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Drivers and a duty of care toward pedestrians

Drivers have a duty of care to pedestrians. If a pedestrian gets hurt because a driver was speeding, failed to yield, didn't signal a turn, was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or disobeyed traffic signals, then that driver can be held accountable for his or her actions and the injuries and costs associated with injuries for the victim. In most cases, it's the job of the pedestrian to prove that the driver was being negligent.

Drivers have a special duty of care toward children. If a driver has any knowledge that he or she is coming into an area where children are present, like if he or she is near a school, park, residential area or other youth-populated zone, then it's vital that the driver is aware, slows down and pays attention to the road. If the driver speeds through the area, texts, is distracted or otherwise negligent and hits a child, that driver could be found guilty of several crimes as well as be held liable for the child's injuries.

When pedestrian accidents happen, it's important to call the police immediately. Witnesses should stay if they can, but if not, get their phone numbers, names, addresses, and any other information you can, so the police can contact them later. Don't leave the scene, even if the driver does.

If you're a victim of a hit-and-run crash, it's most important to remember which way the driver went, a license plate number if you could see it and the type of vehicle that struck you. Your attorney can use this information, and the police can use it to find the person who fled the scene.

Source: FindLaw, "Pedestrian Accidents Overview," accessed Jan. 14, 2016

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