Driver Settles Personal Injury Claim With Pedestrian After Striking Her In Crosswalk And Significantly Hurting Her

 By: J. Hernandez
It is simply remarkable how in which individuals are able to try to absolve themselves of blame in cases even though they are obviously at fault for having caused an accident.

For example, look at one reported case in which a 71 year old female was the victim of a motor vehicle accident. The woman was a pedestrian. She who was hit by a van. As a result of the accident she suffered a fracture to the right occipital bone (the bone located at the lower back of the skull). The woman additionally suffered fractures to her right knee. Her knee injury needed an open reduction with internal fixation. Further, the victim suffered a subdural hematoma. She was half-way through a crosswalk. The crosswalk was controlled by a traffic light when she was struck. The vehicle that hit her had been stopped for a red light prior to going into the intersection. The woman maintained that at the time she entered the crosswalk the traffic control signal was steady and turned to a flashing red light as she was in the crosswalk and was hit by the driver.

The driver alleged that he did not enter the intersection until the light turned green for him. The driver actually produced two witnesses to state that the light was green for the driver at the time the accident took place. A lot of people, even certain attorneys, would probably consider this as a case that would most likely result in a defense verdict. Thus, a lot of attorneys would turn a case like this down. The facts are against the plaintiff. Or are they?

One law firm did take on this matter. They took the position that despite whether the driver had a green light or not, the plaintiff was already in the middle of the crosswalk and so had the right of way when the driver drove into the crosswalk. He should have been focused on the victim in front of him rather than with the traffic light to his left. By taking this strategy the law firm published that it was able to attain a settlement shortly before trial for $300,000, the entire extent of the defendant's insurance policy.

In this case the driver and the insurance company blamed the plaintiff for the accident. Basically they claimed that, irrespective of whether there was a pedestrian halfway across a crosswalk, as soon as the light went green the defendant and not the pedestrian in the crosswalk, had the right of way. They in a nutshell took the position that, if a person takes too long to cross the street, drivers can get a free if they hit that pedestrian.

Not surprisingly the matter settled prior to trial. Still, as reported by the law firm that represented the victim, it settled only shortly prior to trial. Attorneys who represent victims in cases where the driver takes this type of posture must put together the claim as if they will need to take it to trial. It is sometimes the only thing that will persuade the defendants to finally settle the case. In practice this means not letting the defendants position the matter. In practice one method for doing this is to take the impact, or effect, of the argument made by the defendants and showing that this would in reality go against public policy. Doing this may turn a loser into a winner.
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