New Jersey Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you love suffered severe injuries or and need an experienced New Jersey pedestrian accident attorney, please Contact Jacoby & Meyers, LLP today.
Pedestrian accidents occur in New Jersey far more frequently than other states. In fact, pedestrian safety is such a problem in the Garden State, state government has implemented a Street Smart program, coordinated by the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA), to educate the public about pedestrian safety.
According to the NJTPA, 177 pedestrians lost their lives in New Jersey car accidents in just one year. This doesn’t include the hundreds of pedestrians who were fortunate enough to live after a motor vehicle struck them.
Pedestrian accidents rank among the most severe, and most likely fatal, of all types of traffic crashes.
Pedestrians don’t have the protection that those in cars, trucks, and buses have, so they risk severe, catastrophic, and fatal injuries each time they go for a walk or run. Jaywalkers can cause a pedestrian accident, but the majority of pedestrian injuries and deaths result from careless or reckless drivers who do not yield the right-of-way to pedestrians.
If you, your child, or another loved one suffered injuries while walking or running on New Jersey’s roads and streets, New Jersey law likely entitles you to take legal action against anyone whose actions caused your injuries.
Contact an experienced New Jersey personal injury lawyer at one of Jacoby & Meyers, LLP’s New Jersey offices in Edison or Newark to discuss the events that led to your injuries, to evaluate your potential rights to file a personal injury lawsuit, and to learn about the best path forward for your individual circumstances.
Jacoby & Meyers, LLP’s Results in Pedestrian Accident Cases
The skilled legal team at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, has spent the last four decades representing clients who suffered injuries because of someone else’s careless, reckless, or intentionally harmful actions. We frequently represent Garden State residents and visitors injured in pedestrian accidents. Our firm has long experience in the negotiation, settlement, and litigation of personal injury claims. We commit ourselves to professional excellence, client advocacy, and seeking justice for accident victims.
Jacoby & Meyers, LLP’s hard work and dedication to its clients’ interests have led to the recovery of tens of millions of dollars in damages from settlements and verdicts over our many years of practice. Some recent examples of results in pedestrian accident claims include:
- $1,100,000 settlement for a 72-year-old client who suffered injuries when a vehicle struck her in a crosswalk
- $800,000 settlement for a client who was injured by a pedestrian knockdown in a crosswalk
- $525,000 settlement for a client who suffered injuries after a distracted pizza delivery driver struck him
- $400,000 settlement for a 32-year-old client who suffered injuries after a vehicle struck him in a crosswalk
These results only serve as examples and do not guarantee an outcome for your pedestrian accident case. Every New Jersey pedestrian accident has distinctive underlying facts and circumstances that can increase or decrease the value of a claim. The experienced pedestrian accident injury lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP have the resources and know-how to uncover those facts and build the strongest possible case for each of their clients. Contact us today to discuss the circumstances that led to your New Jersey pedestrian accident injury.
Why Do Pedestrian Accidents Occur?
Although someone might intentionally run down a person on foot, that is not the most typical cause of pedestrian accidents. The vast majority of pedestrian accidents are not intentional, but rather, result from poor decisions and careless actions by motorists and others. Some of the most common scenarios we have confronted as lawyers for victims of New Jersey pedestrian accidents include:
Drunk or Drugged Driving
People who drink or use drugs before driving put pedestrians at risk for catastrophic injury. Alcohol consumption and drug use impair driving ability in a variety of ways. Drunk and drugged drivers cannot process information clearly or rapidly, they have slowed reaction times, they experience impaired vision and muscle control, and they engage in risky behaviors like speeding. This means that even if an impaired driver sees a pedestrian, he or she might not stop in time to avoid striking the person. Some assume that prescription drugs cannot cause impairments that qualify as drugged driving, but this is a mistake. Drivers who take prescription drugs that have impairing side-effects, or which interact dangerously with alcohol or other medications, put pedestrians at just as much risk as drivers who take illegal drugs or who consume alcohol.
Failure to Yield to Pedestrians
Like drivers in other states, New Jersey drivers have an elevated duty of care towards pedestrians, and perhaps no duty is more important than the obligation to yield the right of way to a pedestrian in the roadway. This duty applies universally in every imaginable driving scenario. Even when someone crosses a road outside of a crosswalk, drivers still must yield. No driver ever has the right to ignore a pedestrian in the roadway or to drive in a manner that will predictably lead to a collision with a pedestrian.
Driving while distracted is one of the most persistent culprits for unintentional pedestrian knockdowns. Cell phone use has increased distracted driving accidents, but hopefully, these accidents will now that New Jersey lawmakers have joined ranks with other states and outlawed texting and driving.
Cell phones, however, are not the only distraction that can lead to dangerous and deadly pedestrian accidents. The New Jersey Office of the Attorney General reports that more than 800,000 traffic accidents across the state occurred because of distracted driving ina recent five-year period.
Other distractions that impact New Jersey drivers include:
- Adjusting features on a vehicle such as the radio, A/C, heat, seats, moonroof, or GPS
- Eating and/or drinking while driving
- Reaching for dropped items
- Tending to occupants in the backseat, especially small children
- Arguing or fighting with occupants
- Personal grooming such as combing hair and applying makeup
- Focusing on an event outside of the vehicle
In other words, New Jerseyans drive distracted whenever they engage in any activity that takes their hands away from the wheel, their minds away from driving, or their eyes away from the road ahead. So, put the phone down, eat your drive-thru meal while parked in a lot somewhere, and keep your eyes, head, and torso facing straight ahead when you sit behind the wheel.
Driving while excessively tired (usually defined as driving after being awake for more than 18-hours, or driving on less than 7-8 hours sleep), is just as dangerous as driving drunk or high. A Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) study found that drivers who go 18 hours without sleep experience the same level of impairment as a driver who has a 0.08 blood or breath alcohol level after drinking. Some drivers are more at risk for drowsy driving because of their careers. For example, shift workers and truck drivers who often drive at odd hours and have demanding schedules risk falling asleep at the wheel and potentially causing a pedestrian accident. Sleep disorders, poor health, and side effects of some medications can also cause driver fatigue. If you ever find yourself nodding off or yawning more than once behind the wheel, pull off and get some rest.
A variety of driver behaviors can fall under the umbrella of reckless driving, but they all share the same basic characteristic: a disregard for traffic laws and for the safety of pedestrians and others on the road. Reckless drivers speed when weather or road conditions dictate they should slow down. They weave in and out of traffic. They change lanes and turn without signaling first. They perform rolling stops (or do not stop at all) at intersections. They let their emotions get the best of them behind the wheel. Unfortunately, pedestrians seldom see a reckless driver coming, and have little opportunity to get out of the way.
Poor Street Maintenance
New Jersey’s cities and counties have a special duty to the public to maintain roads in a safe condition for drivers and pedestrians. That duty includes fixing hazards that could cause a pedestrian to trip and fall from a sidewalk into a lane of traffic. It also includes designing and maintaining intersections to give drivers and pedestrians adequate sight lines, and to direct and control a safe flow of vehicle and foot traffic. Broken stop lights or crosswalk signals, overgrown vegetation that hides traffic signs, and crosswalks located at blind curves or just over the crest of a hill can all put pedestrians at serious risk of a deadly collision.
New Jersey Pedestrian Accident Frequently Asked Questions FAQs
A 46-year-old woman was seriously injured recently when she was hit by a Haddonfield Borough fire truck as she attempted to cross Kings Highway. The truck was turning onto Kings Highway from Haddon Avenue when the accident occurred. The firefighters were not responding to an emergency at the time, but they were detailed to a community service assignment of recognizing the Haddonfield Memorial High School boys’ swim team for its state championship win. However, with the accident, their priority shifted to rendering aid to the injured woman, who was transported to Cooper University Hospital’s trauma center.
New Jersey sees more pedestrian accidents than the national average, and this type of accident accounts for around a quarter of all traffic-related fatalities in the state. If you were injured as a pedestrian, you likely have questions as to how to pay for your medical expenses and hold the driver responsible for your injuries. Here are answers to the most frequently asked pedestrian accident questions that we receive from clients and potential clients. As always, these answers apply generally to this type of case. For answers regarding the details of your own specific case, ask an experienced pedestrian accident attorney.
Are there specific traffic laws in New Jersey that pedestrians must obey?
Yes. New Jersey provides both laws and guidance aimed at keeping pedestrians safe. Some of the laws that New Jersey pedestrians must follow include:
- Yielding the right-of-way to motor vehicles when crossing the road in areas other than at a crosswalk intersection.
- Walk facing traffic and obey all traffic laws, particularly Walk/Don’t Walk instructions at crosswalks.
Additional guidance provided to pedestrians includes:
- Always cross at corners, within marked crosswalks, whenever possible.
- Look left, right, then left again, and always be on the lookout for vehicles that are turning.
- Remain alert; don’t assume that vehicles are going to stop for you.
- Be visible. Wear reflective clothing, particularly at night, when most pedestrian accidents occur.
- Stay sober. Walking while impaired can impact your ability to make good decisions and increases your chances of being struck.
- Never cross the road from in between parked cars.
- Walk on the sidewalk if one is available. If there is no sidewalk, walk as far on the left of the roadway as possible.
- If possible, make eye contact with nearby drivers before crossing. This provides you with the peace of mind that they have seen you crossing.
- Avoid walking in bad weather, such as snow or ice, as this may reduce a driver’s ability to see you and may impact his or her ability to stop.
What are the pedestrian laws for motorists in New Jersey?
The laws for motorists in regards to pedestrians include:
- Stopping for pedestrians who are in the crosswalk
- Not attempting to pass or overtake a vehicle that has stopped at a crosswalk for pedestrians
- Obeying speed limits and traffic signals
Motorists are also encouraged to:
- Keep windshields clean to ensure that they can see pedestrians and other roadway hazards.
- Use extra caution when turning right on red, as pedestrians crossing the road may have a green light.
- Do not block or park in crosswalks, as this obstructs the view of other drivers passing through the crosswalk.
If a car hits a pedestrian, is it always the driver’s fault?
Not always. Drivers have an increased duty of care when it comes to pedestrians, particularly those that are children and are, therefore, expected to do unexpected things. Drivers should use extra caution in areas where pedestrians are often found, realizing that there is a chance of a pedestrian failing to yield the right-of-way and stepping into the travel lane. That said, a pedestrian darting into traffic isn’t always something that a motorist can avoid, and the law generally recognizes that.
Pedestrians are sometimes found at fault for accidents involving motor vehicles because:
- Failure to yield the right-of-way to motorists when crossing outside of an intersection
- Failure to obey walk/don’t walk signals
- Darting out into traffic from in between cars or without looking both ways first
Can I sue the driver who hit me?
Whether or not you can sue depends on the facts of your case. If you can establish that the driver is liable for your accident, you should seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. You can establish liability by showing the following:
- The driver owed you a duty of care.
- The driver breached this duty of care. Note: this breach refers to the reckless or careless behavior that caused the accident, such as speeding, or failing to yield the right-of-way.
- The breach caused an accident that led to your injuries and resulting expenses.
My child was hit by a car. Will my PIP policy pay for her medical expenses?
Generally, yes. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage is usually granted to the insured and family members who are named on the insurance policy. Coverage is usually extended to other types of accidents, including accidents that occur when you’re in someone else’s vehicle, pedestrian and bicycle accidents, and accidents that occur while you’re using a rideshare service.
Are children the most common victims of pedestrian accidents?
No. While pedestrian accidents account for around 20 percent of all traffic-related fatalities of children under the age of 14, the most common age for someone to be hit by a car is 50 to 59 years old, and the median age for all pedestrian accident fatalities is 47. This age has been trending upwards in recent years, as more older Americans use walking not only as a form of transportation but for exercise as well.
Is it likely that my pedestrian accident case will settle before going to trial?
Yes. The vast majority of personal injury cases settle before going to trial, and you may even receive settlement offers while the trial is in progress. That said, an experienced attorney is always prepared for the case to go to trial, and you should be too.
I was hit by a driver who was backing out of their own driveway. Who is liable for the accident?
Driveways are common places for vehicles that are backing up to strike pedestrians. While the details of every case are unique, generally, the driver will be liable for this type of accident, as drivers are required to look in their mirrors and check their blind spots to ensure that the path is clear before backing up. Both drivers and pedestrians should use caution in this type of scenario.
The driver who hit me left the scene. What are my options?
When the driver flees the scene of a pedestrian accident, the case becomes more complex for both law enforcement and the victim of the accident. If you or a witness could get at least a partial description of the car or license plate, this is helpful for law enforcement officials working on tracking the driver down. Also important is any video footage from cameras at nearby businesses.
If the driver cannot be located, your PIP policy will cover the cost of your medical treatment and lost income up to the limit of the policy. Your uninsured/underinsured motorist policy may also be accessed to cover expenses. Your attorney will study your case carefully to determine any other potential sources of liability in your case that may have insurance resources that can be accessed to compensate you.
What damages are recoverable in a pedestrian accident case?
Recoverable damages in pedestrian accident cases include:
- Medical expenses, including emergency treatment at the scene or in the emergency room, transport to the hospital, diagnostic testing, surgical services, prescription medication, hospitalization, physical therapy and rehabilitation, modifications to the home that become necessary to accommodate disabilities, medical equipment, and prostheses.
- Lost income due to being too injured to work or required to miss work to attend injury-related medical appointments.
- Loss of future earning capacity if your injuries result in permanent disability and if you can no longer work at the same position that you held before the accident.
- Mental or physical pain and suffering.
I was walking at night and while alcohol-impaired when my accident occurred. Can I still sue the driver?
It depends on the other details of the case, including the behavior of the driver. If you are more than 50 percent responsible for your accident, you cannot pursue compensation from other liable parties through a personal injury lawsuit. However, your accident attorney will carefully consider all of the details and potentially identify other sources of liability that may have had as much or more responsibility for the accident as you did.
How is the value of my pedestrian accident case determined?
Every case has a value—that is, a total amount of compensation that is considered fair based on the expenses incurred and the impacts that the injured person experiences in his or her life as a result of the injuries.
Some of the factors that are considered when determining the value of a pedestrian accident case include:
- The total amount of medical bills
- The amount of lost income and your ability to return to work after the accident.
- Your prognosis for making a full recovery
- The impact the injuries have on your daily life
- The insurances that are available to cover the expenses
- The severity of the injury, as well as the length and scope of treatment
- The percentage of liability that you bear for the accident in relationship with the liability owed by the driver or others
- Whether the claim involves the liability of a governmental agency
Who else besides the driver might be liable for my accident?
In any type of accident, there may be more than one source of liability. For pedestrian accidents, some additional sources of liability may include:
- The governmental agency tasked with maintaining streets, designating crosswalks, and ensuring that travelers of all sites can pass through intersections with a clear and unobstructed view.
- Other drivers, who may have caused an accident by parking in or blocking a crosswalk. Other drivers may also be liable if they’re tailgating another vehicle that stops for the crosswalk. The following car may not stop in time and may rear-end the lead vehicle, causing it to travel into the crosswalk.
- The pedestrian, for failing to yield the right-of-way to motorists when crossing the road outside of an intersection. 70 percent of pedestrian accidents occur outside of the intersection.
How long will a settlement take in my case?
There is no average length of time for personal injury cases. Some cases are settled within a few months, while others can take years. If the liable party’s insurance company fails to offer a fair settlement, the case may go to trial. In any personal injury case, patience is often key. Those who are willing to wait for a fair settlement are most often the ones who receive the most compensation. Your attorney will keep you apprised of the progress of your case, and you can help keep the case moving by providing him or her with as many details and documents as possible and by promptly responding to his or her requests for more information.
Do I need an attorney for my pedestrian accident?
Yes. Because pedestrian accidents are often complex, you should always consult an attorney if you or your loved one are injured in this type of accident. If your case involves a child, complexities such as a hit-and-run or multiple sources of liability, or injuries severe enough to require medical transport and hospitalization, the advice and guidance you receive from an experienced New Jersey pedestrian accident lawyer can prove invaluable assistance.
Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, has experience with pedestrian accidents and understands the personal injury laws in New Jersey. Let us explore your options for recovering damages in your case. We are standing by ready to help.
Recovering Damages After a New Jersey Pedestrian Accident
New Jersey law entitles most pedestrian accident victims to take legal action against anyone whose poor decisions or careless actions caused them harm. In that legal action, victims may seek money damages to compensate them for the physical, emotional, and financial pain an accident caused.
Those damages frequently include:
- Medical expenses such as ambulance and emergency services, hospitalization, surgery, diagnostic imaging, followup care, prescription medication, and travel costs to and from the hospital/doctor
- Future medical treatment costs when a pedestrian accident causes injuries requiring months of recovery, additional surgery, or causes a permanent disability requiring ongoing treatment, sometimes in a long-term nursing care facility
- Rehabilitation costs including physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, behavior therapy, and any other specialists who can help an accident victim recover lost function and cope with any permanent injuries
- Cost of assistive devices including artificial limbs, wheelchairs, canes, and crutches
- Lost wages from missing work due to hospitalization, treatment, and recovery
- Future lost wages when a pedestrian accident leads to catastrophic injuries preventing a victim from returning to their job or seeking employment in the future
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium with a spouse
- Loss in quality of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Any other non-economic costs which might apply to a specific situation
- Punitive damages in cases involving intentional harm or gross negligence
Family members of a New Jersey pedestrian who dies in an accident may have the right to seek compensation for that tragic loss through a wrongful death lawsuit. An experienced New Jersey pedestrian accident injury attorney can explain your rights if you find yourself in that tragic situation.
Finally, our clients frequently ask how much a case arising from a pedestrian accident is worth. Our standard answer is that every New Jersey pedestrian accident injury case has its own unique facts and circumstances. There is no guarantee of recovering all (or any) of the damages bullet-pointed above in any particular case. The amount and type of damages a pedestrian accident victim (or grieving family member) might recover depends upon the unique circumstances of the specific incident involved. Speak with an experienced New Jersey pedestrian accident injury attorney to begin exploring the details of your accident and injuries.
Contact an Experienced New Jersey Pedestrian Accident Attorney Today
The skilled legal team at Jacoby & Meyers, LLC understands the gravity of coping with severe injuries from a pedestrian accident. We commit our careers to helping victims of preventable injuries recover the compensation they deserve during some of the most challenging times of their lives.
“I highly recommend hiring Jacoby & Meyers should you ever find yourself injured in an accident, and an individual or company needs to be held accountable for their negligence.” -C.J.
If you or someone you love suffered severe injuries or died as a result of a New Jersey pedestrian accident, you should not have to shoulder the physical, emotional, and financial burden of your losses on your own. Contact Jacoby & Meyers, LLP today, call us at (877) 505-2368, or start a live, online chat for a free case evaluation with one of our experienced New Jersey pedestrian accident attorneys.
If you choose us to represent you in your pedestrian accident claim, you do not need to worry about paying a fee out of pocket to retain us. We handle personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, deducting our attorney fees from any compensation we secure for you.