Pedestrian accidents in Glens Falls can have many different causes, including negligent motor vehicle drivers or bicyclists, vehicle defects, and road damage or defects. In some cases, a pedestrian’s own negligence might play a role in the crash due to distracted walking. How does distracted walking impact a Glens Falls pedestrian accident case? Our Glens Falls pedestrian accident attorneys can provide you with more information about distracted walking and how it may result in the issue of comparative fault or contributory negligence being raised.
What is Distracted Walking?
Most people in New York and Vermont know that distracted driving is a serious problem. Indeed, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a total of 3,142 people were killed in distracted driving accidents in 2020, and overall rates of distracted driving injuries and deaths generally have risen since the widespread ownership and use of smart phones. Just as distracted driving can result in a serious or deadly collision, so can distracted walking.
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), distracted walking, like distracted driving, is any distracting behavior that takes a pedestrian’s focus away from the task of walking safely. Most frequently, distracted walking involves talking on a phone, texting, reading or sending emails, listening to music, or engaging in conversation with another pedestrian. The AAOS recently conducted a distracted walking study and determined that about 78 percent of adults believe distracted driving to be a serious problem, yet only about 29 percent of adults admit to distracted walking themselves. Distracted walking is especially dangerous when pedestrians are looking down at a phone while crossing a street or walking in an area with significant traffic.
Comparative Fault and Distracted Walking in Glens Falls
If a pedestrian is injured in a collision with a negligent motorist but the pedestrian was also engaged in distracted walking at the time of the crash, how can distracted walking impact the pedestrian’s claim? In short, the motorist might raise the issue of comparative fault, or contributory negligence. In other words, the defendant might argue that the pedestrian was also negligent and that the pedestrian’s recovery should be reduced accordingly.
Under New York law, “in any action to recover damages for personal injury . . . the culpable conduct attributable to the claimant or to the decedent, including contributory negligence or assumption of risk, shall not bar recovery, but the amount of damages otherwise recoverable shall be diminished in the proportion which the culpable conduct attributable to the claimant or decedent bears to the culpable conduct which caused the damages.” In other words, if a pedestrian is in fact partially at fault for the accident due to distracted walking, the pedestrian can still recover damages from the defendant. However, the pedestrian’s total damages will be reduced by the pedestrian’s percentage of fault for the accident.
Contact a Glens Falls Pedestrian Accident Attorney
If you have questions about filing a pedestrian accident claim, a Glens Falls pedestrian accident attorney can assist you. Contact Larson & Gallivan Law online, or call us in Glens Falls at 518-862-8799.