Some Common Issues In Minnesota Pedestrian Accidents
Speed is one of the deadliest factors in vehicle-on-vehicle collisions. It increases the risk of a crash and also worsens the injuries that victims sustain in these crashes.
These factors are even more pronounced when it comes to vehicle-on pedestrian collisions. Multiple restraint layers, not to mention a solid steel cocoon, protect vehicle occupants. However, pedestrians have none of these protections. They are completely exposed to danger.
As a result, if the car is travelling under 30mph, the pedestrian fatality rate is less than 10 percent. But if the vehicle is travelling more than 40mph, the fatality rate is almost 90 percent.
Is The Police Report Conclusive in Minnesota?
Usually in a serious injury or fatal crash, a first responder files a police report. This document serves as a starting point for determining liability in these crashes. But the police report often suffers from two significant flaws.
First, even an experienced police officer or other first responder is not a professional accident reconstructionist. First responders are very adept at gathering facts. However, they are sometimes less skilled when it comes to putting these facts together to form a picture of the accident. Reconstructionists excel at this stage, which is why Minnesota personal injury attorneys often work with them
Second, the police report often only contains one side of the story. If the pedestrian is either killed or too injured to give a statements straightaway, the tortfeasor’s (negligent driver’s) version becomes the official record. The tortfeasor probably does not intentionally lie to the officer. But quite understandably, the tortfeasor has a clear bias.
As an additional note, there is a difference between fault and liability. The officer usually assigns fault to the vehicle operator in these cases. However, that does not necessarily mean that the tortfeasor is liable for damages.
If the victim sustained a serious injury in Minnesota, these damages include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. The law defines “serious injury” in several ways. But the best one to use is typically the $4,000 medical bill threshold.
Some Common Defenses in a Minnesota Pedestrian Crash
Contributory negligence is one of the most common defenses in Minneapolis accident cases. Its use is widespread in vehicle-on-vehicle collisions, but it is not quite as common in vehicle-pedestrian crashes. Basically, the contributory negligence doctrine shifts part of the blame for the accident onto the victim. That’s rather difficult to do when the victim is on foot.
The sudden emergency defense is another matter. This doctrine does not just reduce damages. It excuses wrongful conduct altogether if the tortfeasor:
- Reasonably reacted to
- A sudden emergency.
The first element is usually present in Minnesota pedestrian accidents. After a collision, some people flee the scene, but most people do the right thing and pull over.
But the second element is another issue. A “sudden emergency” is not the same thing as “illegal conduct.” It is technically illegal to cross against the light or outside a crosswalk. But such things are not “sudden emergencies” because they are rather commonplace. So, this defense usually does not apply in Minnesota pedestrian crashes.
Contact an Aggressive Attorney
Just a few extra ticks on the speedometer are enough to kill a pedestrian. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Minnesota, contact the Gunther Law Office. Our main office is conveniently located a few blocks from the Target Center.