Although summer is winding down, warm weather continues (at least for a little while). With warmer weather, this brings people out of their homes and out into the community. With that, the streets are being shared with pedestrians and cars. As such, pedestrian injuries occur. This article will shed some light on pedestrian injuries and what steps to take to ensure the proper handling of these claims.
In the state of Minnesota, pedestrian is defined as “any person afoot or in a wheelchair”. In the event a pedestrian accident does occur, the first insurance company to contact is your own car insurance. As I have stated in previous articles, Minnesota is a No-Fault state when it comes to accidents involving motorized vehicles. As such, regardless of who is at fault for the accident, your own insurance company will provide certain benefits. If you require medical assistance, provide the claim number to the appropriate clinic and your own insurance will pay for the treatment so long as it’s related to injuries stemming from the motor vehicle accident and the treatment does not exceed $20,000.00. It is important to understand that No-Fault medical coverage caps out at $20,000.00 per vehicle unless you have stacking coverage, which isn’t common. No-Fault also protects the injured by providing wage loss coverage if the motor vehicle accident requires the injured to miss work and this includes missing time to attend medical visits (also typically capped at $20,000.00).
From a liability standpoint, motor vehicles and pedestrians must share the streets equally and exercise reasonable care from each perspective. From a pedestrian’s perspective, they must observe all street signs and rules to avoid contributing to the accident with their own unreasonable behavior. From a driver’s perspective, they must also observe all traffic rules and operate the motor vehicle with reasonable care.
In order to file a claim against the other involved parties’ insurance, the pedestrian must prove they were more at fault than themselves for the accident. Right of way is the primary argument between pedestrian and motor vehicle when a lawsuit arises. A common misperception is that pedestrians always have the right of way. While it is true, a driver must exercise a greater degree of care given the inherent risk of operating a motor vehicle, a pedestrian will not be shielded from liability if he/she contributed to the accident. When dealing with crosswalks, pedestrians have the right of way when crossing in a crosswalk, but may not suddenly leave the curb when a vehicle is approaching and expect to maintain their right of way. When crosswalks have signals of “Walk” and “Do Not Walk”, a pedestrian is forbidden from crossing the street when the signal reads “Do Not Walk”. With all that said a greater degree of care is afforded for children and elderly and blind and deaf pedestrians always have the right of way.
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