, which includes the amount of damages you seek and evidence that proves liability
  • Determine whether to file an insurance claim or a lawsuit against the responsible driver
  • Fight for you to get the highest amount of compensation for your pedestrian accident injuries
  • Continue your case for as long as it takes for you to get what you deserve

These functions require toughness and experience, and you need an attorney to get total compensation for your damages the percentage of your recovery you give to your lawyer often more than pays for itself.

You can think again if you are worried about money because you do not have to pay your lawyer any retainer fee or hourly bills while your case is pending. Your Texas personal injury lawyer receives payment from the proceeds of your settlement or jury award, which is the only time they get money for their time. You do not owe your attorney anything if you do not win; thus, you should get a lawyer in your time of need.