Fault When A Motorcycle Hits A Pedestrian
Most people have considered “jaywalking” at least once in their lives, if they do not perform this illegal street crossing whenever they feel it is safe to do so. But the reality is that jaywalking or otherwise walking in or around roads can be extremely dangerous. Designated crosswalks and signals exist to help keep pedestrians saf, as well as to help keep motorists safe from an accident caused by a pedestrian in the road.
A motorcycle hitting a pedestrian can be deadly to both parties. The pedestrian is generally injured from being hit by the biker. The rider may be thrown off of his or her motorcycle upon hitting the person, suffering a variety of injuries or fatality. Both parties in these scenarios are prone to suffering head injury, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, chest injury and other types of deadly trauma.
According to the Arizona Department of Transportation’s 2015 Motor Vehicle Crash Facts Summary, one in seven motorcycle-pedestrian accidents in Arizona are fatal. Five of the seven cause injuries and only one in seven involves property damage only. When someone is killed in a motorcycle-pedestrian accident, the eloved ones of the killed pedestrian or motorcyclist can bring a lawsuit for wrongful death and other damages, in some circumstances.
Fault in a Motorcycle-Pedestrian Accident
Determining who is at fault in a motorcycle-pedestrian accident often requires a thorough accident investigation. This is because there is so much evidence to gather, statements must be taken from accident victims and witnesses, and the police report has to be reviewed.
To make things even more complicated, insurance adjusters often become involved. Insurance adjusters may be pressuring surviving victims or families to accept a quick, low settlement. In doing so, these insurance company employees are quick to assign fault according to their perspective and needs, before additional investigation takes place.
Most people believe that a pedestrian cannot be at fault when struck by a motorcycle. But this is not always true. As a thorough investigation may prove, pedestrians are sometimes at fault for causing a motorcycle accident, even their own injuries as a result of their negligent actions.
When the pedestrian is not entirely at fault for a motorcycle losing control or striking them, they may be partially to blame. Partial fault or shared fault can lead to reduced compensation for either of the accident victims’ injuries, those of the motorcycle rider and the pedestrian.
For some motorcycle accidents where a pedestrian is struck, determining fault is straightforward. A good example of this is a pedestrian struck by a motorcycle when the pedestrian is jaywalking – illegally crossing – on the street when the motorcycle has right-of-way. Other accident scenarios involve a pedestrian in the roadway, causing a motorcycle rider to lose control of the bike and crash. Or, the motorcycle rider may strike another vehicle or an object in or around the road while trying to avoid hitting a pedestrian in an intersection.
Determining Who Is at Fault in a Motorcycle-Pedestrian Accident
Unlike popular belief, pedestrians do not always have right of way. Pedestrians also have a duty of care when crossing streets or walking alongside roads. From 2011 to 2012, the number of annual motorcycle accident fatalities increased by 33,561. Seventy-two percent of this number is equal to how many pedestrians were struck and killed by motorcycle riders, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
When a pedestrian walks in restricted areas or crosses traffic against protocol and safety signals, they can be found negligent for their role in a resulting accident. They may be found fully at fault or could be considered partially responsible.
To help determine fault in a motorcycle accident, the following questions can be helpful:
- Was the pedestrian violating laws, such as by jaywalking or not using designated crosswalks, and was the pedestrian distracted?
- Was the motorcycle rider speeding or in violation of traffic laws?
Fault can be divided between more than one negligent party, including in motorcycle-pedestrian accidents. For example, if a pedestrian is found to be 40 percent at fault in the motorcycle accident, he or she can recover 60 percent of the medical costs, property damage, lost income and other damages they suffered in the accident.
Talk to an Attorney about Your Motorcycle-Pedestrian Accident
If you have been injured in an accident involving a pedestrian and a motorcycle, you should call an experienced personal injury and motorcycle accident lawyer right away. You also need to collect as much evidence and information at the scene as you can, to provide to your motorcycle accident lawyer. Even if you are partially at fault in your accident, you can still recover compensation for your injuries and other damages. In Arizona, call the skill personal injury and motorcycle accident lawyers of Cantor Crane at 602.254.2701 for a free, no-obligation consultation.