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What is a driver's duty of care around pedestrians?


Most days, motorists in Connecticut encounter pedestrians. This could occur on a city street, in a residential area, or in a parking lot. While it is commonplace to see people traveling by foot, motorists are not always prepared for a pedestrian to cross in front of their vehicle. Nonetheless, there is a certain expectation that a motorist drives safely enough and pays enough attention to avoid colliding with pedestrians who may be in their vicinity. This refers to the duty of care that a driver has while operating a motor vehicle.

When assessing the cause of and liability for a pedestrian accident, four elements are looked at. First, whether a motorist owed a legal duty to the pedestrian under the circumstances of the incident. Second, whether or not that duty was breached by either action or inaction. The third element is whether an accident actually occurred. Finally, whether any harm or injury was suffered by the pedestrian as a result of the accident.

What is a driver's duty of care around pedestrians? Generally, it is expected that motorists must exercise reasonable care under the circumstances under which he or she is driving. Failure to uphold this duty creates negligence or recklessness. The most common causes of a breach of this duty include distracted driving, speeding, failing to yield the right of way to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, disobeying traffic sings or signals, disregarding weather and traffic conditions, and driving under the influence of alcohol.

It should be noted that pedestrians also have a duty of care to uphold while they are travel on or near roadways. Common factors that could contribute to a pedestrian accident include ignoring a "walk" signal at an intersection, entering traffic and disrupting its flow, failing to use marked crosswalks, and darting in front of a vehicle.

Following a pedestrian accident, cause and liability need to be assed. This means understanding what contributed to the accident and whether the parties involved were upholding their legal duties at the time of the crash. A pedestrian accident can result in serious and life-threatening injuries. Thus, it is important to understand who was at fault, as doing so could help with the pursuit of a personal injury claim and the recovery of compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other related damages.

Source: FindLaw, "Pedestrian Accidents Overview," accessed July 9, 2017

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