Essex County Pedestrian Accident Claims

essex county pedestian accidentsEvery day, pedestrians and motor vehicles simultaneously occupy and use our roadways.  Pedestrians can include bicyclists, joggers, and people who are simply walking across the street in a crosswalk.  Motor vehicles are large, fast moving objects made of iron and steel.  Pedestrians are slower moving creatures made up of flesh and bone.  Given this close proximity and simultaneous use of the roadways, pedestrian-auto accidents are inevitable.  When such an accident occurs, it is usually the pedestrian who suffers the brunt of the damage, and not the motor vehicle.  Frequently, injuries in these accidents are catastrophic, and sometimes fatal.

 

Essex County, New Jersey Pedestrian Law

In New Jersey, pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalks and intersections. This means that motor vehicles are required to yield to people when they are legally crossing a roadway. Individuals traveling on foot outside of marked crosswalks or unmarked intersection crosswalks must yield to vehicles, though this in no way relieves drivers of the need to behave responsibly and exercise due caution.  Indeed, negligent or reckless behavior by a driver can place the responsibility for an accident on them.

Common Pedestrian Accidents and Injuries

These accidents can be caused by number of different factors, such as inattentiveness, speeding, inclement weather, traffic congestion, restricted or impaired visibility, unfamiliarity with the roadways and laws, and the actions of other drivers on the road. Pedestrian-auto accidents frequently involve the following scenarios:

  • Being struck in a crosswalk
  • Getting hit while exiting a bus or a car
  • Vehicle sideswipes
  • Being struck in a parking lot

Regardless of why or how one is hit, when these accidents occur the pedestrian frequently suffers severe injuries.  Some of the more common injuries include:

  • Broken Bones
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Head and brain injuries
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Loss of limbs
  • Paralysis
  • Injury leading to death

Lawsuit Limitations

Despite the fact they are not driving at the time of the accident, New Jersey pedestrians may be bound by the coverages contained in their auto insurance policy if they are injured as a pedestrian by a motor vehicle. Thus, the insurance policy must be reviewed after an accident to determine key coverage selections, including Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and the limitation on lawsuit option.  PIP is no-fault insurance coverage that provides medical treatment benefits to the injured pedestrian. The limitation on lawsuit option, on the other hand, can limit the injured pedestrian’s ability to sue the negligent motorist for non-economic damages, including pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.  When the limitation on lawsuit option applies, sometimes referred to as the “verbal threshold,” the pedestrian’s injuries must qualify under N.J.S.A. 39:6A-8a in order to maintain a claim for non-economic damages.  Under this statute, the injuries must fall into one of the following categories:

  • Dismemberment
  • Miscarriage of a fetus
  • Displaced fractures
  • Significant scarring/disfigurement
  • Permanent Injury
  • Death

If the pedestrian doesn’t own a vehicle, the auto insurance policy of a family member may afford coverage. If the pedestrian neither owns a vehicle or lives with someone who does, the New Jersey Property Liability Insurance Guaranty Association (NJ PLIGA) may provide certain coverage.

Essex County pedestrian-auto victims potentially have a number of legal remedies to draw upon following an accident. To learn more about your rights and how best to proceed, it is a good idea to consult with an experienced Pedestrian AccidentAttorney. The Essex County lawyers at the Reinartz Law Firm can help.