When a pedestrian accident occurs, the first thing most people ask is, "Who was at fault?" It's a simple question that, depending on the state you live in, can mean the difference between getting the full compensation you deserve and having to pay for medical expenses -- among other damages -- out of pocket.
As you may or may not know, there are two main ways in which fault is assed: either through contributory negligence or comparative negligence. While contributory negligence has been known to prevent pedestrians from collecting damages after an accident they were clearly the victim of, comparative negligence can provide a fairer outcome simply because of how the system is set up.
A look at comparative negligence
In jurisdictions that employ comparative negligence, like California, the victim of a pedestrian accident may collect damages from the other party minus the victim's percentage of fault in the crash, which can be up to 99 percent.
To demonstrate what this means, consider for a moment a pedestrian entering a crosswalk before being struck by a car. Although the pedestrian in this scenario entered the crosswalk without right of way, the driver was also distracted by their cellphone at the time and failed to yield to the traffic signal.
In a case like this, even though the pedestrian was partially to blame for the accident, the driver was more at fault. Therefore, the pedestrian would be able to collect damages minus their percentage of fault.
When to seek legal representation
Although an officer responding to a pedestrian collision may assess fault one way, a driver and pedestrian may have completely different opinions about who was more at fault over the other. In cases like this, it's often necessary to seek legal representation in order to preserve the truth, protect a victim's rights and get a fairer outcome in the end.