If is is unclear who was to blame for an accident, how is liability determined?

UPDATED: Feb 21, 2012

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If is is unclear who was to blame for an accident, how is liability determined?

My wife hit a man on her bicycle when he crossed the bike path directly in front of her. In such cases or when there is no clear person at fault, is it typically assumed that the bike rider had more of an obligation to avoid the pedestrian than visa versa?

Asked on February 21, 2012 under Personal Injury, Florida


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A pedestrian usually has the right of way, but in this case where the pedestrian crossed directly in front of your wife's bicycle, the pedestrian is at least partially liable for his injuries. 

If your state uses comparative negligence, both parties can be held liable for the percentage of negligence attributed to each of them. The following are not the actual figures, but are just for purposes of example.  If your wife is found to be 60% liable and the pedestrian is found to be 40% liable for the accident, then your wife would be responsible for 60% of the pedestrian's damages (damages means the amount of compensation a party is seeking to recover).  The pedestrian would be responsible for 40% of your wife's damages.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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