A pedestrian accident or “pedestrian knockdown” occurs when a walker is hit by an automobile, truck or motorcycle. According to the Delaware annual traffic statistical report, over the past decade 3,460 pedestrians have been injured in Delaware and 303 pedestrians were killed. Of these numbers, 600 children aged 14 and under were injured and 9 were killed. According to the National Safety Council 82% of pedestrian traffic deaths occurred in urban areas, 73% occurred on the open road versus intersections and 52% involved the use of alcohol.
If a driver hits a pedestrian while driving unreasonably or breaking traffic laws, a pedestrian may sue for damages. If a driver violates a common traffic law such as speeding, stopping for a red light or driving recklessly and injures a pedestrian, the driver will be liable to the pedestrian for money damages.Pedestrian Accidents: Not So Cut and Dry
In Delaware there are obscure and maybe unfamiliar rules that pertain to pedestrians. If a pedestrian breaks a rule the outcome of a lawsuit is not so clear. Delaware courts have the power to dismiss the lawsuit on summary judgment before the case proceeds to trial.What If the Driver and Pedestrian are Both Negligent?
If both the driver and pedestrian are negligent, the jury can still award damages to the pedestrian. The pedestrian must be 50% or less at fault. Delaware is a comparative negligence state; accident victims can recover if 50% or less at fault. The award is simply reduced by the victim’s percentage of negligence. If the pedestrian is more than 50% at fault the jury must rule in favor of the driver.Rules for Delaware Pedestrians
The old adage “pedestrians always have the right of way” is not necessarily true in Delaware. Per the motor vehicle code, pedestrians have duties along with drivers. Pedestrians must abide by the following rules in Delaware:
- use the sidewalk when available
- use the crosswalk when available
- obey crosswalk signals
- use the right half of the crosswalk when crossing
- refrain from suddenly leaving the curb or darting out
- refrain from walking into the path of vehicles
- refrain from crossing intersections diagonally
- when not at a crosswalk pedestrians must yield the right-of-way to vehicles
- walk on the outside edge of the road facing traffic when a sidewalk is not available
- from sunset to sunrise on a roadway, outside of a city or town, pedestrians must use a lantern, flashlight or reflector
Delaware drivers must obey the following rules when driving around pedestrians:
- maintain a proper lookout for pedestrians
- yield to pedestrians when stopping at a stop sign
- yield to pedestrians crossing the road when emerging from an alleyway or driveway
- avoid collisions with pedestrians and beep the horn to give warning when necessary
- yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk when the pedestrian is on the half of the roadway the vehicle is traveling or approaching that half from the opposite side of the roadway
- use proper precaution when a child, incapacitated person or blind person is near
If a pedestrian breaks a rule and gets hit by an automobile, it could defeat the case and leave the pedestrian with major injuries and no recovery. It is imperative to obtain competent legal counsel in a pedestrian knockdown case. Contact Jason R. Antoine pedestrian accident attorney at 302-482-4802 to schedule your free consultation today.