Minnesota law offers numerous protections to pedestrians that are struck by vehicles because the consequences of such a collision can be devastating. At the same time, a pedestrian isn’t always fully in the right if an accident occurs, and their role in the accident can have a large impact on the injury award. In today’s blog, we take a look at pedestrian negligence and the role it plays in determining an injury award.
Pedestrian Right Of Way And Negligence
Given what a pedestrian and a driver have to lose in the event of a collision, it’s easy to see why pedestrians oftentimes are given the right of way and drivers are forced to yield when the two encounter one another. In Minnesota, vehicles are forced to yield to pedestrians at corners and intersections, even if the crosswalk is unmarked. If you don’t, not only do you stand to be ticketed by a police officer, but you could be on the hook for thousands of dollars in damages if you strike a pedestrian.
With that said, not every collision between a driver and a pedestrian is entirely the fault of the driver. There are some instances in which the pedestrian’s actions would be considered negligent, and that could lower or negate an injury award payment by the driver’s insurance company. Some situations that could be declared pedestrian negligence include:
- If a pedestrian is walking in a roadway where there is no clear pedestrian pathway.
- If the pedestrian is under the influence of alcohol or drugs and their impairment has directly resulted in their injuries by way of an illegal or unpredictable crossing of traffic.
- Pedestrians who do not follow the traffic signals or laws, or those who cross roadways illegally.
- Pedestrians who act recklessly or carelessly when crossing the roadway.
Obviously some of the above points are open to interpretation. For example, if you have the walk signal and you’re crossing the street while looking down at your phone, this would not constitute careless or reckless behavior because you had the right of way, even though you were distracted by your phone. Same goes for if you were intoxicated, but you legally attempted to cross the street at an unmarked intersection when you were struck by a car turning right at a red light. The presence of some of the above factors does not automatically mean you are ineligible for an award, it just means you need to work harder to prove that the driver was still largely at fault.
Being deemed a negligent pedestrian can seriously lower your award amount, leaving you with excessive medical bills to pay. On the flip side, if you struck a pedestrian because they were acting negligently, you need to ensure you’re not liable for more than what you truly owe. If you find yourself in a situation where you’ve been struck or you’ve struck a pedestrian and questions arise about liability and negligence, know that you need to have a lawyer by your side. We know how the insurance company is going to try to handle things, and they will try to give you the short end of the stick.
Get a professional in your corner and fight back against the insurance company. We can track down witness testimony, video evidence and police reports to show that your version of events is correct and that you earn what you are entitled to receive. For more information, or to discuss your injury case with a lawyer with extensive pedestrian accident-related experience, pick up the phone and give Dean and the team at Margolis Law Office a call today at (953) 230-2700.