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Can Pedestrians Be Liable for Accidents Involving Distracted Walking?

Posted on in Personal Injury
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distracted driving, DuPage County auto accident lawyer, distracted pedestrian, pedestrian accidents, pedestrian injuryWhen we think about pedestrian accidents involving a person’s distraction, we often think about distracted driving and make assumptions about a motorist’s behavior behind the wheel. However, as a fact sheet from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) highlights, distracted walking is a problem, too. To be sure, distracted walking may be a factor in pedestrian accidents involving motor vehicles.

What are the facts you need to know about distracted walking? And when might a jury hold a distracted pedestrian liable for a car accident?

Getting the Facts About Distracted Walking and Auto Accidents

Distracted walking can take many forms, such as talking on a cell phone, texting while walking, listening to music on a smartphone or other mp3 player, or even engaging in conversation with another person. According to Alan Hilibrand, the chair of the AAOS Communications Cabinet an increasing number of people "are falling down stairs, tripping over curbs and other streetscapes and, in many instances, stepping into traffic, causing cuts, bruises, sprains, and fractures.”

Hilibrand went on to explain that “the number of injuries to pedestrians using their phones has more than doubled since 2004, and surveys have shown that 60 percent of pedestrians are distracted by other activities while walking.”

How big of a problem is distracted driving? According to an AAOS Distracted Walking Study, 78 percent of adults in the U.S. would describe distracted walking as a serious problem, but only 29 percent of respondents believe they engage in distracted walking.

About 40 percent of U.S. adults say they have witnessed an accident involving distracted walking, while 26 percent have been personally involved in such an incident.

The most common behaviors that result in distracted walking include the following:

  • Talking on a cell phone (90 percent);
  • Engaging in conversation with another pedestrian (88 percent);
  • Listening to music (88 percent);
  • Using a smartphone for something other than talking (85 percent); and
  • “Zoning out” (64 percent).

Can a Pedestrian Be Negligent As a Result of Distracted Walking?

If a distracted pedestrian causes a collision, can that pedestrian be held liable in a car accident claim? In other words, could a jury determine that a pedestrian was negligent in a collision that caused serious injuries to a motorist? According to Illinois pattern jury instructions, negligence typically is defined as “the failure to do something which a reasonably careful person would do, or the doing of something which a reasonably careful person would not, under circumstances similar to those shown by the evidence.”

Would a reasonably careful person engage in distracted walking? It is unlikely that a reasonably careful person would text while walking or engage in other behaviors that could distract her from her surroundings. As such, it may be possible for a distracted pedestrian to be liable in an auto accident claim depending upon the specific circumstances of the case.

Contact a DuPage County Auto Accident Lawyer

If you or someone you love was injured in an accident involving a distracted driver or a distracted pedestrian, you should speak with a DuPage County auto accident lawyer about your case. Contact Mevorah Law Offices LLC for more information.

Sources:

http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00748

http://www.anationinmotion.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/AAOS-Distracted-Walking-Topline-11-30-15.pdf

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