Fatal Pedestrian Accidents
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New Jersey Fatal Pedestrian Accident Lawyers
New Jersey’s public streets are called “public” for a reason. They exist to provide transportation routes for all members of the New Jersey community who need to travel for work or leisure.
However, roads don’t solely belong to cars; they’re also used by pedestrians, bicyclists, and other travelers. When New Jersey drivers act as if the roads belong only to them, they increase the risk of a pedestrian collision that can sadly result in a pedestrian’s death.
If you have lost a loved one in a fatal pedestrian accident, don’t wait. Talk to the experienced New Jersey Fatal Pedestrian Accident Lawyers at the Todd J. Leonard Law Firm today. We’ll help you understand your legal rights and choose the best option for you.
New Jersey Pedestrian Death Statistics
In New Jersey, the number of fatal pedestrian accidents is alarming. The Garden State is ranked fifth in the country for pedestrian fatalities. During a three-year period, from 2010 to 2013, more than 600 pedestrians were killed, with 71 of those deaths taking place alongside roadways and highways.
While 27 percent of the pedestrian deaths involved the presence of alcohol or drugs, the major contributing factors in the fatalities were poor roadway lighting and the absence of sidewalks. Information released by the Department of Transportation (DOT) suggests lighting could indeed be a significant issue, as 52 of the 71 pedestrian fatalities occurred between dusk and dawn. By contrast, there were 19 deaths during daylight hours.
Lighting is not the only factor that needs to be considered in keeping pedestrians safe. Often, the way roads are constructed contributes to a dangerous situation, which can then lead to accidents. For instance, vehicle drivers who opt to pass another car on the shoulder of the road, place any pedestrians on the shoulder in danger. The lack of crosswalks further adds to unsafe road conditions.
Stop and Stay Stopped: Not Enough to Protect New Jersey’s Pedestrians
As of 2010, New Jersey implemented the Stop and Stayed Stopped Law. The law requires drivers to stop and remain stopped for pedestrians crossing the road in designated crosswalks. In addition, drivers should yield the right-of-way to pedestrians crossing the road at an intersection within an unmarked crosswalk. Nonetheless, according to data from the New Jersey State Police, between 2015 and 2017 approximately 450 pedestrians were killed in accidents.
Unfortunately, many drivers do not pay attention to pedestrians, or worse, are driving while distracted, and/or driving under-the-influence.
Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Pedestrians hit by a vehicle may suffer severe, life-threatening injuries or death. The injuries most often include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injury, head injuries
- Broken bones
- Acute organ damage
- Fractured Bones
- Crush injuries of the hands, feet, legs, chest
- Severe laceration injuries
- Permanently damaged nerves
- Internal bleeding
- Torn ligaments, tendons
- Severed, amputated body parts
- Friction burns
- Neck and Back Injuries
- Paraplegia/ Quadriplegia
- Knee Injuries
- Internal Tissue Damage
Steps in New Jersey Pedestrian Wrongful Death Claims
When a pedestrian dies as the result of a driver’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional behavior, the family may choose to file a wrongful death claim.
Elements of a Pedestrian Wrongful Death Claim
Under the New Jersey statute of limitations, a wrongful death claim must be filed within two years of the date of the deceased’s death. If the claim is not filed within the proper time frame, it may be barred from moving forward. There are other factors that may affect the time frame for the statute of limitations, and therefore, it is best to speak with an experienced New Jersey Fatal Pedestrian Accident Attorney, particularly if you are close to the two year limit as outlined in the statute.
Who May File a Wrongful Death Claim in New Jersey?
Typically, a wrongful death claim is brought on behalf of surviving family members. Damages recovered are usually distributed to surviving family members who were dependent on the victim at the time of death and are next of kin.
Family members who may receive damages in a wrongful death case in New Jersey include:
- Surviving spouse/children/grandchildren
- Surviving parents
- Next of Kin
Damages in a wrongful death claim in New Jersey may include:
- Loss of companionship/guidance/care and comfort
- Loss of financial support
- Reasonable medical, funeral and burial costs
- Loss of valued household services, such as childcare
Survival Action: in New Jersey, the estate of your loved one may also bring a claim for the conscious pain and suffering of your loved one before their death. In New Jersey, surviving family members may not recover damages for emotional distress. However, if a surviving family member was present when a victim died, they may be able to seek damages for severe emotional distress by filing a separate claim.
What If There’s a Criminal Case?
In some New Jersey pedestrian deaths, criminal charges may be filed against the driver or other person who caused the accident. For instance, a drunk driver who causes a pedestrian’s death may face criminal charges for driving while intoxicated, as well as other potential charges.
A criminal case and a wrongful death case have two different goals. In a criminal case, the goal is to hold a person responsible for the harm they have caused. In a wrongful death case or similar civil action, the goal is to hold a person responsible for the harm they have caused to the deceased person’s dependents directly.
You may file a wrongful death claim even if a criminal case is pending or has concluded. A wrongful death claim protects different interests than a criminal case. Since the outcome of a criminal proceeding may affect how a wrongful death claim proceeds, however, it’s important to speak to an experienced fatal pedestrian accident attorney in New Jersey. A lawyer can help clarify how the two cases might affect one another. When you work with a lawyer, you’ll also gain help in making strategic decisions that work for the best possible outcome in the wrongful death claim – even if a criminal case is also happening.
No amount of money can indeed return your loved one to you, or make up for their value in your life. A damages award can, however, ensure that many of the financial costs of your loss are carried by the negligent person who caused your losses. Damages help place the responsibility for the financial costs of the death where they belong – on the person who caused the harm.
Choose an Experienced Pedestrian Accident Lawyer to Fight for You Now!
If a loved one has been involved in a fatal pedestrian accident, contact the experienced fatal pedestrian accident attorneys at the Todd J. Leonard Law Firm. We’re dedicated to representing our clients with skill and compassion. To learn more, reach out to us today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Each wrongful death case is unique and requires a prompt and exhaustive analysis into the causes of your loved one’s death. Our team of experienced New Jersey Wrongful Death lawyers will hire the appropriate experts, including accident reconstructionists, toxicologists, and other experts, when necessary, to hold those responsible for your loved one’s fatal accident.
For more than 30 years, we have been helping clients who have been seriously injured in a car accident, or a pedestrian accident, slip and fall accident, motorcycle accident, truck accident, or were injured at work. We are a Five-Star rated law firm, recovering a total of more than $100 million on behalf of our clients. We will do our best to hold the negligent party (or parties) fully accountable for their actions, and get you the justice you deserve. We recognize the challenges you face as a result of a serious motor vehicle crash and are uniquely positioned to protect your rights and help you through the recovery process. To learn more and to schedule a FREE consultation, give us a call today at 973-920-7900. You can also connect with us through our online form. There is never a fee unless we win your case. We have two conveniently located offices in Denville and Morristown, New Jersey.
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Being injured or having a family member injured can have serious and lifelong consequences. We can try to ease the burden. Contact us today to learn more about how our team of experienced New Jersey accident attorneys can support you through these challenging times.