Determining Liability for a Pedestrian Accident
In order to establish fault for a pedestrian accident, it is critical to understand Oklahoma laws affecting pedestrians:
- The right of way. Pedestrians have the right of way when crossing the street within a crosswalk (marked or unmarked) when traffic-control signals do not work or are not in place. However, pedestrians must yield the right of way to drivers when crossing the roadway outside of a designated crosswalk.
- The pedestrian’s responsibilities. Pedestrians must obey traffic lights when crossing the road. They also have an obligation to watch for cars and pay attention to where they are going. Pedestrians must face traffic when walking along the roadway.
- The driver’s responsibilities. Drivers have a duty to watch for pedestrians and be vigilant at all times. Drivers must slow down or stop for pedestrians crossing the road.
Determining liability can be a complex process as fault could be assigned to multiple parties, even in pedestrian accidents. In some cases, the pedestrian who was hit by a car can be partially at fault for the accident.
Oklahoma follows the doctrine of modified comparative negligence. Under the doctrine, a pedestrian can be held partially at fault for their accident if their own negligence played a role in the collision (e.g., the pedestrian ran into the path of a vehicle without looking both ways).
If the pedestrian is found to be partially to blame, their recoverable compensation will be reduced in proportion to their degree of fault.
Damages Available in Pedestrian Accident Cases
As an injured victim in a pedestrian accident in Shawnee or elsewhere in Oklahoma, you may be entitled to seek compensation for the following types of damages:
- Economic damages are meant to make victims “whole” again by compensating them for their financial losses and expenses, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and diminished earning capacity.
- Non-economic damages are intangible losses that cannot be established by adding up bills and receipts. Instead, they are subjectively evaluated and may include compensation for the victim’s emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, post-traumatic stress disorder, pain, suffering, and other damages.
Statute of Limitations in Oklahoma Personal Injury Cases
The time limit to bring any personal injury lawsuit, including a suit stemming from a pedestrian accident, is two years from the date of the accident. An injured party’s failure to file a lawsuit before the deadline expires can result in their loss of the right to compensation. The same statute of limitations applies to wrongful death cases in Oklahoma.
How Do I Recover Damages After a Pedestrian Accident?
If I am the victim. If you are the pedestrian hit by a car, you can pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company to obtain compensation for your losses. However, if the at-fault motorist’s insurance policy cannot cover your damages in full, you might have the option of filing a lawsuit.
If I am representing a loved one who was incapacitated or lost their life. When a loved one dies because of another party’s negligence in a pedestrian accident, surviving family members have the right to pursue compensation by filing a wrongful death lawsuit.