There are unfortunately many ways in which a pedestrian accident can occur. For example:
- Careless or dangerous driving by another road user. This could involve ignoring a red traffic light or other road signs, failing to give way at a pedestrian crossing, or making a manoeuvre without proper observations.
- Drunk drivers or someone driving under the influence of drugs.
- Hit and run drivers. Apart from any moral issues, it is a criminal offence to leave the scene of an accident without stopping. Claims can often be pursued even if the other driver is untraced.[link to untraced drivers claims page]
There are several steps to legally establishing a personal injury claim. You must prove:
- A duty of care – The party you are claiming against must have owed a duty of care towards you. Road-users owe duties of care to one another so this is rarely at issue in a pedestrian accident claim.
- Breach of that duty – The other party must have failed in their duty somehow. For a car driver, the standard they must meet is that of a reasonably competent driver. If they have fallen below this standard, then they have breached their duty of care. An example would be a driver failing to stop at a red traffic light. It is fair to say a ‘reasonably competent’ driver would have stopped at the light.
- Causation – The breach mentioned above must have caused your injuries and other losses. Continuing the above example, if the driver who ran a red light collided with you as you crossed the road, any injuries sustained from that collision will have been caused by the driver’s breach of duty.
- Reasonable injuries and losses – The compensation you claim for your injuries and losses must be reasonable. As an extreme example, you might incur travel expenses for attending treatment sessions but hiring a helicopter to take you to them would not be a reasonable expense!
Pedestrians also hold duties of care towards other road-users. As such, it is possible for pedestrians to be liable for accidents if they have breached their duty. One example could be walking out into the road suddenly without looking. If you are worried that your conduct could be partially to blame for your accident, it does not necessarily mean you cannot make a claim. If you are held to be liable in part, it will usually mean a reduction in your compensation. Motorists have the greater potential to hurt others so their conduct is generally held to a higher standard.