Comparative Negligence in Massachusetts Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrians, such as daily commuters, runners, hikers, and those traveling by stroller or wheelchair, are among the most vulnerable type of road users in Massachusetts. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) classifies these groups of people, along with young drivers, bicyclists, and school bus occupants as “higher risk transportation system users.” These individuals tend to suffer the most significant injuries and damages when they are involved in an accident. The NHTSA’s most recent data indicates that these users accounted for over 50% of the nearly 400 traffic fatalities reported to the state.

The rate of pedestrian fatalities occurs more frequently during colder months (October-February) than warmer ones (March-September). Research suggests that these rates coincide with low visibility, unsafe roadways, and judgment errors. Although motorists have a higher duty to act with reasonable care for others’ safety, pedestrians must also abide by a similar duty of care. Both motorists and pedestrians must take steps to prevent foreseeable danger to themselves and others. When a party fails to adhere to this standard, their right to damages may be reduced or barred.

Massachusetts follows a modified comparative fault model. Under this model, an injury victim who is more than 51 percent responsible for their injuries will be ineligible to collect damages. However, if the plaintiff is less than 51 percent responsible, their recovery will be reduced by their share of liability. Massachusetts pedestrian accident victims may face a reduction in their damages in cases where they unsafely enter the roadway, fail to use crosswalks, or otherwise violate traffic rules.

For instance, recently, a Massachusetts news report described a harrowing fatal pedestrian accident. In that case, the accident victim was a passenger in a car that pulled over into a highway’s breakdown lane. The passenger jumped out of the vehicle and ran into the road. The pedestrian was hit by an SUV and then by a tractor-trailer. Emergency personnel declared the pedestrian deceased at the scene of the accident. The case is still under investigation, as it is unclear why the man ran into the road. Every case is different and contains unique circumstances, and it is important that pedestrian injury victims and their families contact an attorney to discuss their rights and remedies.

Have You Been Injured in a Massachusetts Accident?

If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a Massachusetts car accident, contact the Law Offices of Barry Feinstein and Affiliates P.C. The attorneys at our law firm have over 25 years of experience advocating on behalf of Massachusetts injury victims against big insurance companies, negligent government entities, and at-fault motorists. Our attorneys provide clients with individualized and strategic case management. We understand how important it is to consider a victims’ rights. Through our representation, our clients have recovered significant amounts of compensation for their losses. Compensation in these cases often include payments for medical bills and ongoing treatment expenses, property damages, lost wages and benefits, and emotional distress. Contact our office at 800-262-9200 to discuss your personal injury lawsuit with an attorney at our firm.

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