Tennessee law states that pedestrians have the right of way in the state. That means that if someone gets hit by a car while walking down a designated crosswalk, the driver will be at fault. In fact, the law states that any intersection with traffic signs or a stop sign is legally a crosswalk. What happens, though, with a jaywalking pedestrian?
Are drivers still be going to be liable to pay for all of the pedestrian's injuries? Despite the right of way in the Tennessee code going to pedestrians, drivers can still make the case that a pedestrian was at fault for the accident. If the case is handled successfully, this could reduce the damages the driver will be forced to pay.
Determining Fault for Jaywalking Accidents
The driver who hits a pedestrian will need to prove in court that the pedestrian was at least partly to blame for the incident. If there's proof that the person was illegally jaywalking, that gives the driver at least a chance to build a case. When an accident takes place in a marked crosswalk, the driver doesn't have as much leverage.
In these situations, what typically happens is that the legal process becomes about trying to determine how much blame can be placed on the pedestrian for the accident. As was previously stated, the amount of damages a driver will be liable for depends on the lawyer's ability to ensure the pedestrian shares part of the responsibility for the accident. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can explain situations like How do you prove mesothelioma?
Tennessee Law to Protect Pedestrians
The laws protect pedestrians in an accident even when drivers can prove the person walking was in the wrong. As mentioned, Tennessee pedestrian laws dictate that crossing at any stop light isn't considered jaywalking. That's the case even without marked crosswalks.
Drivers must yield when pedestrians are trying to cross the street in a marked or unmarked crosswalk. That is part of the right of way that pedestrians have within the state of Tennessee. In essence, this means that drivers are held responsible for the safety of pedestrians in most cases.
There are also other elements within the state law that protect pedestrians. When a pedestrian suffers serious injuries or, unfortunately, death while jaywalking, they can't be even partially blamed for the incident. In most of these sad cases, drivers will typically find themselves in court for a wrongful death charge despite the deceased's actions.
Guide to Legal Options After Pedestrian Injuries
Drivers in pedestrian-related accidents need to clarify their situation quickly to build their defense case. Accidents that lead to minor injuries that involve jaywalking may seem simple. Still, they can get out of hand if the pedestrian thinks they can build a strong case against the driver.
One of the biggest mistakes people make, particularly in what may seem like a minor issue, is not seeking legal counsel immediately. On the other hand, drunk drivers will be in a really tough situation even if the pedestrian was jaywalking.
The law grants drivers involved in a pedestrian accident where the person was jaywalking an opportunity to reduce the compensation they have to pay. The reductions to the compensation are typically expressed in quarters. Drivers can appeal to have compensation reduced by 25%, 50%, or more depending on how much at fault the pedestrian is.
If the pedestrian was, in fact, jaywalking, but they can prove the driver was engaged in some distracted driving instance, they could have a strong case. It's much harder to try and build a case for distracted driving than it is to blame a drunk driver. However, many states are trying to crack down on distracted driving, especially texting and driving accidents becoming more common.
If it wasn't clear by now, pedestrian accidents can be a really tough spot for drivers to be in. Downplaying the incident and not hiring a legal team quickly could lead to unwanted results. Even if the car accident seems minor, there's a good chance the injured pedestrian will hire a personal injury lawyer.
Drivers will be better served if they hire a legal team of their own or at least quickly sit down with a lawyer to discuss their situation. While distracted driving is certainly something that authorities want to cut down on, it can be hard to make a case for it in court. That's one of the elements a driver would need to discuss with a lawyer quickly after an accident.
Connect with a Diligent Davidson County Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
The first thing that any person who unfortunately hits a pedestrian must do is contact a pedestrian injury attorney in Nashville with experience in similar situations. Is a personal injury lawyer the right type of attorney to contact in these pedestrian accidents? It depends on the personal injury attorney.
Some attorneys may have more experience working on cases involving pedestrian injuries rather than the driver's side. Decent attorneys will quickly assess the situation and work to get a sense of how they could build a case to protect their clients. They can answer questions like Do pedestrians always have the right of way in Tennessee?
In this situation, there are plenty of factors that are going to come into play. Was the pedestrian jaywalking? How severe are the injuries that this person sustained? Where did this all take place? It can be a very overwhelming situation for the driver, and that makes finding the right attorney even more important.
Pedestrian Deaths & Contributory Negligence
Can pedestrian deaths that occur after getting hit by a car be blamed on the pedestrian themselves? As mentioned, when pedestrian deaths occur, even when these people were violating traffic laws, the family is still entitled to receive full compensation.
Any pedestrian accident that takes place when the person is jaywalking allows the driver to reduce the compensation that they would've otherwise had to pay. This is because jaywalking is considered an action that allows the pedestrian to share the blame for the accident. In most cases where jaywalking is not involved, the driver will be held as the sole culprit.
Drivers who find themselves in these types of car accidents would do well to contact both their insurance company and an attorney. Even small incidents can turn into major battles between personal injury lawyers. Thinking that the insurance company can take care of everything could be a costly mistake.
When drivers can prove they obey traffic signals and just had an unfortunate incident, it can be easier to minimize the negative consequences. It's important, though, to act fast and get a free consultation if necessary.