Car accidents are a fact of life, but sometimes they end with criminal charges. Unfortunately, car accidents sometimes happen because of distracted driving or even drunk driving. In fact, experts estimate that any given moment there are about 660,000 drivers using a cell phone or electronic device as they drive. Whether because of distracted driving, driving under the influence, or simply pure accident, it is not totally uncommon for a car to hit a pedestrian. In 2006, 60,000 pedestrians were injured in a traffic accident. If you are a driver, you could face criminal charges if you hit a pedestrian. To make the best of a bad situation, it’s important to know exactly what you should do. You need to be educated on the basic rules of who is considered at fault in such a situation and what to do, how fault is determined, and how to avoid having an accident like this in the first place.
What to Do Right Away
Understandably, when a driver hits pedestrian everyone is extremely upset. Your first reaction could be to panic and even forget basic safety procedures. Thinking advance about what to do before the moment comes can help you choose the right course of action. Here’s what you need to do:
How is Fault Determined?
Whenever a driver hits a pedestrian, negligence is usually determined by considering who had a reasonable standard of care and failed to follow it. Sometimes, both the driver and a pedestrian can be considered negligent. For example, if the pedestrian is illegally crossing the street at the same time as a driver is exceeding the speed limit, both could be considered negligent. This varies by state, and some states allow pedestrians to sue even if they were partly at fault. If the police determine that you were at fault, they may press criminal charges depending on the specific circumstances.
How to Avoid an Accident
It’s impossible to avoid accidents completely, but you need to be constantly looking for pedestrians. Always be aware and alert when you drive, and remember that anyone who’s not in the car is especially vulnerable and likely to be injured. Exercise extreme caution when driving through residential areas where children may be playing and can dart out suddenly. More than anything, never use your cell phone or any sort of mobile device while you’re driving, and never get in the car to drive if you have had anything at all to drink or taken any drugs.
No one wants to be an accident, but if you have be sure to contact a criminal defense lawyer to get the best advice and make sure your rights are defended.