Automobile accidents involving pedestrians are on the rise. Under Tennessee state law, any pedestrian who has been injured by a reckless or otherwise negligent driver has the right to file a personal injury lawsuit for compensation. However, establishing fault after a pedestrian accident can prove very difficult.
Protecting Your Rights After Accidentally Hitting a Pedestrian
Tennessee law states that motorists must remain aware and take reasonable precautions to ensure general pedestrian safety. This includes looking both ways and yielding to pedestrians and cyclists in crosswalks.
People often believe that pedestrians always have the right of way. However, this is a common misconception. Pedestrians also have their own responsibilities. While they have a right to access and traverse most non-access-controlled roadways, they should always:
- Use sidewalks whenever available.
- Walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic, whenever a sidewalk isn’t available or a practical mode of access.
- Yield to vehicles on the roadway when crossing the road outside of a designated crosswalk.
Pedestrians who are derelict in their own duty of care could be found at fault, or partially at fault, for a Tennessee pedestrian accident.
If you or a loved one has accidentally hit a pedestrian, establishing liability might be difficult. You should protect your rights to a potential legal recovery by taking the following steps.
The Tennessee Code requires that the operator of any motor vehicle inform the state Department of Safety and Homeland Security of any accident involving:
- Serious injury or death
- Property damage in excess of $1,500
- Damage to state or local government property in excess of $400
Always call 911 after a pedestrian accident. Law enforcement personnel will help determine fault or, at the very least, gather more information about the crash. These details might be used to support an insurance claim or to rebuff a negligent pedestrian’s misrepresentations.
Pedestrian car accident claims are often contingent on the quality and quantity of available evidence. If you don’t require immediate medical attention, try to collect relevant evidence from the crash site, including:
- Pictures of the accident scene, property damage, and visible physical injuries
- Names and contact information from any eyewitnesses
- A written or recorded statement detailing the events leading up to the accident
Eyewitness statements are particularly helpful, and could prove critical to the case's outcome if it goes to court.
Contact an Attorney
Tennessee is an at-fault insurance state. Under state law, a motorist or pedestrian injured by another party’s negligent act has a legal right to recover damages. Under most circumstances, the negligent party’s insurance company will compensate the victim.
However, if the defendant’s policy limits can’t cover the extent of the injured person’s losses, then they could file a personal injury lawsuit. A Tennessee pedestrian car crash attorney could help you or a loved one determine fault after an unexpected accident through the following actions:
- Subpoena law enforcement reports
- Review surveillance camera footage from nearby traffic control systems and businesses
- Collect, analyze, and preserve evidence from the crash site
- Calculate your damages and anticipated losses
- Negotiate a fair settlement with the pedestrian or their insurance company
Tennessee law also accommodates comparative negligence. In other words, even if one party’s misconduct contributed to the accident, they could still recover damages, so long as they can prove the other party was at least 50 percent responsible for the collision.