More often than not, when it comes to a car passenger accident, we presume the driver was at fault. Either speeding, drunk driving, or negligence; regardless of the assumption, there are incidences when the passenger can be found guilty – at least partially at fault. Depending on the circumstances, speed, and surrounding factors, it is possible for the driver to be found only partially at fault, or not at fault at all in a case. These are a few of those instances.
Determining Fault In A Car Passenger Accident Case –
In many cases, determining the fault in a passenger/car accident is clear. The passenger stopped in the middle of the road when there was a green light; or, the driver was speeding and didn’t have the time to stop at a red light. These might be the facts, but how about cases where it isn’t that black and white? Some factors that a jury will have to look at, if the case goes to trial include:
– State and federal law.
– Whether alcohol was involved.
– Nearby traffic signs.
– The speed at which the driver was going.
– Jaywalking or other illegal crossing.
These are a few of the many factors that will go in to determining of guilt. In certain instances, such as jaywalking or crossing against a traffic signal, the pedestrian can be found at least partially at fault in the case.
Shared Fault Cases –
Even when the pedestrian carries some fault (or a majority of the fault), it is highly likely that the driver will at least be found partially at fault. The pure comparative negligence rule allows pedestrians to receive some compensation, but their damages will be reduced by the percentage they were at fault. With modified comparative damages rule, the injured pedestrian can only collect if they are at fault by 50% of less in the case, and from there, damages will be reduced by the amount of fault they are found to have contributed to the accident.
Each state has different rules in place, so the amount of compensation that a pedestrian can receive, will vary in each state. Additionally, settlements are often reached prior to a case going to court, meaning the driver will possibly agree to pay the pedestrian a certain agreed upon amount, in order to avoid a lengthy trial, lawsuits, and other expenses and costs that come along with hiring a legal team. But, if a settlement is a agreed upon, the injured pedestrian can’t come to the driver at a later date, to sue for further damages, if they end up having recurring costs or expenses, because of the injuries they have sustained.
Contributory Negligence –
This is the “old school” system, and is still in practice in only a handful of states (approximately 5 states in the US). This is basically when the pedestrian has any fault whatsoever in the accident, even if it is only 1%, they are not going to be able to collect any damages from the accident, the injuries they have sustained, or future expenses they might have to pay. The same goes for the driver. Meaning, in a contributory negligence state, the only way either party is going to be able to collect any form of damages, is if one party is 100% at fault, and the other individual did not share any fault in the accident that ensued. If any form of negligence came from both parties, each party is going to be responsible for all costs, legal fees, medical costs, and so forth, in the present, as well as all future costs that they may ensue.
Hiring A Car Accident Lawyer in New Bedford
If you are ever involved in an accident in New Bedford, as a driver or pedestrian, it is important to know your state’s rules, and understand what you can receive in the form of compensation. Further, it is in your best interest to work with a professional legal team, to ensure you fully understand your rights, what you may be owed, and what you will have to prove in order to receive any damages in the case. Even when the pedestrian is at fault, they have the ability to collect damages in most states. Knowing your rights, what has to be done, and who to hire to help you file your claim, are just a few things to consider, when you are involved in an accident.
Contact one of our lawyers at 508-999-0800 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.