How Fault is Determined if a
Pedestrian is Hit by a Car
It may seem ironic that although the vehicle operator is usually at fault for hitting a pedestrian, the pedestrian is thought to have a better opportunity to avoid collisions. Drivers and pedestrians both owe others a duty of care. Any person who fails to uphold their duty of care can be found negligent for any accident that occurs as a result.
Colorado law recognizes the comparative negligence rule, which allows for fault to be assigned to multiple parties. If any party is found to be 50% or more at fault, that party will be excluded from pursuing a claim against any other parties to recover damages for injuries.
The comparative negligence rule mandates that any damages awarded by the courts will be reduced by the percentage of fault that is assigned to any party receiving compensation. For example, imagine you are injured in an accident as a pedestrian and are found to be 10% at fault, while the driver is found to be 90% at fault. The driver has $100,000 in bodily injury liability limits. If you are awarded the full $100,000 in damages that the policy permits, you would only be eligible to receive $90,000 in compensation, as you would not be able to collect 10% of the damages to account for your level of fault in the accident.
What Damages Can I Recover?
Colorado law allows plaintiffs to recover economic compensatory damages, non-economic compensatory damages, and in some cases, punitive damages.
- Economic Damages - These include easily quantifiable damages such as medical expenses, lost income, and in the case of a wrongful death claim, funeral expense, and loss of future financial support.
- Non-Economic Damages - Non-economic damages are those that are more difficult to quantify, including pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment, physical impairment and disfigurement, and loss of companionship.
- Punitive Damages - These are damages reserved for cases in which the negligent party displayed willful, wanton, malicious, and reckless disregard for the safety of others. Punitive damages of a significant monetary sum may be awarded to punish the negligent party for failing to take steps to protect others.
What Steps Should I Take to Pursue a Claim?
The first step you should take if you were injured or a loved one was incapacitated or killed, is to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. A good personal injury attorney can assess the details of your accident and advise you on whether or not you have a case for an injury claim. If you do, your attorney can walk you through the steps you need to take to pursue the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
If you do decide to pursue a personal injury claim, you will need to file a claim against the driver’s auto insurance bodily injury coverage first. This will involve attempting to negotiate a settlement with the insurer; however, if the insurer is unwilling to settle for adequate compensation, or if you are nearing the two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Colorado, you can choose to file a civil lawsuit against the driver. Attorneys for the driver’s insurance company will likely defend the civil suit.
If you have a loved one who has been killed as a result of being hit as a pedestrian, you should consult with an attorney immediately to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent driver.
Get The Guidance You Need
For Your Claim Today
Recovering damages after being hit by a motorist requires a thorough investigation of the accident. Generally, this is best handled by a knowledgeable personal injury attorney who can assess the details of the accident, determine fault, and begin the process of filing a claim. Your attorney will also be able to protect your rights and advocate for your needs as you deal with insurance companies.
So if you or someone you know has been injured in a pedestrian accident, don’t face this challenge alone. You have rights that need to be protected. Call or reach out to Landry Law, P.C. for reliable legal help and strong representation.