Is The Driver Always At Fault In A Hit-and-Run Accident?
Drivers are naturally required to be extra cautious in situations in which a pedestrian is present or is likely to be present at some point.
That being said, even though most people think that drivers are always at fault in hit-and-run accidents as a rule of thumb, this isn’t always the case.
In fact, a pedestrian might even be held accountable for a driver’s damages after such an accident, depending on the circumstances.
On that note, in this article, we are going to talk about different scenarios in which different parties are at fault.
The Driver’s Duty
There are two aspects to be considered here – the law against leaving the scene of an accident, and in the realm of personal injury law, a duty of reasonable care or due care.
Leaving the Scene of an Accident
As experts on hit-and-run accidents explain, in Illinois, leaving the scene of an accident where somebody was left hurt, it’s considered a Class 2 felony and the person accountable could end up being charged with up to years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
There is more information for you to research to understand how different variables affect the whole situation, but one thing is the same – leaving the scene of an accident is a crime. That being said, it can be hard to prove such an event if there were no witnesses, but it’s definitely possible.
Duty of Reasonable Care
Here’s the thing, the duty of reasonable care dictates that a driver needs to be extra vigilant and maintain their car under strict control when they know a pedestrian is or could be nearby. What this basically means is that even though somebody was driving their car at the 25 miles an hour speed limit, if they didn’t slow down as soon as they saw a young child on a bike ahead, they are still liable for such an accident.
When is the Pedestrian Held Accountable?
The scenario that most easily depicts when a pedestrian is at fault is one in which a driver is going the speed limit through a commercial district when the pedestrian suddenly runs out from behind a parked car just a few feet in front of the driver’s car. In such cases, the driver isn’t at fault.
So, if a pedestrian jumps out or behaves in some other manner that forces someone driving in a normal, cautious manner to take evasive maneuvers, the pedestrian will be held liable for any damages those maneuvers cause.
Both the Pedestrian and the Driver are at Fault
Now that we have covered both the driver’s responsibilities as well as pedestrians, it’s important to mention that there is a gray area as well. In some car-pedestrian accidents, both parties may have been acting in such a manner that was not normal and cautious, and can both be held accountable to a certain degree.
When it comes to such scenarios, depending on the state, there are two different ways this situation can affect a lawsuit. But in any state, a jury is required to find what percentage a plaintiff contributed to the accident that led to his or her own injuries.
In the end, it all comes down to the details of the accident in question. Even though in most cases drivers seem to be at fault, this, as we have shown in the text above, certainly isn’t always the case. Be sure to be informed on such topics, better to do the research now than not know what you should do in case something happens.