In the case of car accidents involving pedestrians, it is not always clear who is at fault and, in turn, who might bear liability. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association reports that 83,000 pedestrians are injured or killed in accidents with vehicles each year.
Two pedestrians were apparently in the middle of an argument when they were struck by an oncoming vehicle in the middle of a Massachusetts road not long ago. The car accident took place near Worcester, in neighboring Northborough. Both pedestrians sustained injuries; the driver, though “shaken,” was not injured. Police reported that because of conditions, the driver was unable to see the two victims prior to striking them.
Under Massachusetts personal injury laws, a party may be able to recover compensation for medical expenses, among other types of damages. This is true even if the injured driver shared some responsibility for the crash, just as long as their fault is not greater than the party he is seeking compensation from. The plaintiff’s recovery, however, may be reduced by their degree of involvement in the accident.
A successful claim for negligence against a driver in a car accident requires a demonstration of their failure to act with reasonable care, which contributed to the accident and resulting injury. Reasonable care requires that the driver pays attention to what is happening on the roadway, as well as following posted signs, speed limits and other traffic-safety laws. Part of this requires drivers to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
Both drivers and pedestrians, however, are required to adhere to the laws of the road. This means that pedestrians owe a duty of care to drivers on roadways as well to follow crosswalks and “do not walk” signs, and not to needlessly walk into traffic. Everyone on the road owes it to each other to act responsibly.
Source: Northborough Patch, “Two Pedestrians Hit on Route 9,” Charlene Arsenault, Sept. 19, 2012