Boston Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Streets in Boston are often teeming with activity, and rush hour can delay traffic for miles. Unfortunately, amidst all this action, pedestrian accidents commonly occur.
Pedestrian accidents are often the result of drivers who fail to stop at crosswalks or intersections. Although, many accidents happen on sidewalks where drivers have no business. While Massachusetts law generally favors the rights of pedestrians over motorists, it is possible for each party to share some liability. However, drivers tend to owe pedestrians a duty of care and safety. You should concentrate on collecting critical evidence, like photos and videos from the crash scene. This evidence will be crucial in a personal injury lawsuit and an insurance claim. If the court determines you are partially responsible for the accident, you may still recover damages, but they might be reduced.
Whether your injury was suffered at an intersection or on the sidewalk, our experienced Boston pedestrian accident lawyer can explain your legal options and fight on your behalf. Call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 396-7295 for a free case review.
How Do Pedestrian Accidents Happen in Boston?
A pedestrian accident often happens when a pedestrian crosses a street or highway, but they can happen under different circumstances. You should discuss how your accident happened with our Boston pedestrian accident lawyers so we can determine the best legal strategies for your case.
As you can assume, many pedestrian accidents happen when people are crossing the street at intersections and crosswalks. In many cases, drivers fail to stop because they are distracted or think they can cross the intersection before the pedestrian enters the street. This reckless and negligent behavior by drivers places pedestrians crossing the street in serious danger.
Other times, pedestrian accidents happen because drivers are driving somewhere they should not. For example, a driver might lose control of their vehicle and run up on a sidewalk, striking a pedestrian. The pedestrian did nothing wrong in this case, and it is the driver’s fault for driving on the sidewalk.
Pedestrian accidents might also occur when drivers are too close to pedestrian walkways. For example, drivers must be careful not to drive too close to sidewalks on particularly narrow streets. If a driver gets too close to a pedestrian walkway, they might clip a person walking by. Even if the street is not narrow, a distracted driver might drift toward a sidewalk or pedestrian walkway.
Is the Pedestrian or Driver Liable in a Boston Pedestrian Accident Case?
Several Boston-area traffic regulations are in place to protect pedestrians from motor vehicles. However, many pedestrians are nonetheless injured in auto accidents due to negligence on the part of a careless driver.
Motorists in Boston have a duty to exercise reasonable care when operating their vehicles. If a car, truck, or other vehicle strikes a pedestrian, the victim can seek to hold the driver accountable for negligent behavior. Under Massachusetts law, the plaintiff has the burden of proving that the driver:
- Owed them a duty of care
- Breached that duty
- Caused harm to the victim by violating their duty of care
The crux of establishing liability usually lies in proving that the driver’s breach of duty was the direct cause of the victim’s injuries. In other words, the injured plaintiff must demonstrate that injuries would not have occurred had the defendant not acted the way they did and that their injuries were a probable outcome of the defendant’s carelessness.
Massachusetts is a no-fault state, meaning pedestrians hit by a car will have their medical bills and/or lost wages paid by the automobile insurer for the car that hit them, provided that the car is registered in Massachusetts. If the car is registered in another state, then the out-of-state insurance policy benefits would apply, such as PIP or MedPay.
Pursuant to Mass Gen L Ch. 231 Sec 6D, pedestrians injured in a car accident may file a claim or lawsuit for pain and suffering damages if all of their related medical expenses are more than $2,000 or if they fall within one of the law’s exemptions such whole or partial loss of a body member, permanent and serious disfigurement, or loss of sight or hearing.
What is “Shared Fault” in a Pedestrian Accident in Boston?
Even in cases where pedestrians are in part responsible for their own injuries, the driver of the vehicle that hit them is also at fault for the accident. For instance, if a driver is texting behind the wheel, accidentally veers out of their lane, and hits a pedestrian walking in a prohibited area, both parties may share fault.
When there is blame on both sides, Boston courts use a modified comparative fault standard in order to determine appropriate compensation. According to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 231 §85, any judgment awarded to a plaintiff will be reduced by the percentage of the plaintiff’s comparative negligence as long as the plaintiff’s comparative negligence does not exceed 50%.
So, a plaintiff will not get any compensation if a jury finds that the plaintiff was 51% (or higher) at fault. If the victim meets or is under the at-fault threshold, the court would reduce damages awarded by a percentage equal to the amount of liability they hold.
Just as drivers have a responsibility to operate their vehicles safely, there are expectations placed upon pedestrians as well. Boston courts may consider the following pedestrian behaviors as evidence of negligence by the pedestrian, which may reduce the amount of compensation the plaintiff can recover:
- Walking into moving traffic or at a “do not walk” signal
- Walking on the road while under the influence
What Evidence Should I Collect in a Boston Pedestrian Accident?
You can begin collecting evidence immediately after your accident if you are able. Once someone has called for help and the police and emergency medical personnel are on the way, you should take some pictures and record videos of the accident scene. Preserving the accident scene is important because it shows a court details like weather conditions, the vehicle that hit you, people nearby, the location of the accident, and more. In some cases, photos and videos are the only evidence demonstrating this information to a court.
Depending on the location of your pedestrian accident, there might have been security cameras nearby. If we believe a security camera caught your accident on video, it is important that we obtain that video for our evidence. A video of your accident as it happened might be some of the strongest evidence in our arsenal.
You should also talk to any witnesses nearby who saw the accident and can back up your version of events. Perhaps another pedestrian was crossing the street at the same time as you can testify that you both had the right of way and not the driver. Witnesses can also testify about who they saw at the scene and whether they saw the defendant hit you with their car. Our Boston pedestrian accident lawyers can help you find witnesses and ask them to testify.
Your medical records are extremely important because they will help us prove damages. Your damages include your physical injuries and the costs of medical treatment. Medical records can inform a court about the extent of your injuries and the treatments administered by your doctor.
What Does “No-Fault” Mean in a Boston Pedestrian Accident?
After an accident, you might hear the term “no-fault” tossed around, but you might not know what it means. The term refers to how insurance is processed in Massachusetts. States are generally either no-fault states or fault-based states when it comes to how insurance claims are filed. In a no-fault state, drivers file claims with their own insurance, and it does not matter who was at fault.
In Massachusetts, drivers are required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. This insurance covers medical costs, up to 75% of lost wages, and vehicle replacement for up to $8,000. PIP insurance covers you regardless of fault, and even people who are completely responsible for an accident are covered. PIP also covers pedestrians, so the PIP coverage for the driver who hit you should be able to pay at least some of your damages in an accident case.
If you have car insurance, your own no-fault PIP insurance may still cover you in a pedestrian accident. You should speak to our Boston pedestrian accident lawyers about your case, and we will help you determine how to go about filing an insurance claim. If you do not have auto insurance, you can file a claim with the insurance of the driver who struck you.
Even if you are able to get coverage under your PIP insurance, it might not be enough. PIP is somewhat limited when it comes to vehicle damage and lost wages. You might still have to file a claim against the other driver’s insurance or file a lawsuit. In either circumstance, our team can help.
Can I Still Receive Compensation if I was Negligently Crossing the Road?
Negligence can be a very complicated issue to decide in court. It is not uncommon for both defendants and plaintiffs in pedestrian accident cases to share some degree of blame for the collision. Even if you are found to have contributed to the accident, you might still be able to recover compensation.
Massachusetts follows a rule of modified comparative negligence. Under this rule, a plaintiff’s damages are reduced in proportion to their share of the blame for their accident. So, if a plaintiff is deemed 10% to blame for a pedestrian accident, they can only recover 90% of their total damages.
The plaintiff’s negligence must not exceed the combined negligence of all defendants. This typically means that if a plaintiff is deemed to be more than 50% at fault, they can recover nothing. Even being only slightly more negligent, like 51%, will bar you from recovery.
An entity that can be challenging to file a lawsuit against is public transportation services. For example, your ability to file a lawsuit will be different from a private car than if you are hit by an MTBA bus.
Claims of plaintiff negligence are common tactics used by defendants, and our Boston pedestrian accident lawyers are prepared to meet these allegations head-on.
Talk to a Boston Pedestrian Accident Attorney Today If You Were Hit While Walking
If you were struck by a vehicle in Boston, you might be facing a long and expensive recovery. Our Boston pedestrian accident lawyers can help you get justice and compensation. Call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan today at (617) 396-7295 for a free case review with our Boston personal injury lawyers.