No two car accidents are ever the same. Yet, it also important to note that not all accidents involve two vehicles. There are several different scenarios that can arise in a vehicle accident. These include accidents involving structures, pedestrians or animals. This begs the question of how liability is determined in something other than a run-of-the-mill car accident. Learn the basics of assigning liability in some of the more unexpected car accident situations.
In Utah, vehicle accidents involving an animal are not uncommon at all. In fact, in 2016 the Utah Department of Public Safety Highway Safety Office reported that over 3,000 animal-related crashes statewide. Due to the prevalence of this type of crash, it is important to know how they are resolved.
There are a couple ways a vehicle accident with an animal can play out. In some cases, the driver can be sued for negligence. In such a claim, an animal owner would assert that the driver failed to operate the vehicle in a reasonable manner. Utah Code section 41-6a-407(4) states that there isn't a presumption of negligence on part of the animal owner. This means that drivers must be readily prepared to make their case in the personal injury lawsuit. However, in most cases this type of incident is covered by the driver's car insurance. Of course, it is always helpful to be represented by an experienced lawyer.
Dealing With Pedestrian Accidents
Accidents involving pedestrians can also present special problems. You've probably heard of these types of accidents on the news. You may even sympathize with the pedestrian who was hit by a "careless" driver. However, when you are the driver involved in such an accident, you'll likely see it from a different perspective. You should work with a personal injury lawyer to make sure your side of the story is heard.
The applicable law in Utah generally places responsibility for the accident on the driver. This may even apply when the pedestrian is not following the law. Nonetheless, there are some situations where a pedestrian can be held liable. This includes where the pedestrian crosses the street in violation of a "do not cross" sign. It should be noted that these cases are very fact dependent in nature. Drivers need an experienced attorney to review the incident and determine if there are legal defenses.
If a pedestrian is found even partially at fault, Utah's system of modified comparative negligence will apply. Under Utah Code Ann. §78B-5-818, plaintiffs cannot seek compensation if they are at least half at fault for the accident. Assuming a plaintiff is 49% or less at fault for the accident, there will be a reduction in the award amount. This is based on the percentage of the plaintiff's fault. Speak to a lawyer practicing personal injury law for more information.
If you need help with a car accident involving special circumstances, contact Spencer & Jensen PLLC. Our team can assist you in any accident-related matter.