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Pedestrian accidents continue to be a tragedy in New Jersey

You may be familiar with the principle of pedestrian right-of-way at crosswalks. In a pedestrian accident, however, that knowledge may provide small comfort.

Automotive crashes involving pedestrians continue to be a serious issue in New Jersey. In this year alone, more than 20 pedestrians have been struck, and three have been killed.

New Jersey's traffic laws were recently amended to require drivers to stop --and stay stopped --for a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk. Even if the pedestrian is crossing at an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, the driver must yield the right-of-way. In addition, whenever any vehicle is stopped to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, New Jersey also requires the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear to refrain from passing the stopped vehicle.

Understanding your legal rights as a victim is a complex subject you might not have time to properly address in the aftermath of a pedestrian accident. For example, you may have serious injuries, medical bills, impaired job function, insurance claims and countless other distractions of your time. Even though the issue of fault may seem clear to you, the driver that struck you may challenge the recovery you seek. The driver's insurance company may also seek ways to avoid paying your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses.

If you were crossing the street at a point other than in the crosswalk, the issue of legal responsibility for the accident becomes even more complicated. New Jersey's traffic laws require pedestrians to obey pedestrian signals and use crosswalks at signalized intersections. Consequently, a driver that struck you while you were crossing outside of the crosswalk area may seek to completely avoid paying you a recovery. At a time like that, you want an attorney on your side to help you navigate the law.

Source: The Star-Ledger, "Your comments: Fort Lee police crack down on jaywalking after 3 deaths," staff, May 11, 2012

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