Most people know the dangers of texting while driving. Yet do you know the dangers of texting while walking?
There have been enough collisions and fatalities surrounding pedestrians texting their way through crosswalks that New York is considering making it illegal to do so. Other cities and states have already banned texting while walking because it has caused so many fatal accidents.
Yet it doesn’t take a law to make texting while walking a danger to a pedestrian’s personal injury case.
It is a popular misnomer. Many people believes that if a car collides with a pedestrian then the driver is always going to be held responsible for the injury or fatality that results. That’s the intuitive assumption. 3,000 pound car. 150 pound human. No contest, right?
Except that all personal injury cases run on the legal theory of negligence. It’s not meant to protect you or compensate you for anything bad that might ever happen to you. Instead, it helps “make you whole” again after someone who had a duty of care to you failed in that duty.
This means they either had a responsibility to do something, or not do something, and they failed in that responsibility. That failure led directly to your injury, causing you to sustain financial and physical damages.
So if you were the negligent party, that is, you did something risky or foolish that led directly to your unavoidable harm, then you won’t have much of a grounds to pursue an injury case.
New York is a comparative negligent state, which means you can recover if you are even 99% at fault for an accident, but your award would be reduced by that exact amount. This means that your loved ones might have a hard time recovering in a wrongful death suit and you might have a hard time recovering for an injury suit.
There are many examples of past cases where a pedestrian simply failed to exercise caution before entering the intersection and, as a result, was unable to win their case or recover an amount of money substantial enough to make the case worth pursuing. Anyone could tell you that texting while entering an intersection is a failure to exercise caution.
Obviously the #1 reason why you want to avoid this behavior is because you don’t want to get hurt, and you don’t want others to get hurt. You should be as alert while walking through traffic as you’d be while driving through it. Keep your cell phone in your pocket and check your messages when you’re safe.
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Meet Mr. Richman
SCOTT B. RICHMAN, ESQ.
Mr. Richman is the Managing Member and Founder of Richman Law Firm PLLC. In his role as Managing Member, Mr. Richman oversees the day-to-day operations of the firm and handles the litigation of the most complex legal matters across a vast array of practice areas and disciplines.