Many personal injury claims in New Mexico arise out of motor vehicle collisions in which a pedestrian is injured. In many crashes of this nature, the motorist behind the wheel of the car or truck was careless or reckless, and caused the accident. At the same time, there are situations in which pedestrians can be partially (or sometimes entirely) at fault for their own personal injuries due to distracted walking. If you were injured in a collision with an automobile, what should you know about seeking financial compensation and the ways that distracted walking allegations could impact your case?
Learning More About Distracted Walking
Most of us have heard about the dangers of distracted driving. Given the marked increase in cell phone use in the last decade, and smartphones in particular, many car crashes happen because of the driver’s distraction. Of course, distracted driving is not something new. Even before the advent of cell phones, behaviors such as eating or grooming while driving, or reaching to change a radio station, could lead to a distracted driving accident. Yet technology is, in large part, responsible for the rise in distracted walking accidents.
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), there are often serious consequences when pedestrians are walking while “talking on the phone, texting, listening to music, or engaging deeply in conversation with the person next to them.” Indeed, according to Dr. Alan Hilibrand, the chair of the AAOS Communications Cabinet, “more and more people are falling down stairs, tripping over curbs and other streetscapes and, in many instances, stepping into traffic, causing cuts, bruises, sprains, and fractures.” Since 2004, the total number of motor vehicle collisions involving a pedestrian on a cell phone have doubled, and recent surveys suggest that about “60% of pedestrians are distracted by other activities while walking.”
The AAOS cites data from a study it conducted across major urban areas in the U.S., which suggests that Americans recognize the widespread distractions that exist for pedestrians, but they are hesitant to admit to their own distracted walking behaviors:
- About 28% of people admit to walking while using a smartphone, yet those surveyed report approximately 85% of pedestrians they see are texting, surfing the internet, or otherwise engaged with a smartphone while walking;
- Approximately 34% of people admit to listening to music while walking, but say about 90% of pedestrians they see are wearing headphones; and
- 38% of pedestrians admit to “zoning out” while walking, yet say nearly two-thirds of pedestrians they see are not paying attention to their surroundings.
Effects of Distracted Walking on a Pedestrian Accident Claim
If you are injured in a pedestrian collision caused by a motor vehicle, what will happen if the driver raises the issue of your own fault due to distracted walking? New Mexico follows a “pure comparative fault” model. Accordingly, even if you are partially at fault, you can still recover damages (even if you are up to 99% at fault). However, your damages award will be diminished by your percentage of fault.
A personal injury attorney can help you to prove that distracted walking was not a factor in causing your injuries.
Contact a New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer
If you need assistance with your injury claim, one of our New Mexico personal injury attorneys can assist you. Contact Slate Stern Law today.