When there is an accident between car and a pedestrian in RI, the first assumption is probably that the driver of the car or any other vehicle is at fault. Often, the automobile motorist is at fault for these types of mishaps. In many cases, the motorcycle, van, bus or automobile operator is 100 percent at fault because the motorist was: intoxicated, speeding, driving erratically, ran a stop sign or was distracted as a result of texting while driving. If you were injured in a pedestrian accident in RI, contact a Rhode Island Pedestrian Accident Lawyer.
Injured in a RI pedestrian accident
If you were injured in a pedestrian accident in Rhode Island , contact a Rhode Island pedestrian accident attorney. A RI personal injury lawyer will help you get the settlement you deserve Nonetheless in many cases, the car driver is at fault but the pedestrian is also partially at fault for the crash. There is a common saying “the pedestrian has the right of way”, but it is not always true from the legal point of view in Rhode Island.
” Drivers and pedestrians who are alcohol-impaired Alcohol involvement for the driver or the pedestrian was reported for 49% of the traffic crashes that resulted in pedestrian death. Where alcohol involvement was reported, 34% of fatal crashes involved a pedestrian killed who had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of greater than or equal to .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) and 15% involved a driver with a BAC of greater than or equal to .08 g/dL.1 Additional Risk Factors Additionally, higher vehicle speeds increase both the likelihood of a pedestrian being struck by a car and the severity of injury.4 Most pedestrian deaths occur in urban areas, non-intersection locations, and at night.1″ Center for disease control and prevention Injury Prevention & Control: Motor Vehicle Safety References: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic Safety Facts 2013 Data – Pedestrians. Washington, DC: US Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; 2015. Publication no. DOT-HS-812-124. [cited 2015 Feb 17]. Available at http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812124.pdf . Accessed February 17, 2016. CDC
Comparative fault in RI
Under Rhode Island law, liability is apportioned based a comparative methodology. RI has adopted pure comparative negligence. Pure comparative fault means that a pedestrian who is more than 50 percent at fault for a car, truck or bus accident can still recover damage for their injuries. For example, in Rhode Island and Providence plantations, a pedestrian who walked across a busy street while web surfing and not using due care is killed by a motorist going 5 miles over the designated speed limit. If a jury in a Providence County Wrongful death cause of action finds that the pedestrian is 98 percent at fault for the collision then the negligent pedestrian would still be entitled to 2 percent of their damages.
However, RI’s neighboring state of Massachusetts (MA) utilizes a modified comparative fault law. If a pedestrian in Mass. is more than 50 percent at fault for a motor vehicle-pedestrian accident then the pedestrian is not entitled to any recover for pain and suffering, personal injury, lost wages or medical bills. In a car-Pedestrian accident, the pedestrian can also be partially at fault. Reading further will help you know better how and when damages may be lowered because a Pedestrian is partially at fault for a car-pedestrian accident.
Determining fault for a car-pedestrian or a truck- pedestrian accident in Rhode Island:
Suppose you see an accident in which a car hits a Pedestrian. You tell this to your friend and then your friends asks “whose fault was it?” You answered, it is difficult ascertain either party 100 percent at fault for the accident because the operator of the auto was speeding and texting while driving but the pedestrian saw an ice cream truck on the opposite side of the road and ran out suddenly into the middle of the moving traffic. Perhaps if the automobile motorist had been going the speed limit and watching the road he could have avoided hitting the man darting into his lane of traffic. Nonetheless, the pedestrian failed to utilize a nearby crosswalk and did not look both ways before running out into traffic.
If the driver is at fault for the accident, the pedestrian can recover the compensation from driver or the insurance carrier of the driver for the harm caused.
Below are some of the common scenarios under which pedestrian can be comparatively at fault for an accident:
- crossing in the middle of the street, jaywalking
- entering a street or highway while intoxicated
- crossing without following the traffic signals
- Walking along bridges or highways where access to pedestrian is prohibited.
- Distracted walking such as texting while walking or web surfing while walking
Shared Fault in Pedestrian-Car Accident:
In fact, there can be the cases where both pedestrian and driver can be at fault (both of them partially). For example, a pedestrian crossing in the middle of the street and the driver may not have been driving at a reliable speed, and was unable to stop in time.
So, what happens in such cases, where both driver and pedestrian are at fault? The rules for shared fault in accidents followed by different states are different but are based on these two basic concepts:
- Comparative negligence
- Contributory negligence
Comparative negligence: Under this rule, an injured person can get compensation from the at-fault party, but the amount that the injured person will receive, get reduced by the percentage which is equal to their share of fault. For instance, if in an accident, both are faulty and jury determines that the 75% fault was of driver and 25% was that of pedestrian. If this rule is followed for compensating, then the pedestrian compensation amount would get reduced by 25% of the total amount. If a pedestrian is killed in an auto accident then the administrator or executor of the deceased estate must retain a Rhode Island wrongful death attorney to seek compensation for the fatal / deadly pedestrian accident.
There is also modified comparative negligence as set forth above used in certain state courts.
Contributory negligence: This is a traditional system, but is used in Alabama, District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. It is an all or nothing system. If the states follow this system, then you will not be able to file a claim against the party at-fault. They could file a claim for first party via their own insurance coverage, but no party can file a case against each other.
Summary: In a car-pedestrian accident, there can be a fault of pedestrian, car driver or both of them. One can file the Pedestrian Accidents claims on the other, if there is fault of one party, in case the fault is of both parties, then depending on the state laws, the person is claimed.
The injured victim was attempting to cross the street on foot in East Providence, RI. As she was attempting to traverse Taunton Ave. in East Providence, she was struck by the defendant, motorist, who was driving an SUV. She was on her way to work at the time of the Rhode Island Pedestrian accident.
RI pedestrian accident attorney
Sadly, as a result of the crash, she was seriously injured and the Plaintiff’s leg was amputated. It is unclear from the RI Supreme Court decision any other injuries suffered by the crash victim. The plaintiff filed a negligence cause of action as a result of the car collision in Providence Superior Court. After a 7 day negligence jury trial, including legal arguments from Plaintiff’s RI personal injury Attorney and Defendants’ car accident lawyers and testimony from numerous witnesses, a Providence Superior Court Jury ruled in favor of the defendant and determined that the Defendants were not liable for the automobile accident causing the plaintiff’s amputation. Read the RI pedestrian accident Case here: Cheryl D. Mead v.Sanofi-Aventis U.S., Inc., et al.
Injured pedestrian has no memory of accident
The Providence Superior Court Justice refused to grant Plaintiff’s motion for a new pedestrian accident injury jury trial reasoning that “Moreover, the trial justice stated that Mead was struck after taking only a few steps into the street, which clearly indicated that it was not actually safe for her to have crossed.” Id. The Plaintiff appealed the automobile accident decision to the Rhode Island Supreme Court sitting in Providence. The RI Supreme Court affirmed the trial Justice’s decision in favor of the defendants. Sadly, the seriously injured victim does not remember the accident. She testified based on prior visits to that location that there was no crosswalk at the scene of the tragic auto crash.
Motorist who waived pedestrian across the road
Another motor vehicle operator had stopped and waived for the pedestrian to cross the road. He testified “he stopped his car, made eye contact with her, extended his arm out the window of his car, and waved for her to cross. The motorist who stopped testified that “DaSilva testified that he did not hear McNamara’s vehicle skid before striking Mead and did not see any skid marks on the street after the accident.” Id.
Testimony of Witness who was in motor vehicle behind Car who Waived Pedestrian to cross the street:
The motorist behind the car driver who waived the pedestrian to pass, testified that the injured pedestrian “acknowledged DaSilva’s wave by wav[ing] her right hand saying, basically, thank you….Cunha testified that, after Mead acknowledged DaSilva’s wave, she then sprint[ed] across the street and took approximately [t]hree to four steps into the street before McNamara’s vehicle struck her, causing her to “cartwheel in the air. He further noted that Mead did not take into consideration oncoming traffic before she popped right out into the street. Cunha, like DaSilva, testified that he did not hear McNamara’s vehicle skid and did not notice any skid marks in the street after the accident. He recalled that he did not observe McNamara’s vehicle before it actually struck Mead.” Id.
Defendant’s testimony in RI pedestrian Accident:
The defendant alleged tortfeasor who the jury determined was not negligent, testified that “Mead suddenly emerged from between two parked vehicles located to the right of his vehicle. He testified that he saw Mead for “[m]aybe a second” before his vehicle struck her. He then stopped his vehicle at “just about the point of impact.” He recalled that, when his vehicle struck Mead, she “went onto [his] hood and then was projected forward and landed on the ground.” He testified that Mead was not in a crosswalk when the accident occurred.” Id.
Gomes testified that he observed Mead “right through the * * * rear window” of one of the parked vehicles on his right. He stated that he saw Mead walk from the gas station toward the street and that Mead did not look in the direction from which he and McNamara approached before she began to cross. According to Gomes, Mead “just didn’t stop” before crossing the street. Consistent with McNamara’s testimony, Gomes testified that he did not see DaSilva’s vehicle stopped in the opposite lane and did not see DaSilva wave at Mead to cross the street. Gomes testified that he then saw Mead take approximately “two steps” into the street before she was struck by McNamara’s vehicle. He recalled that he could clearly see Mead as she was struck. and ““that [did not] necessarily mean” that McNamara could have also seen Mead from his vantage point. The trial justice further relied on Cunha’s testimony that “there was no screech of brakes, [and] no skid marks” in inferring that McNamara “never had a chance to apply his brakes before he hit [Mead].” Id.
Plaintiff’s Rhode Island Pedestrian accident Lawyer argument on appeal
“Further, Mead argues that the trial justice overlooked the police photographs that were submitted into evidence. Mead contends that the location of McNamara’s vehicle—near the double yellow line on Taunton Avenue—demonstrates that she must have been further than a few steps into the street when she was struck. According to Mead, these photographs show that McNamara had time to avoid striking her and that therefore he was negligent.” Id.
Defendant Insurance defense Attorneys arguments on appeal:
The defendant’s Injury lawyers argued that “The defendants emphasize that the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that Mead caused the accident by darting out into the street without looking to see whether any vehicles were approaching in the eastbound lane. They further maintain that the photographic evidence does not prove that McNamara was negligent. Indeed, defendants contend that the photographs corroborate the eyewitness testimony that Mead took only a few steps into the street before she was struck by the right side of McNamara’s vehicle.
RI TOP Court’s reasoning that the Trial Justice did not make any errors and plaintiff received a fair tort Jury Trial:
The Highest Tribunal in Rhode Island determined that the Trial Justice did not err in denying Plaintiff’s motion for a new motor vehicle negligence trial.
“The mere fact that [McNamara] didn’t see [Mead attempting to cross the street] does not necessarily mean that he was negligent. The fact finders are required to view evidence in the light of their common sense. We all know that drivers * * * can’t sweep with their eyes constantly. They look here. They look there. They look down the road. They perceive something. They might misperceive something else. It’s all happening very, very quickly, even at slow speeds. The problem is we don’t really know what happened here. We know that he didn’t see her, but the mere fact that he didn’t see her doesn’t necessarily mean he breached his duty to look and to try to see, digest and comprehend everything that was going on around him.” Id.
(Editors Note: It is not clear whether a RI workers Compensation claim was filed by Rhode Island Worker’s Compensation Law Lawyers. Any employment injury claim would probably be precluded by the course of employment rule since she was not working at the time of the mishap.)
Reasoning of RI TOP Court
“Although three eyewitnesses apparently saw Mead waiting to cross the street, the trial justice reasoned that this did not establish McNamara’s negligence in failing to observe her. We agree.” Id “We likewise cannot say that the trial justice overlooked or misconceived material evidence or was otherwise clearly wrong in making credibility determinations.” Id. She also found that various witnesses had testified inconsistently as to whether Mead actually stopped and looked to her left, in the direction of eastbound traffic, before crossing Taunton Avenue. Finally, the trial justice stated that, based on the evidence presented, she could not conclude that McNamara was speeding or doing anything—such as reading a map or looking for a radio station—that would have distracted his attention from the road ahead. The trial justice properly assessed each witness’s credibility and testimony and determined that Mead had not presented sufficient evidence to prove that McNamara was negligent.”Id.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB):
“• Pedestrian fatalities declined between 1997 and 2006. However, the probability of a pedestrian fatality in a crash
increased while the probability of a pedestrian crash declined.
• About two-thirds of pedestrian fatalities were in urban areas. Of the nearly 42,500 cities or towns listed according to the U.S. Geographic Location Codes by the General Services Administration, only 13 percent of them accounted for those pedestrian fatalities in urban areas.
• Nationwide, nearly two pedestrians died in vehicle crashes per 100,000 population, and a pedestrian crash death
occurred every 70 million miles walked.
• January 1 and October 31 were the two most deadly days of the year, having the highest number of pedestrian fatalities.• Pedestrians are more likely to be killed in a crash between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. or during the weekend on Saturday or Sunday.” NRD