When Does The First Amendment Protect A Person From Liability?

Most religions have rules. Are you supposed to work on the Sabbath? Probably not, but some folks take this rule far more seriously than others. Let’s say John Doe is Jewish and believes strongly that he should not work on the Sabbath. The faucet in front of his property begins to leak on a cold winter day. The water from the faucet turns into ice, making the sidewalk much more slippery overnight.

John becomes aware of the problem the next day — but that day is his Sabbath. He chooses to do nothing because he feels God will judge him harshly should he work to fix the leaky faucet. It can wait one day, right? Unfortunately, no. Pedestrian Jame Smith comes along, slips, falls, and cracks her head open on the pavement. She suffers from traumatic brain injury. Her wealthy family retains a great lawyer, who sends his investigators to learn all they can from the scene of the incident.

Those investigators quickly learn that John Doe knew about the leaky faucet but chose to do nothing. The great lawyer contends that John Doe is solely liable for the slip and fall because his negligence in fixing a known maintenance issue on his property caused the accident. He seeks punitive damages to punish John Doe for this atrocity.

John Doe works hard when his god allows him to work, though, and hires a great lawyer of his own. His lawyer tells the judge that the case should be dismissed on the grounds of his client’s first amendment right to religious freedom. Jane Smith’s lawyer counters, saying that the case should move forward because Doe could have mitigated the fallout from the faucet by spreading salt or making a sign to warn pedestrians of the danger. Doe’s lawyer snipes back that these actions also constitute “work” under his client’s religious beliefs.

The case could go either way because religious freedom boundaries have yet to be determined in court. Ask your lawyer for details if you believe your religious freedom preempts you from liability.

What Is A Pedestrian Accident And What Should You Do After One?

A pedestrian accident occurs when a motor vehicle strikes a pedestrian walker, runner, or biker during operation of the vehicle. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), around 5,000 people are killed in pedestrian accidents every year. Around 76,000 pedestrians will be injured each year. Many accidents occur when a pedestrian is jay-walking — meaning that it’s not always the vehicle operator’s fault.

That said, anyone who was abiding by pedestrian laws but was struck by a motor vehicle should seek advice from a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. In order to build a case against the vehicle operator, negligence must first be determined.

The burden of proof relies on material evidence and witness/expert testimony to establish a defendant’s negligence in contributing to the pedestrian accident. According to FindLaw, negligence occurs when a defendant “owed a legal duty to the plaintiff under the circumstances.” This might occur when a business owner fails to properly train an employee, who then gets into an accident during which a pedestrian is injured.

A third party might also be liable for the accident: the city, state, or municipality responsible for maintaining sidewalks or roads where the accident occurred. 

A number of pedestrian accidents occur due to reckless driving. Factors include: driving over the speed limit, texting or speaking on the phone while driving, failing to obey traffic signals, failing to signal, driving while intoxicated by drugs, alcohol, or exhaustion, or simply failing to account for weather conditions. 

Other pedestrian accidents occur when a walker fails to heed traffic signals (such as the “walk” signal) and disrupting the flow of traffic, failing to use a crosswalk, or assuming a vehicle will stop when entering a traffic lane. In these instances, the pedestrian is usually at fault — and a driver might be able to mount a case against them!

Premise liability law and pedestrian accident law are deeply connected, because pedestrian accidents might occur when a land maintainer fails to, well, maintain the land. If the conditions leading to the accident were created or exacerbated because of a land owner’s failure to make necessary repairs in the timely fashion, then either the pedestrian or the vehicle operator — or both — might be able to mount a lawsuit against the land owner.

If you were involved in a pedestrian accident — either as a pedestrian or the operator of a vehicle — then you should avoid panic. Call the police before you do anything else. Try to help the injured party if possible. Ask anyone who witnessed the accident to refrain from leaving the scene of the accident. Don’t actually say anything to anyone else. This means refrain from providing information to other drivers, the police, or insurers until you contact a lawyer.

Seek medical attention if you need it. Keep documentation of medical bills and witness testimony on hand when you meet with your lawyer — and remember to keep your head. You’re in good hands!

The Common Causes Of Most Pedestrian Accidents

When a pedestrian is involved in an accident, sometimes it is not the fault of the person. They can be struck by a person driving that is not paying attention, perhaps checking their text messages or emails on their phone. They may also strike a pedestrian unknowingly, caused by a distraction from another driver, or glare on their windshield. Not all accidents are preventable, but there are many that occur due to the negligence of both the driver and also the pedestrian. Let’s look at the most common causes for most pedestrian accidents and what can be done to prevent them. We will also look at what a pedestrian can do in order to sue to receive a settlement for injuries sustained.

The Most Common Reasons Pedestrians Are Struck By Vehicles

Most pedestrians are struck by vehicles in the city, specifically on curbs and in crosswalks. A driver that is not paying attention to who is in the crosswalk, or who is running a red light, can strike and injure a person. It is becoming more common for drivers to text while driving, contributing to thousands of additional accidents like this every year. They may also be speeding, driving under the influence, or simply not paying attention to their surroundings when suddenly they have hit a pedestrian. Conversely, pedestrians can be at fault because they are staring at their cell phone, perhaps talking or even playing a game. Smartphones and tablet computers have literally made us more oblivious to our outer surroundings, and this can be very dangerous when you are walking so close to traffic.

How To Get Compensation If You Are Hit By A Driver.

If you are hit by a driver, and it is not your fault, you can always find some way to sue for a settlement. There are lawyers that specialize in pedestrian accidents, and they will be more than willing to hear your case. If you were not at fault, and you are struck by a drunk driver, someone speeding, or texting on their phone, this is something they can help you with right away. You will need to compare the different attorneys that provide this service, and once you do, you will know exactly who to choose to file a lawsuit on your behalf in order to get compensation.

The easiest way to find the best attorney or law firm that can represent pedestrians is to simply search for pedestrian lawyers in your area. Look at the reviews they have received, set appointments with multiple attorneys, and choose one that you believe will provide you with the best representation for your case.