Many pedestrian accidents in Massachusetts occur at or near designated crosswalks. A pedestrian crosswalk accident occurs every two hours in this country. In 2006 alone over 500 pedestrians died when they were struck by a vehicle while walking in a crosswalk. These crosswalks are located at every intersection and in between intersections on busy roads.
Are Pedestrians Ever at Fault if a Car Hits a Person in a Crosswalk?
As a practical matter, when a car hits a pedestrian in Massachusetts the accident is almost always the fault of the driver of the vehicle. By law, pedestrians in Massachusetts almost always have the right of way and cars and trucks have a duty to yield the right of way to the pedestrian. This is especially the case when an accident occurs in a pedestrian crosswalk.
The following is list of some of the traffic laws that give pedestrians the right of way at crosswalks:
- M.G.L. c. 89, § 11 gives pedestrians in crosswalks the right of way;
- 720 CMR 9.06(6)(b) prohibits car from entering crosswalk if they cannot pass through safely;
- M.G.L. c. 89, § 1, 350 CMR 4.01(8) prohibits operators from passing other cars that have stopped for a pedestrian in a crosswalk;
- 720 CMR 9.06(27) states that vehicle operators must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks
Massachusetts statute dictates that an automobile driver must stop at a crosswalk if (1) a pedestrian is in the crosswalk and on the driver’s lane/side of the road or (2) a pedestrian is in the crosswalk and is approaching the driver’s lane/side of the road from the opposite half of the road and is within ten feet of the driver’s lane/side of the side.
A 2016 Superior Court case titled Weiss vs. The City of Cambridge provided additional insight into Massachusetts General Law Chapter 89 section 11. In that case the judge provided the jury with the following instruction:
“Now, — under a Massachusetts statute, specifically, General Laws Chapter 89, Section 11, no driver of a motor vehicle may enter a marked crosswalk while a pedestrian is crossing, even if the traffic control signal indicates that the vehicle may proceed. The violation of a motor vehicle statute or regulation may be evidence of a breach of the [driver’s] duty of care.
In this particular case the pedestrian was in a marked crosswalk when she was struck by a motor vehicle and there was evidence that the pedestrian was not obeying the pedestrian traffic signal at the time. Despite disobeying a traffic signal, the jury only found the pedestrian 35% at fault for the accident and found the driver 65% at fault for the accident. In this case, the pedestrian was less at fault even though they violated a traffic law and the driver did not.
Involved in an Accident Because a Driver Failed to Yield in a Pedestrian in a Crosswalk?
If you or a loved one was lawfully crossing the street in a designated crosswalk and were struck and injured by a car, motorcycle, truck or bus our pedestrian crosswalk accident attorneys can help you pursue a claim against the driver, the owner of the vehicle, or even the business or municipality that employed the driver. The injuries sustained from pedestrian hit-and-run and knock-down accidents can be extremely severe (a human being is no match for a truck weighing several tons) and you are entitled to compensation for your pain, suffering and medical bills.
Our personal injury and wrongful death attorneys assist accident victims, and family members of fatal accident victims, throughout all of Massachusetts including but not limited to Plymouth County, Brockton, Plymouth, Bridgewater, Marshfield, Hingham, Duxbury, Wareham, Abington, Rockland, Whitman, Hanson, Holbrook, Middleborough; Norfolk County including Quincy, Stoughton, Dedham, Weymouth, Braintree, Avon, Holbrook, Randolph, Canton, Sharon, Brookline, Franklin; Bristol County including New Bedford, Fall River, Taunton, Attleboro, Westport, Dartmouth, Mansfield, Easton, Raynham, Lakeville, Norton; Cape Cod, Hyannis, Falmouth, Barnstable and the Greater Boston area including Cambridge, Somerville, Medford, Everett, Lawrence, Lynn, Revere, Dorchester, Roxbury.