Even though pedestrians usually have the right-of-way, they can still be considered at fault for an accident
We have probably all heard the saying the pedestrian always has the right of way. And while this is a great saying to follow as drivers in order to protect pedestrians, it is not necessarily true from a legal view point. It is possible for a pedestrian to be at fault, either partially or completely, for an accident between a vehicle and the pedestrian. When determining who was at fault in a car-pedestrian accident in New Jersey, the decision is based on who was following the state’s crosswalk and yield laws and who wasn’t.
When a pedestrian has the right of way
A pedestrian has the right of way when they are passing in a crosswalk, whether marked or unmarked, and have a “walk” signal or an officer controlling traffic giving them the right to cross. This means the pedestrian must not only be crossing in a designated crosswalk, but they must also be using the crosswalk at a time in which they have the right to cross. A marked crosswalk is one in which there are distinctly visible lines on the road marking it as a crosswalk. An unmarked crosswalk is an intersection of two streets in which there are no lines distinctly marking a crosswalk. If the pedestrian is not crossing in a crosswalk with a signal instructing it is appropriate to cross, then the pedestrian does not have the right of way and must yield to vehicles on the road.
When the driver has the right of way
While drivers should always use caution to prevent hitting a pedestrian, the driver must also be able to reasonably expect a pedestrian to be crossing for the driver to be considered at-fault. If the driver is following all traffic laws, including speed, and a pedestrian darts out in front of them in the middle of the road, it is unreasonable for the driver to be expected to yield the right of way to the pedestrian. The driver has the right of way when the pedestrian is not crossing in a crosswalk or is using the crosswalk without a designated signal instructing them to cross.
New Jersey’s comparative negligence law
Anytime an accident occurs determining fault is not always as simple as looking to one party or the other. It is common for both parties to be at least partially at fault for an accident occurring. For example, a pedestrian may not have been in a designated crosswalk while crossing the street, but if the driver of the vehicle involved in the accident was speeding then both the driver and the pedestrian are partially at fault for the accident occurring. Under New Jersey’s comparative negligence laws, an injured party’s right to recover compensation for their injuries is limited by the percentage at which they are determined to be at fault, however they will have to prove the driver is at least 50% or more at fault or they will not be able to recover anything.
Dedicated personal injury lawyers fight to protect the rights of injured parties involved in vehicle-pedestrian accidents
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car-pedestrian accident, you need an experienced personal injury lawyer fighting to protect your rights to recover the maximum compensation you deserve. The skilled New Jersey car accident attorneys at Leonard Legal Group, LLC have a long history of success obtaining maximum compensation for injured victims. Our reputation as compassionate lawyers who are tough on negligent parties has been earned by our relentless pursuit of justice for our clients. Call us today at 973-984-1414 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation. Our office is conveniently located in Morristown and we also serve all surrounding areas.