When people think of the dangers associated with driving, they usually think of car crashes. But cars are not the only users of the road. In urban centers and suburbs, many people walk. Just because you are not in a car does not mean that you will not be involved in a car accident. Sadly, pedestrian accidents are fairly common, and they frequently involve serious injuries or even death. If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident, you should consult a car crash lawyer to assert your rights. Bergen County pedestrian accident attorney Howard B. Leopold can help, using his 25 years of experience on behalf of victims in New Jersey and New York.Pedestrian Accidents Cause Devastating Injuries
In recent years, the number of pedestrians struck and sometimes killed by cars has steadily risen, especially in urban areas. People live close to stores, restaurants, schools, workplaces, and even recreational activities, and they simply walk from place to place. Many people walk for pleasure, and some city-dwellers may not even own cars. But walking may involve as many risks as driving. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, pedestrians make up 15% of the traffic fatalities nationwide. In New York and New Jersey, those percentages are 30% and 27%, respectively.
One reason for the high rate of fatalities in pedestrian accidents is because pedestrians have little protection when they come up against a car, even at low speeds. There are other risk factors as well. Pedestrians are smaller than vehicles and are harder to see. Visibility may be further hampered at night and at twilight, or when pedestrians wear dark clothing.
But this does not excuse drivers from being cognizant of pedestrian traffic and operating their vehicles accordingly. In particular, violating traffic laws—speeding, running a traffic light or stop sign, ignoring right-of-way laws, texting or engaging in other distractions, or driving under the influence, among other behaviors—is likely to have more serious repercussions when the victim involved in an accident is a pedestrian. When a driver hits a pedestrian as a result of violating a traffic law or failing to obey a rule of the road, that driver may be liable through a negligence claim.
Negligence is a civil cause of action that involves certain elements. The driver must have owed a duty to the pedestrian to use reasonable care in the operation of their vehicle, the driver must have breached this duty, the breach must have led to an accident, and the plaintiff must have suffered injuries in the accident. If all of these elements are proven, an injured pedestrian may be able to recover compensation for the damages resulting from the accident, including medical costs, pain and suffering, lost income, disability or disfigurement compensation, the costs of future treatment, loss of consortium, and more.
In the event that a pedestrian dies after being struck by a careless driver, their family members may be able to bring a wrongful death claim for compensation, seeking types of damages based on the victim’s medical and funeral expenses as well as their relationship to the victim.Contact a Bergen County Attorney After a Pedestrian Accident
If you have sustained injuries in a pedestrian accident, we are here to help you determine whether you may have a personal injury claim against the driver involved. For a free consultation, call Bergen County pedestrian accident lawyer Howard B. Leopold at (201) 345-5907 or contact us online to set up a free appointment. He can represent people who need a personal injury lawyer throughout Bergen, Hudson, Passaic, and Essex Counties, including in Hackensack, Englewood, Bergenfield, Cliffside Park, Dumont, Edgewater, Elmwood Park, Fair Lawn, Fairview, Fort Lee, Franklin Lakes, Garfield, Glen Rock, Hasbrouck Heights, Hillsdale, Little Ferry, Lodi, Lyndhurst, Mahwah, New Milford, North Arlington, Oakland, Palisades Park, Paramus, Ramsey, Ridgefield, Ridgefield Park, Ridgewood, River Edge, Rutherford, Saddle Brook, Teaneck, Tenafly, Wallington, Westwood, Wyckoff, Paterson, Newark, and Jersey City.