Pedestrian accidents often cause serious injuries. Pedestrian accidents frequently occur in areas where there is a lot of foot traffic (e.g., areas around schools and at intersections). Pedestrian accidents, especially those causing fatalities, have become so bad that police have taken new and creative steps to counter the problem. In fact, in Fort Lee, the police have been implementing a traffic decoy program to complement the "stop and stay stopped" law. Essentially, police wear plain clothes and wait at crosswalks looking for drivers who do not stop or stay stopped for pedestrians.
Pedestrians who have been involved in a car accident may be able to file a claim against the at-fault driver. The partners at Najib, Kim & Feliz, LLC want you to be informed, so below is a discussion on pedestrian accidents in Fort Lee and the surrounding counties. If you still have questions, contact our office to schedule a time to speak to one of us. We will advise you of your rights and your options. Contact us today at (201) 585-2250.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in New Jersey
A frequently heard statement when it comes to driving is that “pedestrians always have the right of way.” This is only partially true because pedestrians have a duty to act with reasonable care when looking out for their own safety and obeying all traffic signals. Pedestrians are supposed to cross the road at intersections and crosswalks. However, drivers are also expected to be alert and ready to stop whenever they see a person about to cross the road in front of them. These types of cases can become complex given the nature and circumstances of the events that took place.
Most causes of pedestrian accidents, however, in New Jersey are the result of motorists negligence, including driving while sleepy, texting (or other distractions), or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Most car accidents are a result of driver negligence. This means that the driver of a vehicle failed to act with the standard of care that a reasonable person would use in the same situation. Drivers are expected to do everything they can to prevent an accident even if a pedestrian was negligent by failing to cross the road at a designated area. If a driver could have stopped in time to prevent an accident, the fact that the pedestrian was in the middle of the road outside a crosswalk will not be a total defense.
Driver fatigue is a common cause of accidents. Many drivers admit that they have fallen asleep at the wheel, and a substantial number of them have caused accidents as a result of falling asleep at the wheel. Commercial drivers who are driving long hours or outside their normal shift are especially at risk for experiencing driver fatigue.
Despite laws enacted in most states that have made texting while driving illegal, use of electronic devices while driving is still a common problem. Other common causes of driver distraction are pets or children in the vehicle. An accident involving a pedestrian can happen when a driver is distracted for just a split second.
Drunk driving is another common cause of pedestrian accidents. Nationwide, drunk driving accidents have decreased in the last several years while accidents involving drivers who were impaired on another substance such as cannabis or opiates are on the rise.
Drunk driving is a crime punishable by jail time, fines and community service. A driver who is convicted of a driving-related offense can still be sued for damages in a civil case because the criminal prosecution is a separate matter.
Injuries After a Pedestrian Accident
Pedestrians often suffer serious injuries after a car accident that require immediate medical attention and long-term recovery. Common injuries include:
- traumatic brain injuries (TBI);
- spinal cord injuries;
- bone fractures; and
- soft tissue injuries.
Some brain injuries and spinal cord injuries are considered catastrophic injuries and can be life-changing for people.
Persons who have experienced traumatic brain injuries may need to re-learn many of the activities that they used to be able to do easily, like walking, talking, and dressing. Some people will need 24-hour care after a brain injury.
Spinal cord injuries can also cause significant impairments. The severity of a spinal cord injury will depend on the location of the injury and the extent of the damage to the spinal cord. Some spinal injuries such as compression fractures only involve the bones of the spine. A compression fracture occurs when the force of a crash causes damage to the vertebrae in a person's spinal column. Some spinal fractures may involve loose bone fragments that can damage the spinal cord.
Pedestrians who suffer bone fractures and soft tissue injuries in a crash may require extensive recovery and/or treatment, including surgery and physical therapy. Medical bills for surgery, overnight hospital stays, and physical therapy can amount to tens of thousands of dollars.
After a minor accident, a person who has been struck by a car may initially believe that they feel fine. However, most people experience the full extent of their injuries a day or two after an impact. Therefore, it is best to seek emergency care after an accident to ensure your own safety.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim After a Pedestrian Accident in New Jersey
A pedestrian accident can be quite costly for the accident victim. Costs after an accident typically include bills from hospitals, radiologists, emergency room doctors, surgeons, and physical therapy. If a person is no longer able to work after a serious accident and needs round-the-clock care, damages from the accident will include medical bills as well as costs for future care.
Filing a claim against a negligent driver is a way to help pay for these costs as well as potential future costs. In some cases, an insurance company will agree to settle the claim outside court if the injured party agrees not to pursue further legal action. If the parties to a case cannot agree to a settlement, the case may proceed to a jury trial.
There is a limited time to file a personal injury claim, so it is important to act quickly. A negligence claim must be filed within two years pursuant to the statute of limitations in New Jersey.
Contacting a New Jersey Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one have been injured in a pedestrian accident in New Jersey, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer right away. Contact Najib, Kim & Feliz, LLC by filling out our online form or call us at (201) 585-2250.