Newark Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
As more walkers take to Newark streets, safety remains a critical issue. Pedestrians may not be in a car, but they must still share the road (and sidewalk) with speeding, distracted, drowsy, and impaired drivers. Walking is a healthier alternative to driving. Pedestrians venture out into their communities; they tour historic neighborhoods and walk to work or school. It not only makes people healthier, it also reduces gas consumption. The reduction in fossil fuel use saves personal transportation costs and helps improve air quality.
However, to gain these benefits, many walkers pay an unfortunate price.
Pedestrians are vulnerable to drivers who fail to yield the right of way or simply lose control. When a vehicle collides with a pedestrian or a person using a mobility device, the vulnerable person is usually rushed to the emergency room.
A human body can’t withstand the impact of a 4,000-pound car or a commercial truck that weighs more than 10,000 pounds. The chances are strong that accident victims will deal with serious, catastrophic, or fatal injuries. The vehicle driver often drives away while the injured pedestrian begins the process of managing life-altering circumstances.
If you’re in that situation, Jacoby & Meyers, LLP’s personal injury lawyers can help you.
We Believe That Injured Pedestrians Deserve Compensation
At Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, we believe that negligent drivers should pay when they injure a pedestrian. Since 1972, we’ve provided the quality legal representation that our injured clients deserve. In resolving complex pedestrian cases, our personal injury attorneys have relied on our legal expertise and practical knowledge of state and local statutes. We’ve understood that when a driver strikes a pedestrian, he or she sometimes shares liability with a vehicle owner, a business, a corporation, or an organization. In our efforts to recover damages for our clients, we demand that all viable parties take responsibility for their actions.
Our attorneys have always been committed to working closely with our clients and their families. We understand that serious, catastrophic, or fatal injuries have the power to change everyone’s lives. Because our legal activities are critical to our clients’ futures, we maintain transparency in everything we do. We’ve established communication and answered questions. We have allowed our clients to have online access to their case files while we work to recover damages on their behalf.
Our Firm’s Results
At Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, we resolve cases through the process that best serves our injured clients. We aggressively negotiate settlements with cooperative insurance companies and defendants. In the past, our attorneys have worked out liability and damage issues through Alternative Dispute Resolution forums, such as mediation. In some cases, we understand that litigation is the right solution. In such situations, we prepare our clients’ cases for trial and confidently present our evidence in the courtroom.
Damages and liability issues vary with each injured person and each accident. We can’t guarantee a particular settlement, but we’ve always promised our clients to produce the best outcome possible. We share our case results to illustrate our commitment to positive outcomes.
- $5.7 million, bus/pedestrian wrongful death, jury verdict: A runaway Brooklyn school bus struck our client’s 8-year daughter and pinned her under its wheel. The bus barely avoided striking the injured girl’s brother. The accident occurred after an 8-year old boy entered the unsecured bus, released the brake, and jumped out as it began to move.
- $2.5 million, auto/pedestrian accident settlement: Our 68-year old client was crossing the street when a 78-year old driver struck him. He sustained leg, knee, and skull fractures, a traumatic brain injury, and memory loss.
- $3.5 million, vehicle accident settlement: Our client sustained a traumatic brain injury after a construction worker fell asleep at the wheel, crossed the median, and struck our client’s vehicle. The driver had just finished working back-to-back construction shifts.
- $2 million, pedestrian premises liability settlement: Our client fell over a piece of plywood that was improperly placed to level a pedestrian barricade. He sustained a dislocated knee, elbow injury, and internal complications. He underwent surgery, which included skin grafting.
Pedestrian Accidents in New Jersey
As more people choose walking as their preferred mode of transportation, pedestrian injuries and fatalities are rising across the country. As the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety explains, seniors, children, and non-English speakers are more vulnerable to injury than other pedestrians. Fortunately, after a rise in fatalities in New Jersey, pedestrian casualties have entered a downward trend.
The injury numbers are still tragic, however. The New Jersey State Police Department has documented 155 pedestrian fatalities in one recent year—only one fatal incident less than what was reported in the previous year’s statistics.
As with states across the country, New Jersey has identified pedestrian casualties as a problem. Each time pedestrians take a walk, they place themselves at risk. If a distracted, speeding, or drunk driver loses control, a pedestrian is often just a few feet away. The pedestrian usually bears the full weight of the impact, and the vehicle driver rarely sustains injuries. For the pedestrian, that usually means a trip to the emergency room while the driver walks away unharmed.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Association and the New Jersey State Police have documented some disheartening statistics.
- Nationally, 6,283 pedestrians died, a 3 percent increase over the previous year.
- NHTSA’s nationwide data shows that, on average, a pedestrian sustained fatal injuries in a vehicle crash every 88 minutes.
- During a three year period, the New Jersey State Police documented 477 pedestrian fatalities.
- Research by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association shows that pedestrian deaths increased nationally by 35 percent in a recent 10-year period.
- 26 percent of the pedestrian fatalities nationwide occurred between 6 a.m. and 8:59 p.m.
- Pedestrian fatality statistics show that 70 percent of the victims were male.
The Most Vulnerable Pedestrians
Seniors and children are the most vulnerable to pedestrian accidents. This shows up both nationally and in New Jersey statistics. The NHTSA’s “Traffic Safety Facts: Pedestrians“ shows that in 19 percent of accident-related fatalities involving children under 14, the child was a pedestrian. Senior pedestrians ages 55 to 79 had the highest fatality rates in New Jersey and nationwide.
Vulnerable Older Pedestrians
The NHTSA suggests that senior pedestrian vulnerability is due, in part, to age-related hearing and vision losses, as well as diminished reflexes and flexibility. Joint stiffness sometimes makes it difficult for a senior to turn his or her head and neck. These issues often prevent an older pedestrian from looking at nearby vehicles to determine if he or she is turning or backing up.
“Increased pedestrian mortality among the elderly,” a New Mexico medical study published at PubMed.gov, explains that injured senior pedestrians who died in the hospital had a “greater susceptibility” to metabolic, infectious, and surgical complications.
Vulnerable Child Pedestrians
When Safe Kids Worldwide assessed school zone safety, it observed 39,000 middle and high school pedestrians and 56,000 drivers while dropping off and picking up children. During its observations, it documented many safety issues. Only four out of 10 schools posted 20 mile per hour speed limits and three out of 10 schools had no marked crosswalks.
Observers found that school drop-off policies made a difference, but only if the schools enforced them. Unfortunately, drivers pulling into school pick-up zones were sometimes distracted by digital devices. Some parents double-parked to drop off children, while others dropped children off in the middle of crosswalks. Some child pedestrians were distracted as well, which made it even more important for adult drivers to exercise caution.
Child pedestrians are frequently injured when walking alone for the following reasons.
- Undeveloped sense of judgment
- Inability to appreciate danger
- Undeveloped peripheral vision
- A false belief that if they can see a car, the car can see them
- Inability to judge vehicle speed and stopping distance
Vulnerable Non-English Speaking Pedestrians
A Journal of Urban Health study (Exploring the Impacts of Safety Culture on Immigrants’ Vulnerability in Non-motorized Crashes) discusses why non-English speaking pedestrians have high accident rates. The authors of the study believe it is due to expectations based on “Safety Culture.” The report speculates that there is a “mismatch” between the safety culture in the immigrant’s home country and the United States. The research detected a pattern of “hypothesized safety.” Immigrant pedestrians expect different driving behaviors than they encounter here, and it’s causing high pedestrian accident rates.
Pedestrian Accident Injuries
When a vehicle strikes a pedestrian or a disabled person using a mobility device, the outcome is usually inevitable. The pedestrian sustains serious, catastrophic, or fatal injuries. If pedestrians live through a crash, they often deal with conditions such as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, or multiple conditions, all of which can affect everything pedestrians’ entire lives.
- Spinal cord trauma
- Full or partial paralysis
- Traumatic brain injury
- Traumatic amputations
- Internal damage
- Nerve damage
- Multiple limb fractures
- Skull fractures
- Multiple lacerations
- Disc and spine injuries
- Severe muscle sprains and strains
Who Is at Fault for a Pedestrian’s Injuries?
Drivers who strike pedestrians are responsible for the injuries that they cause. Liability is based on drivers’ negligent actions and the fact that a pedestrian is more vulnerable than a vehicle. New Jersey statutes also incorporate a driver’s responsibility. Under New Jersey law, drivers have a duty to stop to avoid striking a pedestrian within a marked crosswalk or at an unmarked intersection. Pedestrians also have a duty to exercise care for their own safety when crossing streets.
A driver must comply with the additional duty to exercise care for a pedestrian’s safety, even if the pedestrian is crossing the road at a point where there is no marked crosswalk. If one driver stops to allow a pedestrian to cross a street, any subsequent drivers pulling up behind the first driver must also wait for the pedestrian to cross.
Often, other entities share the driver’s liability. Consider the following:
- Private passenger vehicle accidents: If a driver is operating a vehicle owned by another person, the owner must comply with state financial responsibility laws and provide insurance to cover the damages. An owner is also liable for negligently entrusting a vehicle to a driver with a bad driving history. A manufacturer or service contractor shares the driver’s liability if a vehicle defect or negligent maintenance caused or contributed to an accident.
- Commercial vehicle accidents: When a commercial vehicle is involved in an accident with a pedestrian, the driver’s employer is often a responsible party. An employer has a separate liability issue if the employer hired a driver knowing that he or she had a bad driving history. A manufacturer or maintenance contractor is liable if a vehicle defect or defective maintenance contributed to the accident.
What Damages Does an Injured Person Recover?
Personal injury settlements usually incorporate compensatory damages and general damages. Courts also award punitive damages under specifically defined circumstances.
The compensatory damages portion of a settlement covers actual economic losses. If an injured person is still undergoing treatment when the legal representatives conclude the claim, the settlement or judgment also includes an amount projected to cover future economic losses. Compensatory damages often include:
- Current and future wage losses
- Current and future medical expenses
- Pharmaceutical costs
- Prosthetics and mobility devices
- Physical and psychological therapy
- Scar revision surgery
- Rehabilitation services
- Medical transportation costs
- Household services
- Funeral expenses
General damages pay an injured person for psychological, emotional, and lifestyle losses. Attorneys and courts evaluate these damages based on an injured client’s subjective concerns. General damages often include:
- Pain and suffering
- Anxiety and distress
- Diminished spousal and family relationships
- Inability to perform usual duties
- Loss of bodily functions
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Permanent disabilities
- Reduced life expectancy
New Jersey courts sometimes award punitive damages to punish a defendant. An injured plaintiff must show clear and convincing evidence that a responsible party acted out of malice and with a wanton and willful disregard of persons who foreseeably might be harmed. Courts rarely award punitive damages.
How Do Negligent Parties Defend Themselves?
Despite liability for a pedestrian’s injuries, drivers, their insurance companies, and self-insured companies often try to downplay or dispute liability and damages. Insurance companies sometimes rely on unfair negotiation tactics. When they negotiate, they often present inadequate offers to save dollars on paid claims and maintain low loss ratios.
Insurers and their defense attorneys sometimes use a plaintiff’s lawsuit as an element of their own negotiation strategy. Insurers understand that some plaintiff’s firms have limited resources and might not possess the means to present a well-documented case in court. Insurance companies understand that injured individuals will often settle their cases rather than spend the additional costs required to engage in discovery and trial.
Insurance company attorneys sometimes defend cases to the conclusion to try to pay less than an injured plaintiff demands. Insurance companies often plead traditional defenses with the idea of winning on liability or damage issues. Consider the following potential defenses:
- No negligence: Defendants present evidence to try and prove they weren’t negligent.
- No defect: A plaintiff must prove that a defect or defective workmanship contributed to an accident. If they fail, the manufacturer or maintenance contractor doesn’t pay a judgment.
- Damages: Defendants seek to reduce court judgments by disputing the plaintiff’s damages.
At Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, our personal injury attorneys have always countered creative defense strategies by preparing our cases for negotiation or trial. By the time we’ve sat down at the negotiation table or entered a courtroom, we will have assessed and evaluated our clients’ cases. Our firm has the resources to take our clients’ cases through discovery and trial. We’ve produced excellent outcomes for our clients, because we’ve always been prepared.
Call Our Newark Pedestrian Accident Lawyers Now
If a vehicle injured you or a family member while you were walking in Newark, you must take immediate action. At Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, we’ve recovered millions for our injured clients.