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Duty of care in Missouri pedestrian accidents

Pedestrian accidents can be some of the most tragic in Missouri, especially when they could have been avoided. There is a duty of care expected from all parties involved in a pedestrian motor vehicle accident. The driver has a duty of care, the pedestrian has a duty of care and there is special duty of care by drivers for children.

As a general rule of thumb, drivers are required to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances. When a driver fails to do this, it is called negligence. Factors that lead to negligence include the following:

-- Speeding

-- Distracted driving

-- Not signaling when turning

-- Failing to yield right of way to pedestrians at crosswalks

-- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs

-- Disregarding traffic conditions or weather conditions

-- Disobeying traffic laws or traffic signals

Pedestrians are also expected to exercise a reasonable duty of care when walking on sidewalks or crossing the street. The care required of the pedestrian should be in proportion to the danger that has to be avoided in the situation. Factors that contribute to pedestrian negligence include the following:

-- Disrupting the flow of traffic

-- Entering traffic

-- Running out in front of a vehicle

-- Not using marked crosswalks

-- Ignoring pedestrian "walk" signals at intersections

-- Ignoring traffic signals

Children are very susceptible to being involved in a pedestrian accident. But, those from the ages of 5 and 9 have the highest risk of being hit by a car. Children cannot be predicted, are small and very difficult to see behind parked cars and other moving vehicles. Drivers are expected to have a higher duty of care when it comes to children as pedestrians. This means drivers must exercise a greater duty of care when driving near parks, in school zones, near school buses and in other areas where children are present.

An experienced motor vehicle accidents attorney can answer all of your pedestrian accident questions in Columbia, Missouri, and explain your rights following an accident.

Source: Findlaw, "Pedestrian Accidents Overview," accessed March 10, 2017

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