A recent accident in Los Angeles has raised awareness about the dangers of car accidents for pedestrians, and the potential liability of the driver for any injuries sustained by onlookers and passersby. In New Jersey, where boardwalks and scenic walkways are commonly used paths for tourists and residents alike, car accidents that injure pedestrians are often grounds for lawsuits, New Jersey personal injury attorneys say.
Last month, a driver crashed into a crowd of people at the Venice Beach boardwalk in Southern California, and his Dodge Avenger smashed several vendors’ carts and mannequins, and mowed down pedestrians on the walkway. A dozen people sustained serious injuries in the crash, and ten were taken to a nearby hospital. One victim died a few hours after the incident. Authorities have interviewed suspects, but have not yet caught the man. However, witnesses said that he appeared to be in control of his vehicle the whole time, and did not seem to swerve or drive up onto the walkway by accident.
About 1,000 pedestrians are killed in traffic accidents each year in the United States, and thousands more suffer injuries, sometimes in crippling or debilitating ways. Personal injury attorneys in New Jersey say that these accidents are often caused by driver error. Poor weather or road conditions, drunk or distracted driving, poorly marked crosswalks, traffic lights out of order—all these circumstances can lead to a tragic collision between walkers and drivers out on the road.
Pedestrians injured in a car crash are often left with mounting medical bills, insurance claims, and sometimes even psychological traumas that require counseling and therapy. Personal injury lawsuits can help injured persons gain compensation for their monetary bills, and restitution for their other losses such as, a loss of earning potential while injured, a major change in lifestyle, or a decrease in mental capacity.
In an accident where a pedestrian is hit with a car, the party at fault is usually determined by the law of negligence. The person involved who fails to exercise the reasonable standard of care is considered negligent. The negligent party could be the driver who did not notice the crosswalk signs, or was fiddling with the radio and swerved his car, or the jaywalker crossing several lines of traffic, or the runner who was not wearing reflective gear. Anyone failing to ensure safe conditions can be held responsible for the accident.
In New Jersey, courts use the modified comparative fault rule to determine which party is responsible, and to what extent. Under the modified fault laws, each party can receive a percentage of the fault, but if the court decides that the plaintiff is at fault, to a certain degree, he or she cannot claim any restitution from the defendant. In most cases, the plaintiff must be assigned 50% or more of the responsibility for this law to take effect.
Car accidents can gravely injure pedestrians and bystanders on boardwalks and other public walkways. The personal injury attorneys at Helmer, Conley, and Kasselman, P.A., offer legal advice and representation to any pedestrians who have suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a collision with a vehicle.