Pedestrian Victims are Often Blamed For Getting Hit When it is Clearly the Fault of the Driver
Missouri pedestrian fatalities are continuing to hold steady at disturbing levels, with around 100 people killed and hundreds more seriously injured every year, as reported by the Riverfront Times. We are all pedestrians from time to time, but that does not mean that drivers, once they are behind the wheel again, retain what it feels like to be a vulnerable pedestrian navigating a city designed solely for automobile traffic.
Pedestrians are confined to narrow strips of often cracked and cluttered concrete, which they still have to share with cars that inch out (or speed out) from driveways and parking lots. Pedestrians are not allowed to cross the street except at designated crosswalks and are at risk of being hit even when they have the right of way. As such, it is not only dangerous being a pedestrian, but it can be nerve-rattling, as well as frustrating to be treated like a second class citizen. Unfortunately, pedestrians are also treated unfairly by our legal system when they do end up getting hit.
Most People in Society Identify More as Drivers than Pedestrians
Because only a tiny fraction of trips are made by walking, the vast majority of Americans and Missourians identify as drivers, not pedestrians. As such, many have a hard time seeing roads from a pedestrian’s point of view, and are quick to blame pedestrians for “jumping out in front” of cars or for “coming out of nowhere,” both of which are inaccurate descriptions of how most pedestrians get hit by drivers, who were most likely distracted or speeding at the time.
When pedestrians get hit by cars, they are at a disadvantage because of “jaywalking” laws, and because of biases held by law enforcement, judges, and jurors—all of whom are more likely to take the side of the driver. According to Streetsblog, even the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), prefers to blame rising pedestrian fatality rates on pedestrians, as seen in the Administration’s many tweets and public bulletins “reminding” pedestrians to obey signs; follow rules; and to refrain from wearing dark clothing, hats, or headphones, as opposed to reminding drivers to slow down, look up from their phones, and yield the right of way. After all, pedestrians are bearing the entire brunt of the casualties, with a staggering 45 percent increase in fatalities since 2009.
What Factors Can Hurt Your Case?
As you may have guessed, the driver that hit you and their insurance carrier may attempt to place the blame on you, which can either reduce the value of your claim or stop it altogether. The following allegations may be made against you that have the potential to damage your claim:
- Crossing the street without a crosswalk;
- Crossing the street against a crosswalk signal;
- Crossing at a crosswalk but cutting the apex to shorten the distance you have to walk;
- Wearing dark clothing;
- Using a cell phone or wearing earbuds or headphones;
- Running instead of walking;
- Using any type of wheeled devices, such as a scooter, skateboard, or hoverboard, even though these are legal devices; and
- Being hit at night.
A Kansas City Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
Even though many of the above elements are completely within your right as a pedestrian, such as walking at night or wearing dark clothing, they still have the potential to harm your claim, which is why working with an experienced Kansas City Personal Injury attorney is always necessary. For legal assistance, call the Kansas City personal injury attorneys of Krause & Kinsman today at 816-399-3356 to schedule a free consultation.
Adam Krause is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Adam Krause has made a career of taking complicated litigation and presenting it in the most elementary terms for a jury of your peers to understand. Learn more about his experience here.