If is is unclear who was to blame for an accident, how is liability determined?

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If is is unclear who was to blame for an accident, how is liability determined?

My wife hit a man on her bicycle when he crossed the bike path directly in front of her. In such cases or when there is no clear person at fault, is it typically assumed that the bike rider had more of an obligation to avoid the pedestrian than visa versa?

Asked on February 21, 2012 under Personal Injury, Florida

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

A pedestrian usually has the right of way, but in this case where the pedestrian crossed directly in front of your wife's bicycle, the pedestrian is at least partially liable for his injuries. 

If your state uses comparative negligence, both parties can be held liable for the percentage of negligence attributed to each of them. The following are not the actual figures, but are just for purposes of example.  If your wife is found to be 60% liable and the pedestrian is found to be 40% liable for the accident, then your wife would be responsible for 60% of the pedestrian's damages (damages means the amount of compensation a party is seeking to recover).  The pedestrian would be responsible for 40% of your wife's damages.


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