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Proving Negligence in a Bicycle Accident Case Involving an Injured Pedestrian in Seattle

By Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. on September 5, 2016

Seattle, one of the most bike-friendly cities in the United States, sees its fair share of bicyclists who are injured by careless drivers, potholes, and other street hazards. But what happens if the bicycle accident involves a bicycle colliding with a pedestrian in a crosswalk? Who is responsible for the injuries sustained?

Seattle Biking Laws

Seattle bikers are required by law to exercise due care while riding. This includes exercising due care when approaching a crosswalk, even if the cyclist has the right of way, such as a green light. In addition, the pedestrian code in Seattle requires that pedestrians avoid unexpectedly and quickly walking into oncoming traffic such that it is impossible for a driver or cyclist to stop in time and therefore avoid hitting the pedestrian.

In some situations, pedestrians have the right of way, such as when they are crossing in a crosswalk when the crosswalk sign is lit. Oncoming traffic must heed to the pedestrians. If a cyclist continues forward through the crosswalk when pedestrians have the right of way and are crossing, the cyclist can be liable for any injuries that result.

However, sometimes, pedestrians are careless and negligent when it comes to crossing the street. Some may cross outside of the crosswalk, dart into the street when they have the right of way, or step off the curb in front of oncoming traffic. Many of these resulting accidents cause serious injuries and even death.

So what happens if a pedestrian is partially responsible for the accident? Washington is a comparative negligence state. This means that a pedestrian is not barred from recovery simply because he or she was careless. Instead, the amount of damages he or she is entitled to will be reduced according to the pedestrian’s level of responsibility for the accident. This means that pedestrians may still be able to recover despite their own negligence, and this also means that cyclists will not be wholly responsible for the full extent of damages. In fact, if the pedestrian is entirely at fault for the accident, the cyclist will not be responsible for covering any of the damages. It is the role of the jury to determine the level of fault for each party and award damages proportionately.

Seek Compensation with a Skilled Seattle Bicycle Accident Lawyer

Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. is a premier personal injury boutique serving Seattle residents who were injured in bicycle accidents. Our Seattle bicycle and pedestrian collision attorneys have over four decades of experience with representing Seattle families are trial, securing favorable settlements, and pursuing compensation. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at (888) 288-3860.

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