Who is at Fault When A Car Hits a Pedestrian in Vermont?
Mixing pedestrians and vehicles can often be a dangerous combination. The well-known rule that the pedestrian has the right of way is most often accurate, but there are certain times when it’s not. In the event of a car accident with a pedestrian, determining who is at fault depends on the details of the incident.
All drivers have what is called a duty of care. This means that the “driver is held to the same standard of what a normal, careful and prudent person would do in the same circumstances.” For example, drivers being cautious and responsible operate their vehicles with extra precaution when a pedestrian is nearby. A person may be driving the speed limit, but if he or she sees a toddler coming into the road, duty of care should lead the driver to slow down and come to a stop.
A pedestrian can be held liable for an accident when the vehicle is driving at the speed limit and the pedestrian acts in a careless way that makes it impossible for the driver to avoid hitting the individual. A pedestrian jumping out in front of a moving vehicle or walking the street at night wearing dark clothing are both examples of pedestrian carelessness. In these circumstances, a driver may be unable to prevent an accident, and therefore the fault would lie with the pedestrian.
There are times when a judge or jury may decide that the pedestrian and driver are equally at fault in an accident, indicating that both parties acted with negligence. Guidelines for accident liability differ from state to state, as does the amount in damages that each party is responsible for paying.
According to Nolo, “Hitting a pedestrian while driving a car is a scary occurrence, but not uncommon. According to statistics gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 60,000 pedestrians were injured in traffic accidents in 2006. Hitting a pedestrian at a speed of over 30 miles per hour results in more serious injuries and fatalities—yet a driver can severely disable a pedestrian in a crash where the driver is traveling only 10 miles per hour.”
In this recent pedestrian/car incident the State Police do not determine fault but state the case is still under investigation.
December 28, 2020
Shaftsbury Barracks/ Pedestrian Motor Vehicle Crash
STATE OF VERMONT
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
VERMONT STATE POLICE
MOTOR VEHICLE CRASH
RANK/TROOPER FULL NAME: Trooper Colin Shepley
STATION: Shaftsbury Barracks
DATE/TIME: 12/28/2020 @ 1704 hours.
STREET: US Route 7
LANDMARK AND/OR CROSS STREETS: 1/8 mile north of Route 346.
WEATHER: Clear and 41 degrees.
ROAD CONDITIONS: Clear and dry.
OPERATOR: James K. Coonradt
SEAT BELT? Yes
CITY, STATE OF RESIDENCE: Shaftsbury, VT
VEHICLE YEAR: 2006
VEHICLE MAKE: Subaru
VEHICLE MODEL: Tribeca
DAMAGE TO VEHICLE #1: Contact damage to passenger side front quarter panel and side mirror.
PEDESTRIAN: Eryn J. Brickey
CITY, STATE OF RESIDENCE: Hoosick Falls, NY
INJURIES: Fractured leg, head and torso injuries.
HOSPITAL: Albany Medical Center
SUMMARY OF CRASH: On the above date and time, Vermont State Police were dispatched to a motor vehicle versus pedestrian crash in the area of 5970 US Route 7 in the Town of Pownal.
Investigation consisting of evidence on scene as well as witness statements indicate at the time of the crash, the pedestrian, Eryn Brickey was walking near the white fog line on the east side of the roadway. The operator of vehicle #1, James Coonradt was travelling northbound on US Route 7 when he reported hitting something with the side mirror of his vehicle. Coonradt turned around and discovered Brickey lying along the edge of the roadway. Coonradt reported he did not see anyone or anything prior to hearing the impact. This section of roadway is rural and not lit.
Brickey was tended to on scene by emergency personnel before being airlifted to Albany Medical Center for further treatment. Brickey is believed to have suffered head and torso trauma as well as a fractured leg. Vermont State Police were assisted on scene by the Pownal Fire Department, Pownal Rescue Squad and the Northern Berkshire Ambulance Service.
Vermont Civil Violation Complaint: Active investigation.
LODGED – LOCATION: N/A
MUG SHOT: N/A
COURT ACTION: N/A
COURT DATE/TIME: N/A
*Please note: court date and time are subject to change at the discretion of
the court. Please call the criminal court clerk to confirm arraignment time.
Trooper Colin Shepley
Vermont State Police Shaftsbury
96 Airport Road Shaftsbury, VT 05262
at 12/28/2020 10:31:00 PM
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