Pedestrian accidents have become a serious problem not only in Massachusetts but nationwide.
The number of pedestrians killed in accidents is on the rise. 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. Additionally, pedestrian deaths rose by 27 percent from 2007 to 2016.
Why Pedestrian Accident Deaths Are Increasing
This dramatic increase in pedestrian fatalities has been attributed to a few factors, including:
- The popularity of SUVs. SUVs are bigger and taller than sedans. This makes an SUV’s impact with a pedestrian potentially more catastrophic than when a car hits a pedestrian. SUV-pedestrian collisions are more likely to result in head injuries for the pedestrian.
- The legalization of recreational drugs. Even legal drugs may impact a driver’s ability to drive safely.
- Distracted drivers and pedestrians. Cell phone use, and other distractions, by either the driver or the person on foot may cause accidents.
- Speeding drivers. A driver who is exceeding the speed limit or traveling too fast for the road conditions may be unable to stop in time to prevent a crash with a pedestrian.
- Drunk drivers. Drunk drivers may not see pedestrians or may be unable to stop their vehicles in time to avoid a serious crash.
- Drivers who are otherwise negligent. For example, drivers who fail to obey stop signs, stop for school buses, or yield to people in crosswalks may be at fault for pedestrian accidents.
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.
Massachusetts Law Protects Pedestrians
There are several laws in Massachusetts meant to protect pedestrians and cyclists when they are 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. Additionally, 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 police department with jurisdiction often conducts an investigation into any violation of the law and files the appropriate legal citation.
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 without a lawyer.
Contact a Massachusetts Pedestrian Accident Lawyer ASAP
Getting hit by a car while walking is challenging and stressful enough, but navigating the legal process and dealing with the insurance companies don’t have to be challenging and stressful. 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.
Please contact us today via this website or by phone at 617-889-5000. Spada Law Group, LLC has conveniently located offices in Chelsea and Salem. We can offer you experienced legal representation without the hassle of a commute into Boston. Contact us today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.