Man following social distancing guidelines, wiping down his car.

Social Distancing and Personal Injury Claims

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Q: Will social distancing increase pedestrian accidents and lawsuits?

Many states are moving toward staged reopenings after being in a near-complete lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. Still, many people are working remotely or are unemployed and spending more time at home. To escape the monotony of confinement in their homes, many people are out and about walking and biking. And while this is good for health in general, the increased pedestrian traffic – – with social distancing considerations – – could be dangerous.

Santa Fe car accident attorneys, and lawyers all over the country, can expect to see an increase in personal injury claims related to pedestrian accidents. In an effort to remain socially distant on sidewalks, walkers and joggers are now “darting out” into the roadway in an effort to maintain a safe social distance from others who cross their path. This action may result in them being hit and seriously injured by passing cars. The circumstances of each specific instance will determine whether the driver acted and reacted reasonably. In light of social distancing rules, could the driver or should the driver have anticipated that the pedestrian ahead– who was coming upon another pedestrian closer than six feet– would dart-out into the street to avoid the virus. 

In addition to criminal penalties, a driver found to be at fault for negligently, recklessly, or intentionally causing a car accident that results in serious injuries to someone else could face civil penalties in a personal injury lawsuit. Or, if the victim died as a result of the accident, then a wrongful death lawsuit. 

If the victim can prove the driver was responsible, they may be entitled to consider compensatory damages for such items as current and future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and more. 

What are the elements of a negligence lawsuit?

To prove a negligence case, the victim must establish that: 

  • the driver had a legal duty to use reasonable caution when driving;
  • the driver breached that duty and is therefore at fault;
  • the breach is what directly caused the accident; 
  • the accident directly caused their injuries.

Sometimes, the pedestrian may be completely or partially to blame for the accident. That’s one reason why it’s important for pedestrians to victims to contact a skilled personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident. 

In addition to interviewing witnesses and preserving evidence to establish liability for the accident, your attorney can ensure you receive proper medical care, collect necessary medical records, and negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf. It is never wise to accept an insurance company’s settlement offer without first speaking with an attorney. 

If you or a loved one has been injured or a loved one has been killed due to someone else’s actions or inactions, the Hunt Law Firm can help you maximize the compensation to which you may be entitled. Contact us today for a free consultation

From our office in Santa Fe, we pride ourselves on providing injured victims and their loved ones with powerful legal representation and caring, efficient service. We represent victims in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Raton, Roswell, Los Alamos, Las Vegas, and throughout the state of New Mexico.