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Understanding pedestrian accidents

Even though most residents in New Jersey and elsewhere rely on motor vehicles to get around, almost every time a motorist or occupant exits a vehicle, they become a pedestrian. Whether a vehicle is parked in a parking lot or on the street, occupants become pedestrians as they travel from the vehicle to their destination. Although this is likely a short distance, it is still possible to face dangers caused by motor vehicles traveling in the area.

The biggest risk pedestrians face occurs when motorists do not see them or fail to uphold the rules of the road. This means that they are speeding, failing to remain attentive of their surroundings, not stopping at traffic signs or signals or fail to give pedestrians the right-of-way in a crosswalk. Any of these acts could be the cause of a serious or deadly pedestrian crash.

According to recent data, roughly 5,000 pedestrians die each year because of an accident involving a motor vehicle. In addition, more than 76,000 pedestrians suffer injuries as a result of these collisions. There are many causes of these accidents, including those where pedestrians failed to act safely in the matter. Therefore, when a pedestrian crash occurs, it is important to understand the cause and who was at fault.

If negligence is to blame, one should consider four elements. This includes the driver owing a legal duty to the pedestrian in the situation, failing to uphold this legal duty, the breach of this duty caused an accident with the pedestrian and harm resulted because of this. Common reasons why a driver breached their duty of care includes distractions, speeding, failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks, disobeying traffic signs or signals, failing to signal a turn, disregarding weather or traffic conditions or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

If you have been harmed in a pedestrian crash or you have lost a loved one in a fatal pedestrian accident, it is important to understand your rights. Becoming aware of your options could help you in your pursuit to recover compensation and hold a liable party accountable for their negligence.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Pedestrian Accidents Overview," accessed March 4, 2018

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