Few details were available after a SUV hit a 47-year-old man who was apparently crossing the street outside a crosswalk. The victim died at the scene.
Representatives from several law enforcement agencies responded to the scene. They concluded that the driver was westbound on McClelland Circle in Georgetown when he struck a pedestrian who was in the road.
The driver was fully cooperating with the Scott County Sheriff’s Office, which had assumed the lead in the investigation.
Evidence in Pedestrian Accident Claims
Negligence cases don’t begin with negligence theories. Instead, they begin with the evidence in the case. Then, a Lexington personal injury attorney matches the evidence with the appropriate legal theory. Some lawyers work backwards. They start with a theory and then plug in evidence. That approach may be faster. But it usually doesn’t lead to maximum compensation.
The police report is often the most critical bit of evidence in a pedestrian injury claim. Just like the author of a book usually determines how good the book is, the author of a police report usually determines how reliable it is.
Typically, multiple agencies respond to fatal accident scenes. These large investigations usually include accident reconstruction professionals. These individuals not only know how to gather bits of evidence. They know how to fit this evidence together, like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
Additionally, these professionals usually don’t file reports until they review all evidence, including things like a vehicle’s Event Data Recorder. A vehicle’s EDR is a lot like an airplane’s black box.
Other accidents are different. Only a few people from a single agency come to the scene and investigate the matter. These report authors usually are not accident reconstruction professionals. Instead, they must do their best with the time and skills they have. Often, these things are limited.
Evidence in a pedestrian accident claim also includes medical bills and witness statements. Medical bills are especially compelling if they include treatment notes. These notes indicate things like the victim’s pain level. So, they are relevant to both economic and noneconomic damages.
Briefly, economic losses include things like medical bills. Noneconomic losses include intangible things, like pain and suffering. Accident victims are entitled to compensation for both kinds of losses.
Witness statements are usually either very compelling or almost useless. There is usually little in-between. Disinterested witnesses who simply tell what they saw have an almost mystical effect on an injury claim. However, if there is any hint of witness bias or incompetence, jurors often ignore everythign they say.
Most pedestrian accidents occur outside crosswalks. Right-turn pedestrian accidents might be the biggest exception.
Normally, when drivers turn right, they only look to the left. That’s especially true if they approach an intersection on a stale green light that’s been the same color for several seconds. As a result, they may not see a pedestrian in the crosswalk to their right until it’s too late. Since the drivers are turning, the pedestrians clearly have the right of way, even if the “Don’t Walk” sign is flashing.
Additionally, most roads are designed to move vehicle traffic as quickly as possible. WIde lanes and short red lights are the norm. It’s almost impossible for people with any mobility impairments to get all the way across the street before the light turns red.
Technically, pedestrians in the crosswalk on red are jaywalking. But the duty of care still requires motorists to yield, at least in most cases.
Most pedestrian accidents happen outside crosswalks. As mentioned, these pedestrians don’t have the right of way. However, they could still be eligible for compensation, science the duty of care applies. These cases are more complex, mostly because additional insurance company defenses are available in these matters.
Comparative fault, which is basically a failure to stop and look both ways, and sudden emergency are among the most common defenses in pedestrian accident claims.
Basically, comparative fault shifts accident blame from the tortfeasor (negligent driver) to the victim. Motorists aren’t the only people with a duty of care. The same duty applies to pedestrians. They cannot step out into traffic and assume cars and trucks will stop for them.
In these situations, jurors normally must divide fault on a percentage basis, such as 50-50 or 90-10, between the two parties. Kentucky is a pure comparative fault state. So, even if the victim is 99 percent responsible for the wreck, the tortfeasor is liable for a proportionate share of damages.
Sudden emergency is an enhanced form of comparative fault on several levels. Instead of stepping into traffic, the victim runs into traffic. A small child chasing an errant ball is a good example. Furthermore, sudden emergency, if it applies, doesn’t just reduce the amount of compensation. It excuses negligence.
Procedurally, the insurance company must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not), that the tortfeasor reasonably reacted to a sudden emergency.
In this context, a “sudden emergency” usually means a lightning strike, a hood fly-up, or another completely unexpected situation. A jaywalking pedestrian, even a reckless one, is an everyday hazard, like a stopped-short car or a large pothole. So, this defense usually doesn’t apply in pedestrian accident claims.
Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no insurance or money. #goodelawyers