Were You Injured in an Accident as a Pedestrian?
- Dan T. Matrafajlo
- Mon May 2018
Any kind of accident can be terrifying. However, when it’s you as a pedestrian versus a motor vehicle, there’s a good chance you’ll suffer bad injuries. There’s no competition when it comes to the size and power of a car that hits you.
Unfortunately, an auto-pedestrian accident can happen to anyone. Now that the weather is almost warmer, you decide to take more outdoor walks in your local neighborhood. One nice afternoon as you are enjoying your walk, you come to a marked crosswalk on a busy street. Perhaps you’re right in downtown Elizabeth and on Broad Street.
The “walk” signal—the image of a walking person in white—has been activated to indicate that it is safe for you to cross the street. While walking within the lines of the crosswalk, you see a car turning towards you that does not slow down. You scramble to get out of the way of the moving vehicle but get hit in the thigh by the car’s front end. You are a victim of a pedestrian-vehicle accident.
Your physical injuries include a broken leg and bruises. You will need medical treatment and rehabilitation and will likely miss work. You also suffer from emotional trauma.
Fortunately, the crash was not fatal, and you didn’t sustain life-threatening or life-changing injuries. In fact, you somewhat count your blessings. You could have taken a severe blow to the head from hitting the ground and sustained a traumatic brain injury. Or you could have suffered more broken bones, lacerations, internal bleeding, organ damage, or a spinal cord injury. You might have been killed.
Pedestrian Accident Statistics, New Jersey Law
Pedestrian-vehicle accidents can often be the result of a negligent or careless driver. For example, the driver who hit you may have been talking or texting on the phone. The motor vehicle operator might have had a few too many at the local bar. Or, it might just be a case of someone not paying attention.
As alarming as it sounds, pedestrian accidents have become one of the most common fatalities on the road. In 2017, national reports indicate that almost 6,000 pedestrians lost their lives when they were struck by a motor vehicle. Last year, pedestrian fatalities in New Jersey increased to 180, the highest number in more than 20 years.
In 2015, a pedestrian was injured every seven minutes in a traffic accident, and one was killed every two hours, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The NHTSA defines a pedestrian as a “person on foot, walking, running, jogging, hiking, sitting or lying down who is involved in a motor vehicle traffic crash.”
New Jersey pedestrians are expected to use crosswalks under N.J.S.A 39:4-33 and “move, whenever practicable, upon the right half of crosswalks.”
Under N.J.S.A 39:4-36 , New Jersey drivers are required to stop for pedestrians at both marked crosswalks and at unmarked crosswalks at intersections. This is critical information for anyone injured by a motor vehicle while a pedestrian.
While the chances of getting hit by a car crossing the road might be greater in busy Elizabeth or Newark than in a quiet rural part of the state, the law nevertheless is clear that the pedestrian has the right of way.
Victims of pedestrian accidents can suffer severe or fatal injuries. If you or someone you love is the victim of a pedestrian accident, you have the legal right to claim damages. You may be able to recover medical expenses, lost wages, and compensation for pain and suffering and emotional injuries. You need an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer to help you. Call the Law Offices of Beninato & Matrafaljo to set up an appointment. We look forward to hearing from you.