What Are My Legal Rights as a Pedestrian if I Am Struck by a Car?
Accidents involving pedestrians often result in serious, sometimes deadly, injuries. Many drivers try to shift blame to the pedestrian, arguing that the pedestrian darted in front of the vehicle or was not paying attention while walking. However, if you were hit by a car, an experienced personal injury attorney can show you were not at fault for your injuries and that you are entitled to compensation.
Staying safe as a pedestrian
As you use sidewalks, crosswalks, and other areas that are shared or in close proximity to motor vehicles, there are some safety tips you should keep in mind.
First, you should always use areas that are designated for pedestrians, such as crosswalks or sidewalks. If there are no sidewalks, walk on the left side of the road and face traffic. Only cross the street at intersections.
Make sure that you always follow traffic signals when you are crossing the street. Disregarding traffic signals could be a fatal mistake.
It is especially important to watch out for cars coming out of driveways and for vehicles making a right turn at a red light. When possible, make eye contact with the driver so you are sure the driver sees you.
If you must walk around after dark, wear clothing that is brightly colored or reflective to make sure you are visible to other drivers.
The safety tips above are important to keep in mind, because in accident claims many drivers attempt to argue that the pedestrian was at fault for his or her injuries.
Most New Jersey residents select the “Limited Right to Sue” option in their auto insurance policies. This applies even if you are injured as a pedestrian. Under the “Limited Right to Sue” option you may be required to meet one of the following types of injuries to bring a claim:
Broken bones or displaced fractures
- Loss of a limb
- Permanent injuries
- Serious scarring or disfigurement
- Loss of a fetus
New Jersey also follows a comparative negligence liability model, which means that an accident victim’s own negligence is considered in a personal injury claim. The pedestrian’s own negligence reduces any award in a proportionate amount.
For example, consider an example in which a driver was speeding and hit a pedestrian. The pedestrian crossed the street in the middle of the block, instead of using the designated crosswalk. The pedestrian is found to be 40 percent responsible for the accident. Therefore, if the pedestrian was entitled to $100,000 in damages, the award would be reduced by $40,000.
However, pedestrians generally have the right to compensation if they are struck by a driver. In some cases, the pedestrian may also have the right to file a claim against the city, county, or state if the roads were not safe for pedestrians, which contributed to the accident.
If you were a pedestrian hit by a car, contact Leonard Legal Group today for a free consultation
The Morristown, New Jersey personal injury attorneys at Leonard Legal Group know the defenses reckless drivers attempt to use and are able to prove that you were not at fault for your injuries. To schedule a free consultation with our firm, call 973-984-1414 or contact us online. We offer more than two decades of experience and are available to help 24/7.