As a pedestrian, you are physically unprotected if a car strikes you. While drivers in vehicles are contained within a metal structure that absorbs some of the force of the collision, pedestrians in a car accident tend to bear the full brunt. Even when a car or other vehicle is moving slowly, the force can be significant. Most people don’t have enough saved up for catastrophic injuries like paralysis or traumatic brain injury. In some cases, pedestrians are killed as a result of driver negligence, and their families are left with tremendous grief, as well as practical questions, such as how to pay the mortgage, funeral expenses, or other bills. In New Jersey, there can be certain insurance limitations on the ability to recover damages after a pedestrian accident, which is why it is crucial to talk to a lawyer. Experienced New Jersey attorney Raymond Grimes may be able to help.Pedestrian Accidents in New Jersey
Generally, in order to establish entitlement to damages, our lawyers will need to prove it’s more likely than not: (1) the defendant owed you a duty of reasonable care, (2) breach of the duty of reasonable care, (3) causation, and (4) damages. All drivers owe a duty of reasonable care to those with whom they share the road, including pedestrians. Breach of this duty can happen in many different ways; a defendant may breach the duty to use reasonable care if he is driving while intoxicated and runs a red light and runs into you while you’re crossing at the intersection, for example. Under N.J.S.A. 39:4-36, drivers are expected yield TO you if you’re a pedestrian at a crosswalk and stay stopped until you’ve finished crossing. If a car hits you in a crosswalk, there is a permissive inference that the driver did not use reasonable care to avoid injuring you.
Even when there is no crosswalk, you may be able to hold a reckless driver accountable for striking you while you’re crossing. However, in those situations, you are also expected to use reasonable care for your own safety. It’s not uncommon for a driver’s insurance company to try to find ways in which a pedestrian was to blame for the accident even when the pedestrian’s injuries are severe. If, for example, you ran into traffic without warning, the defendant’s attorney is likely to argue that you were comparatively negligent. Your damages can be reduced by an amount equal to your degree of fault and if you were more at fault than the driver, you’ll be barred from recovering your damages in New Jersey.
Pedestrian accidents also occur in parking lots, where drivers must obey signage, check blind spots when backing out of parking spots, and yield when a pedestrian is walking through a crossing area.
In some cases, a driver may be charged in criminal court for a vehicle crime, and the outcome of that proceeding, which is distinct from the civil case, can have an impact on your civil lawsuit.
Insurance issues can be complicated even when liability is established. The coverage that is applicable depends on choices made by the insured when selecting a policy and the severity of injuries. New Jersey is a no-fault state, which means you must first turn to your own personal insurance protection (PIP) coverage, and only if your injuries are severe can you bring a lawsuit for noneconomic damages.
In some instances, our lawyers investigate whether others, besides the driver, were negligent and should be held partially accountable for a pedestrian accident.Attorneys to Recover Damages
If we are able to establish a defendant’s liability for your serious injuries, we may be able to recover compensatory damages. These could include both economic and noneconomic damages. Pedestrians who were injured may be able to recover medical bills, lost wages, replacement services, and out-of-pocket costs, pain and suffering, disfigurement, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium.
If you lost a loved one due to driver negligence, we may be able to recover wrongful death damages.Consult an Experienced Law Firm About Your Pedestrian Accident Lawsuit
If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a New Jersey pedestrian accident, your life may be dramatically altered. You should call lawyer Raymond Grime for a consultation. The Grimes Law Firm represents accident victims and their families in Somerset County and throughout the state and the Tri-State area. Please call us at (908) 371-106 or complete our online form.