Representing Pedestrians All Over New Jersey
There were more than 4,280 pedestrians killed in car accidents in the U.S. in 2010, and another 70,000 were injured, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This adds up to one pedestrian death every two hours and a pedestrian injury every eight minutes. Pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely to be killed in a car accident than vehicle occupants.
Inattentive or impaired drivers are a major risk to other drivers on the road, but pedestrians are particularly vulnerable. Without the protection of airbags or the structure of a vehicle, pedestrians can suffer major injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to recover what you deserve.
Who Is Most At Risk for Pedestrian Injuries?
Various factors can affect the likelihood and severity of pedestrian injuries.
Older adults are most at risk for pedestrian deaths and injuries. Pedestrians 65 and older made up nearly 20 percent of all pedestrian deaths and 11 percent of all pedestrian injuries in 2010.
Children are also at a high risk for pedestrian accidents. Of all children between the ages of 5 and 9 killed in traffic crashes in 2010, approximately 20 percent were pedestrians. Without proper supervision by adults and careful attention from drivers, more children will continue to suffer tragic injuries or wrongful death due to car accidents.
Drivers and pedestrians under the influence of alcohol represent a major portion of pedestrian deaths. Nearly half of all crash-related pedestrian deaths involved an alcohol-impaired driver or pedestrian. Alcohol severely impairs a driver’s ability to make split-second decisions on the road, react to changing environments, and make maneuvers behind the wheel. Nearly 13,000 people are killed every year as a result of alcohol-related accidents, and hundreds of thousands more are injured.
Driving at higher speeds increases the likelihood of pedestrian injury, as well as the severity of the injury. The majority of pedestrian deaths take place at night, in urban areas, and at non-intersection locations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
What Injuries Are Common in Pedestrian Accidents?
A car can severely disable a pedestrian while traveling only 10 miles per hour, and traveling at 30 miles per hour or faster often results in serious injuries or even death.
If involved in a car accident, pedestrians can suffer:
Who Is At Fault in a Pedestrian Accident?
Determining fault in a car accident can be a complex process, and the advice of an experienced attorney is invaluable. Depending on the circumstances of the accident—including the time of day, the area, the location of nearby crosswalks, the physical and mental state of the driver, and other factors—different levels of fault will be established.
Any failure to use reasonable care while driving is considered negligence. Common factors constituting driver negligence include:
- Failure to observe posted speed limits
- Disobeying traffic signs or signals
- Disregarding weather or traffic conditions
- Inattentive or preoccupied drivers
- Failure to yield the right of way to pedestrians at crosswalks
- Failure to signal when turning
- Driver impairment due to alcohol or drugs
Pedestrians are also expected to exercise reasonable care to minimize his or her own risk. Pedestrians can be found partially or completely at fault for failing to exercise reasonable care, such as ignoring the “walk” signal at an intersection, darting in front of a moving vehicle, failing to use crosswalks, or entering the roadway and disrupting the flow of traffic.
New Jersey operates under a “modified comparative fault” system. This means the plaintiff does not have to prove that the defendant was 100 percent at fault in the incident in order to win damages. As long as the plaintiff was less than 50 percent at fault, he or she is still eligible to collect damages. For example, say a pedestrian was hit by a car and determines that his or her injuries and other damages add up to $100,000. If the court determines the pedestrian was 10 percent at fault for the accident, the potential damages will be reduced by 10 percent; the plaintiff will now be eligible to collect a maximum of $90,000.
New York, however, operates under a “pure comparative fault” system. In a pure comparative fault system, a plaintiff can recover damages even if he or she was more than 50 percent at fault. Similar to the New Jersey system, damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to the plaintiff. For example, say the pedestrian ran suddenly into the middle of the road and suffered severe injuries that will require lifelong medical care. If he files a $2 million lawsuit and the court decides he was 90 percent at fault, the maximum damages will be reduced to $200,000.
What Can You Win in a Personal Injury Case?
There is no cap on compensatory damages in the state of New Jersey; in other words, you are entitled to compensation for any and all provable damages. Punitive damages, which are designed to punish the defendant for particularly reckless or intentional behavior, are limited to $350,000 or five times the amount of compensatory damages (whichever is greater).
Pedestrians injured in a car accident can collect damages for:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Lost wages and decreased earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment or consortium
Contact a New Jersey Pedestrian Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one is injured by a driver, you deserve an experienced attorney who will fight for you every step of the way. Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi have a proven track record of fighting for clients both in and out of court. The experienced team at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi won a $7 million pedestrian accident case, in addition to numerous other multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements.
Contact Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi at (201) 585-9111 or fill out a quick inquiry form to schedule your free and confidential consultation. You can count on a trusted team of experienced trial attorneys, and there are no fees until Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi win your case.