I was on a recent walk with my dog and not 200m from my home, I narrowly missed being taken out by an errant driver.
To say more about the circumstances of my near death experience:
- I was on a pedestrian crossing and facing a little green man
- While it was night-time and dark, the intersection and pedestrian crossing I was on were both well-lit
- I had traversed 3 out of 4 lanes of roadway while on that pedestrian crossing
- I was walking, not running (although my dog prefers that I run)
- I was wearing dark clothing (and I have a black dog)
- The person in the grey Mazda approaching the intersection would have seen the traffic light facing him turn orange and then red for at least 5 seconds (the time it takes for me to traverse three of the four lanes of that road)
- The driver did not slow down at all on his approach of the intersection and in fact, sped through the red light
I was naturally very upset at this person and some colourful words and impotent fist waving may have followed my experience. This ultimately brings me to the point of this post, for there are some common questions that arise from situations like this:-
- Whose fault is it?
- What rights do I have?
- Should I make a claim?
A brief summation of the various duties each driver and pedestrian has to other road users:
- every driver on the road has a duty to other road users
- a driver of a vehicle has a higher duty to pedestrians, for they share the road
- a driver approaching an intersection ought to be highly vigilant
- a pedestrian must also take reasonable steps to ensure his/her safety
- a pedestrian also has a duty to a driver on the road to ensure their safety
Whose fault is it?
Determining who is responsible for an accident, and to what extent, can sometimes be a complicated fact finding exercise.
Even situations like my own might not be immediately clear cut.
The oft repeated phrase, “each case will turn on its own facts” would certainly apply here.
Whether that driver would have been 100% liable for the accident, or 80%, or 60% or less, depends on a number of issues for consideration.
Such a determination might change if I were: nose-deep on a mobile phone, or wearing headphones, or facing a don’t walk signal, or if I had run out onto the road without looking left and right.