If a pedestrian is struck by an automobile on a New York City street, it might seem obvious that the driver of the automobile is the party responsible for the accident. However, the party or number of parties who are liable for a pedestrian accident is not always clear. Sometimes responsibility for a pedestrian incident can be spread around, which is something anyone involved in such an accident should be aware of.
FindLaw explains the different parties that can be held liable for a pedestrian accident. While the driver of a vehicle that hits a pedestrian is one of them, the party who maintained the surface where the pedestrian was walking at the time of the accident may also be held culpable. The circumstances of the accident may have involved a poorly maintained surface on a sidewalk or parking lot, which contributed to the pedestrian getting in the way of a vehicle or a vehicle not being able to stop or turn in time.
In addition, courts also examine the possible culpability of the pedestrian. This is where the opposing party may try to deflect blame by claiming the pedestrian purposely stepped into a traffic flow or in front of a vehicle, or did not use a designated crosswalk, or ignored a walk signal. Courts may decide that a pedestrian contributed to an accident by acting recklessly and conclude that the pedestrian committed contributory negligence.
A professional defense attorney will be vigilant to make sure improper blame is not cast on a pedestrian to make him or her culpable for injuries sustained in the accident. Because pedestrian accidents occur in many different ways, you should not consider this article as legal advice for your situation. It is only intended as general information on this topic.