Pedestrian Accidents in Ohio: Who is Liable?

After a devastating pedestrian accident, it is critical for injured pedestrians to seek financial compensation for their losses by filing an insurance claim or a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Yet determining liability in a pedestrian accident can be complicated. Who is at fault, and who can be sued for damages in a pedestrian collision? And can the pedestrian’s own fault affect liability? Our Ohio pedestrian accident lawyers are here to help.

Factors in the Pedestrian Collision

There are many different factors that go into determining liability in an Ohio pedestrian accident. It will be essential to work with an Ohio pedestrian accident attorney to help determine when, where, and how the collision and resulting injuries occurred. You will also want a lawyer on your side to determine whether the specific location of the pedestrian accident will be a factor in determining liability.

Generally speaking, motorists tend to be liable for pedestrian accidents and injuries that result from collisions. In particular, when pedestrian accidents occur as a pedestrian is crossing the street in a crosswalk or when the pedestrian has a “walk” light, the motorist will almost always be liable. Since many pedestrian accidents happen after dark, motorists should be particularly careful when traveling on roads frequented by pedestrians, especially if there are no sidewalks. However, liability can be more complicated in situations where a pedestrian was walking in the street after dark and was not wearing appropriate light-colored or reflective clothing, or in situations where the pedestrian may have been texting while walking or talking on a cell phone.

In some cases, other parties also may be liable. For example, if a hazardous road condition resulted in a pedestrian accident, the property owner could be liable for damages. In some cases, pedestrian accidents involve a collision between a pedestrian and a bicyclist, and the bicyclist may be responsible for the crash.

Comparative Fault and Issues of Pedestrian Negligence

There may be some situations in which a pedestrian collision involving a motor vehicle happens because of a pedestrian’s own negligence. While many auto accidents in which pedestrians are injured result from a motorist’s careless or reckless behavior, pedestrians can also be negligent. In particular, distracted walking has become an issue in many places, including cities in Ohio. If a pedestrian is texting while walking, or listening to music instead of focusing all attention on a safe walking route, a motorist involved in a collision might argue that the plaintiff bears some responsibility for her own injuries. This is known as comparative fault, or contributory fault.

Under Ohio’s modified contributory fault law, a plaintiff can still recover damages as long as the plaintiff is 50 percent or less at fault. Accordingly, if a motorist can prove that a pedestrian was partially at fault for an accident, that pedestrian can still recover damages as long as the pedestrian’s negligence did not reach 51 percent or more. If a pedestrian is found to be 50 percent or less at fault, the pedestrian’s damages award will be reduced by her portion of fault. Once a pedestrian is 51 percent responsible or more, however, the pedestrian will be barred from recovery.

Contact a Pedestrian Accident Attorney

If you need assistance filing a pedestrian accident lawsuit, our Ohio pedestrian accident attorneys can speak with you today. Contact Groth & Associates for more information.