The vast majority of car accidents involving pedestrians occur at crosswalks, when a driver runs a red light or speeds up rather than slows down as the “slow” or yellow warning light flashes. However, pedestrians have certain responsibilities too, and ignoring these can undermine any claims against a driver or municipality. For example, pedestrians should cross the street at a designated crosswalk, and wait until the “walk” light flashes or the cars have stopped at a red light. Not only does jaywalking increase your chances of being hit by a motor vehicle, but it greatly reduces your odds of collecting damages for your injuries!
The same considerations apply for smaller streets that have stop signs rather than stop lights, or even no traffic markers at all.
Pedestrians Still Have The Right Of Way
Massachusetts law requires drivers to give pedestrians the right of way at intersections, so if you cross the street with a reasonable amount of care (i.e., first looking both ways), you may be entitled to damages if you are hit by a vehicle. In many cases, it turns out that the responsible driver was speeding, talking on his cell phone, or simply not paying attention—and he may also have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It also may be the case that a traffic light has malfunctioned, or that the municipality has already been alerted about an especially dangerous intersection and has done nothing to remedy the problem.
Although most pedestrian injuries and fatalities happen at intersections, it’s also possible to be hit by an out-of-control vehicle as you’re walking on the sidewalk, in a parking lot, or even in a recreational area (like a park or beach). Less cut-and-dried are cases where the pedestrian has been walking, or jogging, down the side of the street rather than on the sidewalk. As stated above, Massachusetts law dictates that cars give pedestrians a reasonable right-of-way, but in these instances “right-of-way” may be subject to interpretation. At the very least, drivers are required to slow down and give you plenty of leeway when attempting to pass you on the street.
In the worst cases, your loved one may be struck and killed by a car while crossing an intersection, walking down the sidewalk, or jogging down the street. Pedestrian deaths are relatively rare, and are investigated with due diligence by the police (in cases of hit-and-run deaths, perpetrators can often be identified by crosswalk cameras or forensic evidence like paint chips). In most instances, the driver is entirely at fault, but it also may be possible to hold the municipality responsible if the intersection is known to be dangerous (especially if pedestrians have been killed on it before).
Pedestrian Accident Attorneys • Free Consultation
Serving The Greater Boston Area
If you are lawfully crossing the street at a designated crosswalk and are hit and injured by a car, truck or bus—or if you are struck while walking on the sidewalk or the side of the street–the attorneys at The Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan can help you to press your claim against the driver, the owner of the vehicle, or even the municipality. The injuries sustained from pedestrian hit-and-run and knock-down accidents can be extremely severe (a 150-pound person is no match for a 2,000-pound car), and you are entitled to compensation for your pain, suffering and medical bills.