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Understanding the Legal Effects of an Auto Related Pedestrian Accident

Collisions between autos and pedestrians occur daily across the country. What makes them different is that when there's an auto-pedestrian injury, it's ordinarily much more severe. Because of the severity of the injury, the legal effects of the accident are far beyond those of a fender bender.

Pedestrian injuries
National Highway Transportation Safety Administration figures show over 5,000 pedestrians killed every year in accidents involving motor vehicles. More than 75,000 are injured. Pedestrians are particularly vulnerable to injury, even at low speeds. There's no steel vehicle body surrounding them. They aren't offered the protection of air bags or seat belts. Even a low speed impact can cause severe injuries.

When a pedestrian is hit by a motorist, what comes to issue is whether one or both of the parties were negligent. Sometimes both the driver and the pedestrian are at fault. When that happens, Oregon weighs the percentage of comparative fault attributable to each of the parties.

Comparative negligence
Portland personal injury attorney Marc Johnston advises that in Oregon, these cases are decided under the law of modified comparative negligence. Even if a pedestrian contributed to their own injuries, they can still pursue compensation from the motorist who hit them, as long as the percentage of fault attributable to the pedestrian is less than 51 percent.

Damages issues are often highly contested in personal injury cases. Damages are categorized as being economic and non-economic. Economic damages consist of past, present and future medical bills and lost earnings resulting from the collision. Non-economic damages are more difficult to determine. They consist of pain and suffering and any permanent disability or disfigurement resulting from the accident. Damages are computed on a 100 percent basis. The percentage of any comparative negligence attributable to the plaintiff is deducted from the 100 percent figure. For example, if damages are determined to be $200,000 with plaintiff held to be 25 percent negligent, the damages award would be reduced to $150,000. Should plaintiff be deemed to be 51 percent comparatively negligent, the verdict must be for the defendant.

Uninsured motorists
If you're a pedestrian or bicyclist and have uninsured motorist coverage when hit by an uninsured or underinsured motorist, you're probably covered. You then proceed directly against your own insurer as if was the party who hit you.

Any traffic accident involving injuries can get complex on the issues of liability and damages. Recoveries are governed by laws of negligence along with Oregon statutes.


Article written by Lizzie Weakley.

Written on Monday, July 27, 2015 by
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