Distracted drivers and pedestrians can meet in the most inconvenient of places: a collision. These days, with so much texting and driving—and texting and walking—people don’t always see what’s right in front of them. When this unfortunate accident occurs in a cross walk, liability is pretty evident. However, when the accident happens elsewhere, there can be some confusion as to where the fault lies.

Watch Where You Walk

The standard for making a claim against the driver is negligence. Naturally, it is always considered negligent when the driver hits a pedestrian he saw beforehand and for which he had the opportunity to yield. But who’s to say? Without witnesses, it can be unclear if ample time was available in which to yield, at what speed the vehicle was going, and how quickly the pedestrian darted into the street.

It is very important for investigators to examine the scene and determine the lighting conditions, amount of traffic, road conditions, estimated vehicle speed, impairment of the driver, and any obstacles that could have blocked the driver’s view of the pedestrian. If you are in or a witness to a vehicle-pedestrian collision, make note of the conditions and take pictures if possible (SmartPhones are very helpful for this). All of this evidence can help to determine negligence and liability down the road.