Walking along a sidewalk or path near a road is something we all do at some point. Pedestrians face significant risks of injury whenever they are near vehicles traveling nearby. In just a few minutes of walking down the road, you can pass dozens, if not hundreds of cars depending on the time of day and traffic. While many drivers may proceed with caution when pedestrians are around, others are likely oblivious or indifferent. When a driver acts negligently behind the wheel, anyone on the road is at risk. Still, pedestrians are particularly vulnerable and can face severe or deadly consequences if hit by a vehicle. Learn more about pedestrian safety, concerns, and dangers in Newark from our experienced pedestrian accident lawyers below.
The Frequency of Pedestrian Traffic Incidents in Newark
You may find it surprising to learn that the state ranks eighth in the country for pedestrian fatalities. No state wants that ranking, because it indicates that the risk to pedestrians in Newark is worse than in most other places. Reports show that over six months in New Jersey, 80 pedestrians will die in traffic-related accidents. Thousands more will suffer injuries at the hands of a motorist in the state, ranging from minor injuries to permanent disabilities.
The Most Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
While weather, road conditions, and traffic signs can play a part in an accident, the driving force behind a pedestrian accident is often the negligent actions of a driver.
Driver distractions pose a danger to pedestrians on the road. For example, suppose a driver is not looking ahead or is preoccupied with other things. They may allow their vehicle to drift onto a sidewalk or fail to identify any pedestrians up ahead at an intersection or crosswalk.
Drinking and/or drug use can significantly impact a driver’s ability to focus, maneuver their vehicle, maintain proper distancing and react quickly. Pedestrians in the vicinity of a driver under the influence are at risk of injury and death.
Drivers that are careless such as switching lanes without checking for space, weaving in and out of traffic, making sudden stops, or tailgating other drivers aggressively, have a higher chance of causing an accident when they encounter pedestrians on the road. Reckless drivers can cause chaos affecting other motorists and people walking alongside or crossing a street.
One of the biggest dangers facing pedestrians is cars moving too fast. Speeding drivers take longer to stop and must react more quickly than drivers following the speed limit. As a result, pedestrians may not have the time to respond when a speeding driver is barreling toward them in a crosswalk or intersection.
Failure to Follow Traffic Signs
It can feel as though some drivers take yield to pedestrian signs and other pedestrian crossing signals as mere suggestions rather than the law. For example, how often have you found yourself at a crosswalk waiting for cars to stop, only to watch them blow by you? Pedestrians rely on these safe corridors to travel safely, but when drivers do not heed the warnings and the law, then accidents can occur.
What Injuries Are Likely When a Vehicle Strikes a Pedestrian?
It is no surprise that pedestrians are often victims of fatal injuries when in an accident with a motor vehicle. The disparity in weight and force between the human body and a car is devastating, and surviving a direct impact unscathed is near impossible. Those victims who can survive a pedestrian crash are likely left facing painful injuries that can require intensive medical treatment and lengthy rehabilitation.
In addition, the seriousness of pedestrian accident injuries can cause short-term problems and lifelong conditions and complications that a victim must deal with and manage as they move forward.
Common pedestrian accident injuries include:
- Injuries to the lower half of the body – The most common area of damage on a pedestrian is to the legs and lower part of the torso. Beyond broken bones, there is a high risk of severe ligament, tendon, and muscle injuries.
- Broken bones – The legs, hands, wrists, and ribs are all at risk of a fracture when a vehicle hits a pedestrian. While some injuries may occur because of the direct impact, broken bones can also happen when an individual tries to break their fall or gets thrown into an object or pavement.
- Traumatic brain injuries – Trauma to the head in a pedestrian accident has the highest mortality rate of all other injuries. A pedestrian thrown into the windshield or who hit the pavement with their head after a car slammed into them could suffer life-threatening injuries.
- Neck and spinal injuries – For the same reasons that neck injuries can occur to a pedestrian, spinal cord injuries are also common. Some pedestrian victims can suffer fatal spinal injuries because of the impact of a vehicle or survive with paralysis.
- Road rash – Pedestrians are at a high risk of sustaining a road rash injury in a collision with a vehicle. Since pedestrians have no protection as they travel along a road, if an impact throws them into the street or sidewalk with significant force, they are likely to suffer road rash, particularly in exposed body areas.
The Rights of Pedestrians
If you sustain injuries in an accident caused by a motor vehicle due to negligence, you have the right to seek compensation under the law. For example, a pedestrian of any age that suffers harm because of the negligent actions of another motorist is eligible to pursue recovery of their losses. Either through an insurance claim if insurance coverage is available or against the parties personally through a lawsuit. The laws of negligence serve as the basis for most pedestrian accident cases.
Drivers must always uphold a duty of care to those around them when operating their vehicles. Any failure to maintain that duty of care that results in injury or damages to another person gives rise to legal responsibility for the losses that occur.
When Can You Sue After a Pedestrian Accident?
A lawsuit for a pedestrian accident is a possible option when there is evidence of another party’s negligence leading to the accident. However, an attorney can try to resolve your case in the insurance claims process in many cases. If your lawyer can, they will do what is in their power to fight for the compensation you deserve through a pedestrian accident settlement.
If your lawyer cannot reach a settlement that satisfies you and accounts for a significant portion of your losses, then you may have the option to move forward with the case through a trial in the court.
Should You Get an Attorney if You Suffer Injuries as a Pedestrian in Newark?
Do not doubt the benefit of obtaining a lawyer for your pedestrian accident case. As a pedestrian, your option for seeking compensation for your losses is likely to fight the driver’s insurance company that hit you. It would help if you were in the best possible position to take on this fight from the outset of your case.
Trying to resolve or negotiate the matter on your own can hurt you by causing delays or insurmountable challenges in your case. Contact a lawyer as soon as possible following an accident.
The Role of a Newark Pedestrian Attorney
Pedestrian accident attorneys want to help their clients. They want to help you seek the compensation you need for your losses after an accident that is not your fault. A lawyer understands the challenges that many injured pedestrians will face after a traffic accident. From serious injuries, your inability to work, and interruptions to your day-to-day life and relationships, your attorney wants to help you in any way they can to seek compensation for these invasive losses.
How Will an Attorney Help You With a Pedestrian Accident Case?
A lawyer can take on various roles throughout the process of a pedestrian accident insurance claim and a potential lawsuit. The attorney has a mountain of responsibilities they must address to ensure the outcome of your case is as successful as possible.
Determining Who Is Likely Responsible
You must determine the party at fault in your pedestrian accident. You may think you know who it is, but you might miss other parties that might be liable to you if you are not aware of a legal relationship or other circumstances.
Once you hire an attorney to represent you in your case, you will bring them everything you have related to the matter. Your lawyer will scour all of the evidence provided and investigate if other evidence is available to support your case. Your lawyer might obtain video footage, records, or other information that you may not easily access.
Taking the Burden off of You
Thinking of all of the details and parts of a pedestrian-related insurance claim or a possible lawsuit is overwhelming. You have challenges to overcome and unexpected interruptions in your life because of the accident that you must now manage. Hiring a lawyer takes an enormous burden off your shoulders as the victim. You can focus on recovery and let your pedestrian accident attorney deal with your case’s legal aspects and communications.
Calculating Your Maximum Losses
The insurance company will calculate your damages at the minimum. On the other hand, your attorney will calculate the maximum losses you sustained. This may help them negotiate a better settlement on your behalf. Damages are complex and tedious to get right. Your attorney will meticulously go through your impacts and expenses to ensure the insurance company does not overlook or ignore your losses.
Negotiating a Settlement That Works for You
Ultimately, your lawyer will use all of the information gathered, their experience, and their knowledge to negotiate a settlement offer that considers your best interests. Most cases will resolve with a successful negotiation. However, if a negotiation does not result in a fair settlement, your attorney can continue to fight for you through the court.
How Can You Hire a Newark Pedestrian Accident Attorney?
Often, victims of pedestrian accidents may be uncertain about how to go about hiring an attorney. It can feel like an intimidating process if you have never required legal representation. In actuality, attorneys will try to make you comfortable, answer your questions, and explain your rights and what you can expect as your case moves forward.
Free case consultations offer a unique opportunity for you and the attorney to get to know one another, understand the facts of the case, and determine the best path forward. You interview the attorney, and the attorney interviews you. This is your chance to ask questions if you are unsure. Should you choose them to represent you, your questions may be about your actual case or the attorneys’ policies and protocols in representing their clients.
Taking the time to prepare and ask questions before hiring your lawyer can help you know what to expect and avoid misunderstandings later on.