Here are some common pedestrian accidents scenarios in New Jersey:
Speeding– Speeding is one of the most common causes of car accidents with pedestrians. While speeding can include drivers going above the legal speed limit, it can also include drivers who fail to use the proper caution during inclement weather or traffic conditions.
When a driver is going faster than the speed limit for the area and causes a car accident with a pedestrian, the pedestrian accident injuries are most likely much more severe, if not fatal. Even when a car travels with a relatively slow speed limit, its impact on a pedestrian can still be severe.
Crosswalks— Some pedestrian car accidents occur when a person is legally in a crosswalk because a motorist fails to look out for people on foot. Pedestrians have a responsibility to obey traffic signals and WALK signs when they are in operation at an intersection. When there are no traffic control signals, motorists must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians, if a pedestrian is in a crosswalk. Motorists often cause accidents by failing to slow down and look for pedestrians who may be crossing the road within a crosswalk and have the right of way. Pedestrians have a duty not to leave the curb suddenly and walk into the path of an oncoming car that is too close to stop.
Hard to See at Night— Drivers should remain alert for people crossing the road or walking beside the road at all times. But low visibility makes pedestrians especially hard for drivers to see. Pedestrians walking along the road or crossing intersections at night should wear reflective clothing and carry a flashlight to be as visible as possible. People on foot are at greater risk of being hit.
Inclement Weather— Pedestrian accidents are more common in bad weather when driver visibility is reduced. Drivers may be preoccupied with the hazardous driving conditions and not expecting to see people in the road. There are many reasons why the visibility of the driver or the pedestrian may be impaired. Weather conditions such as rain, snow, or fog are some of the most common causes of a driver’s visibility being limited. When visibility remains low for a driver, it requires a greater distance for the driver to see a pedestrian and stop. If a driver fails to drive in a safe and cautious manner, an accident with a pedestrian can occur, resulting in serious injuries and losses.
Manhole Covers – Occasionally, manhole covers are not properly replaced after work has been completed by the city or other local entities. Additionally, explosions due to underground utilities have been known to injure nearby pedestrians.
Turning Vehicle—When a driver makes a left turn at an intersection where they have a green arrow, they have the right of way. However, drivers still have a responsibility to first check for pedestrians to ensure that everyone has finished crossing through the intersection safely. If a driver only has a green light (and not a green arrow), they have a legal responsibility to ensure that every pedestrian has safely traveled through the intersection before making their left turn.
Pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalks that allow them the light to walk through. In many cases, a pedestrian in New Jersey or New York may also have the legal right of way even if the light does not indicate they have the right to walk through the crosswalk.
Some intersections allow a vehicle to make a right turn at a red light. However, a driver has the legal right to make a right turn at a red light only if it is safe to do so. A driver has a legal responsibility to ensure that all traffic moving in that direction has passed through the intersection, as well as ensure that all pedestrians have also made it through the intersection safely.
It is important to note that many areas in New Jersey and New York prohibit a driver from making a right turn on red due to the amount of foot traffic at those intersections and to avoid the risk of car accidents with pedestrians.
Drunk or Impaired Drivers—Drivers who are intoxicated are less likely to be alert for pedestrians in the road and may be speeding or driving erratically. Our attorneys are especially dedicated to helping victims of drunk drivers because one of our law partners, Steven Benvenisti, was critically injured as a college student in a pedestrian accident caused by a drunk driver. Today, he pursues justice for victims of pedestrian accidents and drunk driving accidents. We recognize that being hit by any vehicle while on foot can cause life-changing injuries that require months of medical care and rehabilitation.
Drugs, alcohol, and various medications are known to impair a driver’s ability to see clearly, as well as use appropriate judgment in dangerous situations. Even a small amount of prescription or illegal drugs or alcoholic beverages can impair a driver’s judgment, causing slower reaction times.
If a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol and causes an accident involving a pedestrian, they may have the responsibility to compensate the pedestrian for all the injuries and losses suffered.