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Facts and liability issues regarding pedestrian accidents

In Rhode Island and around the country, almost 5,000 pedestrians are fatally injured annually after being struck by a vehicle, according to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The report further stated that in 2012, about 76,000 pedestrians who were involved in an auto-related accident were injured. Moreover, each year thousands of pedestrians experience an injury from poorly maintained roads, sidewalks and walkways.

A negligent motorist or property owner in such cases may be liable for any damages a pedestrian suffered. For instance, if a motorist struck a pedestrian while he or she was speeding, intoxicated or driving in a reckless or careless fashion, the pedestrian or the family of a deceased pedestrian may be able to file a claim in a civil court in order to hold the driver liable for damages stemming from the accident. The same applies to a property owner who contributed to or caused a pedestrian's injury because of a damaged sidewalk or parking lot or another hazard that the owner failed to correct.

In an auto-pedestrian crash, the injured party must provide evidence that the liable party was negligent at the time of the accident that led to the plaintiff's injury. The courts will also consider other factors such as the duty of care, the presence of children in the area and the party that had the legal right of way.

Additionally, pedestrians who did not adhere to traffic rules and did not exercise care may be considered partly to blame for their injuries. Those who have suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident might consider retaining the services of an attorney in order to determine if it is advisable to file a personal injury claim.

Source: Findlaw, "Pedestrian Accidents Overview", November 18, 2014

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