Pedestrian Accidents

Pure Contributory Negligence and Pedestrian Accidents

Posted by on Aug 27, 2013 in Car Accidents, Pedestrian Accidents, Personal Injury | 0 comments

It is entirely possible that a person who goes out to buy bread may end up injured or dead because of the negligence of others. Many motorists fail to observe the speed limit, protocol at intersections, stop and yield traffic signs, and crosswalks. It only takes one instance of being in the wrong place at the wrong time for life to take a wrong turn. Some drivers are not even aware of people they hit until the moment of impact, although this does not mean that the driver cannot be held liable. If the driver hit someone completely unawares, it’s because they should have probably been paying closer attention to their surroundings.

People don’t seem to understand how dangerous driving is and often fail to pay the requisite amount of attention to the road. In most states, a modified form of comparative negligence is observed in pedestrian accidents. This means that a pedestrian who is injured or dies as a result of a third party’s negligence at the wheel may file a personal injury or wrongful death suit (by a qualified relative) even if he or she is partly to blame as long as it is not more than 50 or 51 percent, depending on the state.

Virginia and North Carolina, however, are two of the 5 states that use the pure contributory negligence rule in pedestrian accidents. This means that if the pedestrian is partly to blame i.e. not using a crosswalk even to the smallest degree, a civil tort claim will not be allowed and no awards will be forthcoming. This may seem a little harsh, but that is the law in North Carolina and Virginia. However, there are exceptions to this rule such as the last, clear chance doctrine, and the process of filing a personal injury case for pedestrian accidents in general can be a difficult and complex process. This is especially true for Virginia and North Carolina where the burden of proof against the defendant is not on the plaintiff, but it has to be proven that the defendant was wholly responsible. This can be next to impossible without the assistance of aggressive and experienced legal representation conversant with the laws of both Virginia and North Carolina.

Read More