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When can pedestrians take action against drivers that hit them?

August 3, 2019

When a vehicle collides with a pedestrian, that individual is likely to suffer severe injuries as a result. Even when moving at low speeds, motor vehicles are larger, heavier and more externally durable than the human body.

Individuals who get struck by motor vehicles often suffer injuries that include broken bones, brain injuries and spinal cord injuries. The effect of those injuries can be a permanent reduction in income, as well as a dramatic decrease in the victim’s standard of living. Insurance payments or settlements may not cover all of these costs. It’s also possible that the other driver didn’t even have insurance at the time.

If you or someone you love got hurt as a pedestrian, you will want to know when, under Kentucky law, you have the right to hold the driver accountable for the financial impact of the accident.

Proper pedestrian behavior is critical to many claims

Like all states, Kentucky has rules about how pedestrians and vehicles can share public roads safety. Those rules include the importance of using a crosswalk, when possible, and avoiding moving suddenly out into traffic if doing so would create an immediate hazard. Additionally, pedestrians should obey all traffic signs. Just like drivers, they should focus on safe travels and not on their cellphones.

If a pedestrian gets hurt while looking down at their phone or otherwise behaving in a potentially dangerous manner, they may still be able to take action against the driver, although their actions may result in a degree of comparative liability, which means that they assume a percentage of the fault for the crash.

Breaking traffic laws or behaving in an unsafe manner can directly impact how much compensation you have the right to seek. Comparative liability can reduce the total amount of compensation someone receives by the percentage of their responsibility for the accident. While that shouldn’t deter you from seeking compensation, you should still try to understand that your total award will be lower because of your partial responsibility.

You have to have provable losses to seek compensation

Contrary to what people sometimes see on television shows, you can’t just bring a claim for pain and suffering and walk away with a seven-figure check. In order to bring a successful claim, you need to show that there were medical expenses, financial losses such as missed wages and other provable impacts caused by the injuries you suffered in the crash.

There can be many potential pitfalls to the process of seeking financial compensation for a crash. Partnering with an attorney who understands Kentucky personal injury laws can improve your chances of success and help you better understand what rights and options you have as an injured pedestrian.