What happens when a driver hits a pedestrian in new jersey?

What Happens When a Driver Hits a Pedestrian in New Jersey?

Being involved in a motor vehicle accident is always a distressing and potentially life-altering experience. However, when the accident involves a pedestrian, the consequences can be even more severe. Pedestrian accidents are a significant concern in New Jersey, a state with busy roads and high pedestrian activity. Understanding the legal implications and procedures following such an incident is crucial for both drivers and pedestrians. In this article, we will explore what happens when a driver hits a pedestrian in New Jersey, shedding light on the legal aspects, potential liabilities, and steps to take after the unfortunate event.

I. Immediate Actions After the Accident:

When a driver hits a pedestrian, it is essential to prioritize safety and provide aid to the injured immediately. The driver should call for emergency medical assistance by dialing 911, especially if there are severe injuries. Moving the injured pedestrian should be avoided unless necessary to prevent further harm, as improper handling may exacerbate their injuries. Meanwhile, the driver should also inform the local police about the accident, as they need to conduct a detailed investigation and file a police report.

II. Legal Duties of Drivers in New Jersey:

New Jersey follows the principle of “duty of care” in personal injury cases, including wrongful death claims. Drivers have a legal responsibility to exercise reasonable care while operating their vehicles, which includes being attentive, obeying traffic laws, and yielding to pedestrians at crosswalks. When a driver fails to uphold this duty of care and causes harm to a pedestrian, they may be held liable for the injuries and damages that result from the accident.

III. Legal Rights and Responsibilities of Pedestrians:

Pedestrians also have certain rights and responsibilities while navigating New Jersey roadways:

  • Use of Crosswalks: Pedestrians should use marked crosswalks whenever possible to cross streets. Doing so provides them with more legal protection in the event of an accident.
  • Avoiding Jaywalking: Pedestrians should avoid jaywalking or crossing streets in hazardous locations where drivers might not expect them.
  • Look Both Ways: Pedestrians should exercise caution and look both ways before crossing the road, even when they have the right of way.

IV. Potential Liability for the Driver:

If the driver is found to have breached their duty of care and caused the accident, they may be held liable for various damages, including:

1.Lost Wages: If the pedestrian is unable to work due to their injuries, the driver may be liable for the lost wages.

2. Pain and Suffering: The pedestrian may be entitled to compensation for the physical pain, emotional distress, and suffering resulting from the accident.

3. Property Damage: If the pedestrian’s personal belongings, such as clothing or electronic devices, were damaged in the accident, the driver may be liable for their replacement or repair costs.

V. Wrongful Death Claims:

If a pedestrian tragically loses their life due to the accident, their surviving family members may pursue a wrongful death claim against the driver. Wrongful death claims aim to seek compensation for the losses suffered by the deceased person’s family, including:

  • Funeral and Burial Expenses: The driver may be responsible for covering the costs associated with the funeral and burial of the deceased pedestrian.
  • Loss of Financial Support: If the deceased pedestrian was a primary earner in their family, the driver may be liable for the financial support that the family has lost due to the untimely death.
  • Loss of Companionship: The surviving family members may be entitled to compensation for the loss of companionship resulting from the wrongful death.

VI. Comparative Negligence in New Jersey:

New Jersey operates under a modified comparative negligence system. This means that even if the pedestrian was partly at fault for the accident, they can still recover damages, but the amount of compensation may be reduced proportionately to their degree of fault. For instance, if the pedestrian was found to be 20% at fault for the accident and the total damages were $100,000, their compensation would be reduced to $80,000.

VII. Insurance Coverage:

In New Jersey, all drivers are required to carry auto insurance with minimum liability coverage. This insurance typically includes coverage for bodily injury liability, which should provide compensation to the injured pedestrian and their family in the case of wrongful death. If the driver has insufficient insurance to cover the full extent of the damages, the victim or surviving family members may be able to seek compensation from their own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage if they have it.

VIII. Legal Actions and Statute of Limitations:

If the driver’s insurance coverage is inadequate or if there are disputes over liability, the injured pedestrian may decide to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. In New Jersey, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is generally two years from the date of the accident, although it can be shorter depending on the defendant in the case.  After this time period, the injured party may lose the right to seek compensation.

Contact Team Law Today for a Free Consultation About Your Pedestrian Accident

When the unexpected happens and a pedestrian accident leaves you facing legal complexities, Team Law is here to guide you through the process. We understand the distressing nature of these incidents and the impact they can have on both drivers and pedestrians.

Our experienced team provides compassionate support during challenging times, ensuring you are not alone in this journey. With a deep understanding of New Jersey’s pedestrian accident laws, we fight to protect your rights. We are relentless advocates for our clients, leaving no stone unturned in building a solid case for your defense or seeking justice on your behalf.

If you find yourself facing the aftermath of a pedestrian accident, don’t navigate the legal maze alone. Let Team Law stand by your side, offering unwavering support and expert legal representation. Contact us today for a free consultation, and let us help you move forward with confidence.

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