Frequently Asked Questions
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Pedestrian Accidents

  1. If I am injured by a motor vehicle or a loved one is killed as a pedestrian, can I sue the motor vehicle that hit my family member or me?
  2. What if I was partially at fault for the accident because I was walking outside of a crosswalk or running across the street?
  3. If I am a pedestrian hit by a motor vehicle, is there anyone else I can sue other than the motor vehicle driver?
  4. If I am a pedestrian, does a motor vehicle driver owe any special duty or care toward me under law?
  5. Is a driver always at fault for an accident if the pedestrian is in or near a crosswalk?
  6. If my child has been injured or killed by a motor vehicle when he or she was a pedestrian, what are our rights?
  7. What if I or one of my family members is injured or killed by a uninsured/underinsured motorist while we were pedestrians?
  8. What damages are recoverable in pedestrian accident cases?
  9. How soon do I need to bring a case after a pedestrian accident?
  10. Do I need to retain an attorney?

Questions & Answers

If I am injured by a motor vehicle or a loved one is killed as a pedestrian, can I sue the motor vehicle that hit my family member or me?
Answer:
Yes. As long as it can be established that the motor vehicle driver was at least partially at fault, you are entitled to bring a civil lawsuit for damages including personal injury and wrongful death.

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What if I was partially at fault for the accident because I was walking outside of a crosswalk or running across the street?
Answer:
If you were partially at fault, you can still bring a claim against the driver of the vehicle if the driver was partially at fault. Any damages you might be entitled to recover will be reduced by the percentage of your fault. For example, if a jury were to award you $100,000 but determine that you were 50% at fault, your recovery would be reduced by 50% and you would receive $50,000.

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If I am a pedestrian hit by a motor vehicle, is there anyone else I can sue other than the motor vehicle driver?
Answer:
Possibly, if there were other parties or entities that may have caused or contributed to the accident, they can be asked to respond to any claim that you might make. For example, if the driver of the motor vehicle recently had his brakes repaired and they were repaired improperly and it could be shown that that caused or contributed to the accident, that repair shop could be asked to respond to any claim that you might make.

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If I am a pedestrian, does a motor vehicle driver owe any special duty or care toward me under law?
Answer:
Yes. Both pedestrians and drivers are responsible to exercise ordinary care when using roadways. However, the amount of care required by the driver is typically greater, since the driver is operating a vehicle that is capable of inflicting death or injury. Drivers of motor vehicles have a duty to keep their vehicles under sufficient control in order to avoid injuries to pedestrians.

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Is a driver always at fault for an accident if the pedestrian is in or near a crosswalk?
Answer:
Minnesota Statute 169.21 specifies that where traffic control signals are not in place or in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall stop to yield to the right of way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway with any marked crosswalk or at an intersection with no marked crosswalk. The driver must remain stopped until the pedestrian has passed the lane in which the vehicle is stopped.

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If my child has been injured or killed by a motor vehicle when he or she was a pedestrian, what are our rights?
Answer:
In cases involving young children, the law recognizes that greater care must be exercised for their protection. Because children’s conduct is unpredictable, the law recognizes that the driver of a motor vehicle must anticipate a certain level of thoughtlessness and impulsiveness on the part of children. If children are present in an area (for example, near a school), the mere presence of children serves as a warning to the driver of a motor vehicle to exercise additional care.

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What if I or one of my family members is injured or killed by a uninsured/underinsured motorist while we were pedestrians?
Answer:
If an individual is injured or killed by a uninsured/underinsured motor vehicle driver, then one may look to their own automobile insurance coverage for compensation for any injuries or death.

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What damages are recoverable in pedestrian accident cases?
Answer:
There are a variety of damages that are recoverable in pedestrian accident cases. They include:  (1) medical expenses and the cost of future medical care, (2) lost earnings and loss of future earning capacity, (3) general damages for pain, suffering and emotional distress.

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How soon do I need to bring a case after a pedestrian accident?
Answer:
Minnesota has a six-year statute of limitations for claims against the operator of a motor vehicle if he causes injury to a pedestrian. If the accident results in death, then there is a three-year statute of limitations.

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Do I need to retain an attorney?
Answer:
It’s almost always a good idea to hire an attorney when a person has been injured as a pedestrian. Frequently, there will be questions relating to comparative fault. In addition, expert witnesses likely need to be hired as soon as possible so that they can reconstruct the accident before evidence is lost or destroyed.

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