Pedestrian Accidents: Sharing the Road and Sometimes the Blame

A 73-year-old was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer while crossing the intersection of High and Appleton streets in Holyoke. The fatal pedestrian accident happened around 6pm. Police say the driver will not face any charges since he had a green light at the time of the accident.

The witness reports in the pedestrian accident death seem to indicate she entered the roadway when she should not have. While most people assume the driver in a pedestrian accident was negligent, that may not be the case here.

Who is at Fault for a Pedestrian Accident in Massachusetts?

Drivers have a great duty to operate their vehicles responsibly. Pedestrians who are injured by automobiles can make claims for money damages against the driver’s liability insurance. To succeed in your claim you will need to show the driver was negligent in hitting you.

Typically drivers who hit pedestrians are found to be at fault. But sometimes the pedestrian can do something to contribute to the accident as well. Massachusetts has a modified comparative fault standard, meaning you must be less than 50% at fault for the accident to recover anything. If you meet the threshold of less-than-50%-at-fault, then the court will reduce your award by the percentage they find you liable for. For example, if the court awards you $1 million dollars, but finds that you were 10% at fault for the accident then your damage award would be reduced by $100,00. (Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 231 section 85).

When is the Blame Shared for a Pedestrian Accident?

Just as drivers have a responsibility to operate their vehicles safely, there are expectations placed upon pedestrians as well. When a pedestrian victim contributes to the dangerous situation that caused the pedestrian accident, the court will determine how much blame should be attributed to them.

The following pedestrian behaviors will usually be held by a court to demonstrate negligence by the pedestrian, which can reduce or even the amount of money the injured pedestrian can recover:

  • Jaywalking, which involves crossing the street outside of a designated crosswalk.
  • Crossing against a traffic or “don’t walk” signal.
  • Walking in the roadway while drunk or high on drugs.

If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident then contact the Massachusetts accident lawyers at Pellegrini, Seeley, Ryan & Blakesley . Even if you're partially to blame, we can help you determine what your best options are. Contact us for a free consultation today. 

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