Blog of Charles Bryan Alred
Oklahoma Officials Conclude Investigation of Fatal Pedestrian Accident
Posted on April 6, 2020
Oklahoma Highway Patrol released a statement regarding a fatal pedestrian accident that took the life of a 14-year-old boy from Sand Springs, just west of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Tulsa World reported on the incident in a March 25, 2020 article, outlining the details of the incident. According to troopers, the teen was walking down the center of Oklahoma Highway 51 near Bermuda Avenue around 6:30 a.m. when he was struck by a vehicle traveling westbound. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
Authorities are not sure why the boy was walking down the middle of the road on such a busy, dangerous route, putting his life at risk. An OHP spokesperson noted that the cause of the collision was pedestrian action, so the motorist who struck him was not cited for violating any traffic laws.
Charles Bryan Alred, from Tulsa’s Charles Bryan Alred, PC, noted that the victim’s family will encounter significant challenges in attempting to recover compensation for their loved one’s death.
“In fatal pedestrian accidents, it’s the driver of the motorized vehicle that’s often at fault. Motorists don’t always see someone on foot, they might blow through a red light, or they fail to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.” In any of these scenarios, he referred to a wrongful death case as being the proper remedy for surviving family members.
However, he also mentioned that “A wrongful death claim may not go anywhere under the circumstances here.
Oklahoma follows the rule of contributory negligence, which highlights the victim’s own actions in a pedestrian accident. If you’re in any way responsible for causing the incident, your compensation will be reduced by the proportion of fault attributable to you. This concept applies to all personal injury cases, including wrongful death actions stemming from a pedestrian accident.”
Besides walking down the center of a busy highway, Mr. Alred provided additional examples of how a pedestrian’s contributory negligence could limit monetary damages. For instance, a person on foot could be partly at fault by:
- Walking into an intersection while oncoming traffic has a green light;
- Failing to cross a street at the designated crosswalk;
- Stumbling or walking erratically, such as might occur if the pedestrian was intoxicated; or,
- Wearing dark-colored clothing while walking at night.
Mr. Alred stressed that “Contributory negligence doesn’t act as a complete bar to compensation like it does in a few US states. Instead, your damages are reduced. When you retain a lawyer, you’re in a better position to keep that reduction as low as possible.”