Pedestrians constantly enter and use roadways. Whether they are crossing streets at intersections or walking on sidewalks or along roadways, drivers must always be focused and cognizant of their presence. A failure to do so may create a dangerous situation for a pedestrian. Due to their lack of protection or safety devices, they are likely to suffer serious injuries as a result.
A motor vehicle accident recently occurred in New Jersey involving a car and a pedestrian. The driver of the car was travelling in the left lane of a highway when he struck a pedestrian who was walking in the left lane. The pedestrian was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment of their injuries and is currently listed in critical condition. Officials closed the highway for three hours to investigate the cause of the accident, which is yet to be determined.
Car accidents involving pedestrians apply the same liability standard of negligence as accidents involving other vehicles do. In such a determination, both parties may have a level of fault. It is thus important to determine what duties are owed by both drivers and pedestrians. Drivers must use the proper level of care according to the circumstances. This includes being attentive, not speeding, yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks and not driving while intoxicated, among other behaviors. Pedestrians, however, must use an appropriate level of care for their own safety. If they can reasonably anticipate a dangerous situation, they must take precautions to avoid it. A failure to do so may constitute contributory negligence, which are actions that contribute to their injuries. Such actions include entering a traffic stream or disrupting its flow, as well as failing to use crosswalks where available, among others. The pedestrian in this case was struck in a traffic lane. Although the facts are unclear, it is possible that they may have been walking in the traffic stream, and may have contributed to their own injuries.
Drivers and pedestrians have rights and responsibilities on the road. If they are involved in an accident, it is important for all parties to be aware of their possible rights to compensation, as well as their levels of negligence in causing the accident.