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Denver drivers, pedestrians both have a duty of care

We noted last week, in the case of a van that struck a group of pedestrians in downtown Denver, that pedestrian accident injuries can be both serious and, unfortunately, challenging when it comes to seeking compensation. Let's take a closer look at the responsibilities of both drivers and pedestrians, and consider how a court will go about determining negligence in an auto-pedestrian accident.

When examining the actions of a driver and a pedestrian leading up to an accident, a Colorado court will want to know to what extent each of the parties was exercising reasonable care. So for a driver, some things that might show failure to exercise reasonable care include driving faster than the posted limit, texting and driving, drunk or drugged driving, not following traffic signals or not using one's lights or turn signals. Any of these could be used to demonstrate a driver's negligence.

On the other hand, pedestrians also are expected to exercise reasonable care when they are out around traffic. If a pedestrian crosses a street without using a crosswalk or against a "don't walk" signal, runs out in front of a car or otherwise acts in a way that disrupts traffic, that person may also be considered negligent. And a court's finding of contributory negligence - i.e., that a pedestrian was partially at fault in the accident -- will reduce the amount of compensation that he or she can obtain for injuries.

Issues of negligence, reasonable care and similar factors in pedestrian accidents can be challenging for injured victims to try to argue in court, even when an accident seems like a clear-cut case. A legal professional can help sort out and emphasize the details that a judge will need to know when making a determination in a personal injury case.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Pedestrian Accidents Overview," accessed on Dec. 8, 2017

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