Pedestrian accidents have become a serious problem not only in Massachusetts, but nationwide. The number of pedestrians killed in accidents is on the rise over the last couple of years due to distraction and lack of awareness on both the parts of pedestrians and drivers. In both 2016 and 2017 just under 6,000 pedestrians were killed by drivers each year. That represents death tolls not seen in 25 years. Pedestrian deaths rose by 27 percent from 2007 to 2016. This dramatic increase in pedestrian fatalities has been attributed to a few factors. One such factor is the increase in popularity of Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs). Due to a SUV’s greater physical size and taller front ends, impacts with pedestrians are more likely to cause head injuries as opposed to leg injuries when a car is involved. Other studies have even proposed that the legalization of certain recreation drugs is to blame. Cell phone use by both the driver and person on foot certainly plays a role in the pedestrian accident problem.
Survivors of motor vehicle accidents
All too often survivors of pedestrian accidents face devastating and catastrophic personal injuries, not to mention loss of income. Unlike a collision between two vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists are unprotected. Many of these accidents are caused by drivers who fail to exercise proper caution on the road. Some pedestrian accidents may involve an extenuating circumstance, such as attempting to avoid an accident with another driver, being involved in an accident with another driver, inclement weather, or other road conditions; but most times when a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle, it can be explained by the driver’s own wrongful actions, for example:
- Distracted Driving
- Driving while intoxicated
- Failing to address stop or slow signs, school zones, and crosswalks
- Attempting to pass a stopped school bus
Pedestrians can do their part to protect themselves by crossing the street only at designated crosswalks; wearing visible and/or reflective clothing, especially at night; and only walking on the sidewalk. Many pedestrian accidents can be avoided if a few safety precautions are taken into consideration.
There are several laws in Massachusetts meant to protect pedestrians and cyclists when crossing roads or intersections. Massachusetts General Law chapters 89§11 says that the pedestrian has the right of way when in a crosswalk, and approaching vehicles must slow down and yield their right of way. This applies to cyclists as well as they are often treated under the law as pedestrians. Drivers may not pass vehicles stopped to give pedestrians the right of way. When a pedestrian is struck by a motor vehicle, the department of state police or the municipal department with jurisdiction of the street often conduct an investigation into any violation of the law, and the appropriate civil or criminal citation shall be filed. Although the driver’s insurance will often cover much of the incurred medical costs, Massachusetts automotive insurance law is extremely complicated and difficult to navigate. For this reason, it is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Getting hit by a car while walking is challenging and stressful enough, navigating the legal process and dealing with the insurance companies doesn’t have to be. It’s important for drivers and pedestrians alike to know their rights when it comes to pedestrian accidents. Our pedestrian accident attorneys are here to guide you every step of the way.
With offices in Chelsea and Salem, MA, Spada Law Group provides Boston quality legal representation without the commute into the city with free on-premises or validated parking. We are here to answer any questions you may have. Call Spada Law Group today at 617-889-5000 to discuss your situation. The consultation is free and there is absolutely no obligation to hire us. We are open Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm.
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