If you have ever been walking in your neighborhood or on a downtown street in Cleveland, you know that there are many distractions that can lead you to temporarily take your eyes away from the road or sidewalk in front of you, or to that can take your mind off the task of walking.
However, even when a pedestrian is a little bit distracted, motorists usually still must yield the right of way to that pedestrian in Ohio. What does this mean? Even if a pedestrian does not look twice before crossing the street in a crosswalk or at an intersection, for example, a motorist still must yield the right of way to a pedestrian.
As such, even if a pedestrian is partially at fault for a collision involving a motor vehicle, distracted walking may not prevent a pedestrian from obtaining compensation. Similarly, even if a plaintiff is distracted and suffers an injury because of a dangerous condition on certain premises, the property owner may still be liable.
Collisions Involving Motor Vehicles and Pedestrians
Serious car accidents involving pedestrians and motor vehicles typically happen because the motor vehicle driver is negligent. Unless a pedestrian is walking in an area where pedestrians are not permitted (such as a highway), a driver typically must yield the right of way to any pedestrian and must be aware of the possibility of pedestrians.
Accordingly, even if you are distracted while walking and might have been able to get out of the way of an oncoming car, that driver likely still bears responsibility for the collision.
Premises Liability Accidents and Distracted Walking
Similarly, property owners need to maintain their premises so that they are free of serious hazards. If you are on another party’s property (such as a retail store, or a patio) and you slip and fall on a liquid spill while sending a text, the property owner still likely is at least partially at fault.
Contributory Negligence in an Ohio Distracted Walking Incident
Even if a pedestrian is partially to blame for an accident in which she or he suffered injuries in a collision with a motor vehicle or on another person’s property where a dangerous condition existed, the pedestrian may still be able to recover damages.
According to Ohio’s contributory fault law, as long as a plaintiff’s fault is “not greater than the combined tortious conduct” of the defendant or defendants, the plaintiff can still recover reduced damages.
To put it another way, as long as a distracted pedestrian is not 51% or more at fault, then that plaintiff can recover damages. But the damages award will be reduced by the plaintiff’s own percentage of fault. For example, if a pedestrian is found to be 20% at fault due to distracted walking, his or her recovery would be reduced by 20%.
Contact Me for Assistance with Your Accident Claim
Distracted walking can certainly be dangerous for a pedestrian, but pedestrians have the right of way in most situations, and drivers need to be on the lookout for pedestrians in any location where a pedestrian may be likely to cross the street or to be walking on a road or sidewalk. Even if a pedestrian was talking or texting while walking, for example, that fact alone does not mean that the pedestrian is ineligible for compensation.
I want to make sure that negligent motorists are held accountable for their careless behavior, especially when pedestrians get hurt. I’ll Make Them Pay!® Give me a call as soon as you can at 877.944.4373 to learn more about how I can help with your pedestrian accident claim.