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Can pedestrians sue if they were partly at fault for the crash?

On Behalf of | Apr 13, 2023 | Auto Accidents, Personal Injury |

Pedestrians in the United States are dying in auto-pedestrian crashes at the highest rate in decades. Some pedestrian collisions can be chalked up to reckless driving habits such as speeding, distracted driving and drunk driving.

But what if a pedestrian crash is not so straightforward? Maybe the pedestrian’s actions contributed to the collision in some way. Does this completely bar the pedestrian from pursuing a legal claim against the motorist who struck them?

Comparative negligence laws

Fortunately, pedestrians in both New Hampshire and Vermont might be able to pursue a lawsuit against the motorist who struck them, even if the pedestrian’s actions contributed in part to the collision. This is due to the states’ modified comparative negligence laws.

In New Hampshire, if a pedestrian was partially at-fault for the collision, they can still pursue damages if their negligence was proportionally less than the motorist’s. However, the compensation the pedestrian might receive will be reduced based on the percentage of their fault.

In Vermont, if a pedestrian was partially negligent, they are not completely barred from seeking damages. If the pedestrian contributed to the crash, they can still seek damages as long as they were at fault for the collision. But the compensation awarded will be reduced based on the percentage of their negligence that contributed to the accident.

Pedestrian accidents and negligence

So, if a pedestrian can prove that the motorist was more negligent than they were in an auto-pedestrian accident, the pedestrian might still be able to pursue damages against the motorist. While New Hampshire and Vermont laws differ slightly on when a pedestrian might pursue compensation if they were partially to blame for the crash, this partial contribution does not automatically bar a lawsuit in either state.