Oregon State Police responded to a one-vehicle crash involving a pedestrian on Highway 101 in Clatsop County. Chevrolet coupe driven by Aaron Harris, 29, was going northbound when he saw a pedestrian crossing the road but he was unable to avoid her. The pedestrian, Rachel Faith, McCune, 35, suffered fatal injuries and died at the crash scene.
Driver Liability in Pedestrian Accidents
If you or a loved one is hit by a car as a pedestrian, you may wonder if you have a right to compensation. In many cases, the driver is at fault for the accident and must pay for a pedestrian’s medical bills, lost earnings, and pain and suffering. If the pedestrian dies, the driver may have to pay wrongful death benefits to the deceased’s family.
Who is responsible
Questions arise about liability in an accident when a pedestrian was crossing a road where there was no crosswalk. Will the driver still be found partially liable for the accident? It depends. If a pedestrian acts in a way that makes it difficult for a driver to avoid them, a jury may find that the pedestrian caused the accident.
For instance, if the driver is going the speed limit and a pedestrian darts out from behind a car just feet in front of the driver, the driver would not be found at fault. Even if the driver was going 5 MPH over the speed limit, the driver still would not be held liable. However, not all pedestrian accidents have one guilty party and one innocent party. Sometimes both parties may have acted in ways that contributed to the accident.
For instance, a jury could find that a plaintiff pedestrian was 50% liable for the accident because he was jaywalking. The speeding driver who hit him also was 50% liable. The defendant driver would need to pay the plaintiff for 50% of the pedestrian’s losses. But in many states, including Oregon, if the pedestrian were more than 50% to blame for the accident, the driver would not have to pay anything.
A Good Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You Even If You Were Partially At Fault
Even if you are partially at fault for the accident as a pedestrian, you still could get a big settlement with a good Portland personal injury attorney.
More legal examples
New York woman was walking on a road in Suffolk County when she was hit by a company vehicle owned by Eli Lilly. The driver claimed he saw the woman just seconds before the crash because of poor street lighting and the woman’s dark clothing. The woman suffered a severe brain injury and the case was brought by her family. The driver was not found liable in the police report for the woman’s injuries.
However, the personal injury attorneys for the plaintiff gathered a team of international experts to prove that even though the plaintiff had on dark clothes on a poorly lit road, the driver should have seen her. Their experts showed that the plaintiff should have been visible from 175 feet by the driver if he had been paying attention.
One of the experts was an expert in nighttime visibility from the US Naval Academy.
The attorneys also hired an accident reconstruction expert using the location of the woman’s belongs after the accident as well as where she fell. They were able to show that the driver was probably going at least 20 MPH over the speed limit when the crash occurred.
Eli Lilly’s insurance company realized, despite the woman’s dark clothing and the poorly lit road, that they would probably lose at trial. So they agreed to a $13.5 million pre-trial settlement.
This case shows there are times where a pedestrian can be partially at fault for an accident and still receive a large payment. A key to success in these complex cases is having an outstanding personal injury attorney representing you.
What to do next
Call The Herron Law Firm if you have been injured in a pedestrian accident. Even if you are partially at fault, a favorable outcome is possible.