If I hit a pedestrian in the turning lane as I prepared to turn left because they wereout of thecrosswalk, am I liable?

I was driving at night and hit a pedestrian who was crossing the semi-busy road 100 feet from a crosswalk. Headlights were on, radio off, and I was not distracted. I did not receive any citation from the police officers on the scene.

Asked on November 29, 2011 under Accident Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Liability depends on fault, which typically depends on negligence, or being unreasonably careless. In addition, even if one party is negligent, if the other party were negligent, too, that could reduce, or even in some cases eliminate,the liability of the first party--basically, to the extent the second party is at fault, he or she cannot recover monetary compensation.

From what you write, it seems as if you should not be liable--you appear to have done nothing wrong (unless perhaps you were driving too fast for conditions or that area--i.e. above the speed limit). It seems as the pedestrian, in fact, was at fault.

However, the above said, take it seriously if the pedestrian or his/her insurer sues you--they may have a different view of the case, and it's not until the case is actually before a jury that you know how they'd decide. Even though it seems the facts are in your favor, if sued, get a lawyer to defend you.


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