Liability in Leesburg Pedestrian Accident Cases

Liability may be determined under a number of different factors for a pedestrian accident in Leesburg. Initially, the accident’s investigating officer may charge the driver with an offense, or the pedestrian may be charged with a violation. That being said, being charged at the initial stage of investigation does not necessarily lead to a determination of liability.

Civil liabilities and criminal exposure are two very different things. However, if a driver is charged with an offense such as reckless driving, failure to give the right of way, or DUI, and as a result, a pedestrian is injured, there is a strong likelihood that the driver will be found liable for the civil action resulting in the harms to the pedestrian. If the case proceeds to trial, a finder of fact, the jury or the judge, also makes a decision as to who is liable.

Role of Parties in Determination of Liability

There are a number of factors that can affect liability. Factors that may influence the liability decision in the initial determination by the officer and later by the trier of fact include:

  • Location of the pedestrian accident
  • The actions of the involved parties
  • Any witness statements that are independent and impartial

The impartial independent witness statement has a very strong bearing on the liability decision, because the involved parties are often considered to be biased. A person who is directly involved in a pedestrian accident case has an interest in saying things that support their personal review of the liability decision, whereas an impartial third party such as an innocent bystander or another driver does not have anything on the line. The impartial independent witness does not have anything to gain, or to lose, by saying anything other than the truth.

Unique Aspects of Pedestrian Accident Liability

In a pedestrian accident, there are often various elements that may have an impact on liability. The actual liability decision is not that much different than the decision in a car accident case, however, sometimes it is determined in different manners. For example, in addition to case-specific information, the key factors in a pedestrian accident are:

  • Who has the right of way
  • Whether the accident occurred under a controlled or uncontrolled intersection
  • Whether the driver was obeying the rules of the road
  • Whether the pedestrian was obeying the rules of the road

In a liability case for a motor vehicle accident, these are very similar. However, there are some fairly obvious factors to consider such as where the accident occurred, who had the traffic signal, speed of the vehicles, driver distraction, and things of that nature.

Role of an Attorney in Establishing Liability

One of the key roles of an attorney in a pedestrian accident case is to ensure that the liability decision is made in the client’s favor. This is accomplished by maintaining a local understanding of the  law as it may govern a pedestrian accident, and by taking an exhaustive look at the determining factors of liability, including:

  • A visit to the scene of the accident
  • Locating potential witnesses
  • Speaking with the law enforcement officer
  • Obtaining case statements from all involved parties

If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident, a lawyer will be able to provide you with the local knowledge and experience you need to get the best outcome in your case.