When a vulnerable pedestrian and a 4,000-pound moving metal vehicle collide, the pedestrian often sustains life-altering or even catastrophic injuries. Some pedestrian accidents are fatal. Even those lucky enough to escape with mild, recoverable injuries may quickly face financial hardship from only a few missed work days and unexpected medical expenses. The consequences of a pedestrian accident in Connecticut can be grave. These consequences are known as the victim’s “damages” in a pedestrian accident claim in Connecticut. Damages could include medical expenses, lost wages, lowered future earning capacity, and pain and suffering. Sometimes the damages include emotional trauma, disfigurement, or loss of pleasure in life as well as the common economic damages. If the pedestrian dies from their injuries, wrongful death damages may apply to their close family members.
If you or a loved one were injured while walking, and a driver’s negligence or recklessness behind the wheel caused your injuries, you don’t have to be left responsible for the damages. However, injury claims are not always that straightforward. In Connecticut, the injured party must prove the at-fault party’s liability before they can recover their damages.
Proving Liability in a Pedestrian Accident Claim in Connecticut
Pedestrians have a responsibility to follow traffic laws, cross at crosswalks, and obey traffic signals, but when a pedestrian carefully follows safety regulations and a careless driver hits them, the driver is liable for the victim’s damages. Before an injured pedestrian can make a successful claim to recover their losses plus compensation for their pain and suffering, they must prove the at-fault party’s liability through documented evidence. Proving liability requires showing the following to be true:
The at-fault driver owed a duty of care to the injury victim and other pedestrians to take all reasonable measures to prevent causing injury
They breached this duty through an act of negligence or recklessness
Their breach of duty directly caused the injury
The injury victim experienced damages from the injury.
In civil courts, it’s necessary to prove liability through a “preponderance” of the evidence, meaning the victim must prove that it’s more likely than not that the at-fault party caused the injury due to their negligence. This is a lesser standard the the criminal court’s requirement for proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, a criminal case against the driver could also take place; for instance, if the driver was intoxicated when the accident occurred. The civil case for compensation is always independent of any criminal charges for the same incident.
What You Do At the Accident Scene Can Help Prove Liability for a Pedestrian Accident in Connecticut
Because the injury victim must prove the at-fault party’s negligence in any injury case, gathering evidence at the scene of the pedestrian accident is the best place to start. While a seriously injured pedestrian may be able to do little other than wait for help, if they can safely sit up and take photos with a cell phone—or ask an uninjured companion or bystander to do it for them—they can gather critical evidence at the scene. Taking photos of the accident scene, including anything relevant like a crosswalk, signal light, the damaged vehicle, and visible injuries provides compelling evidence of liability later. A phone is also a good way to store the contact information of the driver and eyewitnesses.
Other important evidence to prove liability include the police report, any available traffic camera or surveillance video, eyewitness testimony, and the injury victim’s medical report showing that their injuries occurred during the accident.
It often takes an experienced New Haven pedestrian accident attorney to craft a compelling case to prove liability, calculate the maximum in damages, and skillfully negotiate the largest possible settlement for the victim’s damages in a pedestrian accident claim in Connecticut.