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Tennessee General Law Blog

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Are Pedestrians Ever to Blame in an Auto Accident?

There are many misconceptions about who is to blame after a pedestrian accident. Both the driver and the pedestrian can carry blame.

Pedestrian accidents are some of the worst seen on Manchester’s roads. Pedestrians are simply no match for a vehicle, and it does not even matter how fast the vehicle is traveling. Without protection, pedestrians are completely exposed and likely to sustain serious injuries when they are involved in a crash with a car. Not only are these accidents serious, but they are also largely misunderstood. While many people think pedestrians are never to blame for a crash, people on foot have to follow the rules of the road, as well. When they do not, they can be found partly liable for the crash.

Duties of Drivers and Pedestrians

Drivers and pedestrians both have a legal duty to act in a reasonable manner in order to keep everyone safe. The Tennessee Code also has specific laws pertaining to pedestrians and drivers. For example, drivers are expected to give pedestrians the right-of-way when they are in a crosswalk. When pedestrians wish to cross the road when there is no marked crosswalk, they must yield right-of-way to vehicles.

When either a driver or a pedestrian fails to abide by these laws, they are considered negligent. Negligence is acting in a careless or reckless manner. Should anyone become hurt by another person’s negligence, they can hold the negligent party liable for paying compensation for their injuries. However, many people question what happens when the driver and pedestrian both share a degree at fault. Who is liable then, and who pays compensation?

Shared Fault in Manchester

Up until 1992, Tennessee operated under the legal concept of contributory negligence. This meant that if an accident victim contributed to his or her own accident and injuries, the victim was completely barred from receiving compensation. This was true even if the victim was only 1% at fault for the accident. It was in 1992 that the Tennessee Supreme Court overturned that law.

Today, Tennessee operates under a modified comparative fault rule. Under this rule, as long as the accident victim holds less blame than the other party for the accident, then he or she can receive compensation for their injuries. That compensation is reduced by the percentage of fault the accident victim holds for the crash.

For example, if a pedestrian crosses the street at a section that does not have a marked crosswalk, he or she may look both ways for vehicles first. The pedestrian may see a car approaching but believe there is ample time to cross before the vehicle gets there. The pedestrian cannot tell that the driver is drunk and speeding excessively, and the vehicle strikes the pedestrian.

The courts may find the pedestrian partly at fault because he or she jumped out into traffic. However, they will also likely find the drunk driver more at fault because he or she was impaired and speeding. If the courts find the pedestrian 5% at fault for the accident, any compensation awarded will be reduced by that same 5%.

Were You Injured as a Pedestrian? Call Our Tennessee Pedestrian Accident Lawyers

While it is true that pedestrians can hold some legal liability for an accident, that also does not mean they are completely barred from receiving compensation. If you have been hurt, call our Manchester pedestrian accident lawyers at Burch, Morrison, & Stewart at (931) 954-1066. During your free consultation we will review your case and outline the legal options available to you. Contact us now for help receiving the compensation you deserve.

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