Pedestrians use sidewalks and roadways that are in close proximity to motor vehicles. Due to their lack of protective or safety devices, they are exposed to more serious injuries and even death when involved in accidents with motor vehicles. It is therefore very important that drivers use the proper level of care when operating their vehicle in areas where pedestrians are present.
A motor vehicle accident recently occurred in New York when the driver of a van lost control of his vehicle. He drove across two lanes of traffic travelling in the opposite direction and onto a sidewalk where the van struck six pedestrians. One of the pedestrians was launched 20 feet from the collision. He was taken to a nearby hospital in cardiac arrest, but later died there. Four of the other pedestrians were also taken to the hospital for treatment of their injuries. The driver of the van stayed on the scene and has not been charged at this time.
When a pedestrian is injured in an accident with a motor vehicle, liability for their damages is based on the theory of negligence. Everyone who operates a motor vehicle is required to use reasonable care in his or her actions. In order to prove negligence, an injured pedestrian must show that the driver owed them the duty of reasonable care and breached it. They must also show that such breach caused the accident and that the accident caused their injuries. The potential parties that could be held liable are the driver, the entity responsible for maintaining the sidewalk or roadway and even the pedestrian. There are many actions that may evidence negligence on the part of the driver, including inattentive or pre-occupied driving. There is no evidence in the case above that the driver engaged in any of these actions, but they may be held liable for the pedestrians' injuries depending on what caused them to lose control of their vehicle.
The case above demonstrates an incident where a driver needs to exercise a high level of care to maintain control of their vehicle to ensure the safety of nearby pedestrians. Pedestrians injured in a car accident should be aware of their rights to compensation and from whom they may recover.