Understanding Pedestrian Accident Laws in Massachusetts: Your Rights and Legal Recourse

As pedestrians, we expect a basic level of safety when walking streets and crosswalks. Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents are all too common, often resulting in severe injuries or even fatalities. In Massachusetts, pedestrian accident laws are designed to protect the rights of those on foot and provide legal options for victims and their families. The personal injury attorneys at Altman Nussbaum Shunnarah explore these laws, your rights as a pedestrian, and the steps you can take if you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian accident under Massachusetts law.

Understanding Pedestrian Accident Laws in Massachusetts

The Duty of Care for Drivers in Massachusetts

Drivers have a legal duty of care to operate their vehicles in a manner that ensures the safety of pedestrians. This includes yielding the right-of-way to pedestrians in crosswalks, maintaining a safe speed, and remaining attentive to their surroundings. Failure to uphold this duty of care can result in civil and criminal penalties for the driver.

Pedestrian Rights and Responsibilities 

While pedestrians have the right-of-way in many situations, they also have responsibilities to follow traffic signals and exercise reasonable care when crossing streets. Jaywalking, for instance, can reduce a pedestrian’s legal standing in the event of an accident. However, even if a pedestrian is partially at fault, they may still be entitled to compensation from the driver if the driver’s negligence contributed to the accident.

Determining Fault and Liability

Determining fault and liability is important for pursuing legal action. This process often involves an investigation by law enforcement, gathering evidence such as witness statements, surveillance footage, and accident reconstructions. Factors like the driver’s speed, distracted driving, impaired driving, and failure to yield can all contribute to establishing the driver’s negligence.

Compensatory Damages

If the driver is found to be at fault, pedestrian accident victims or their families may be entitled to compensatory damages. These damages can cover the following;

  • Medical expenses: This includes past and future medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and any necessary modifications to the home or vehicle for individuals with disabilities resulting from the accident.
  • Lost wages: Victims may recover lost wages if their injuries prevent them from working temporarily or permanently.
  • Pain and suffering: Compensation for diminished quality of life, emotional distress, and physical pain resulting from the accident.
  • Wrongful death: In cases of fatal pedestrian accidents, the victim’s family may pursue a wrongful death claim to recover damages such as funeral expenses, loss of income, and loss of companionship.

Comparative Negligence in Massachusetts

Massachusetts follows a modified comparative negligence rule. In such a case, a pedestrian’s compensation may be reduced proportionally if they are partially at fault for the accident. However, as long as the pedestrian is not more than 50% at fault, they can still recover damages from the other party.

Statute of Limitations

It is important to note that Massachusetts has a statute of limitations for filing personal injury or wrongful death claims. In most cases, the deadline is three years from the date of the accident or victim’s death. If you fail to file your claim within this timeframe, it can result in your loss of the right to pursue legal action.

Seeking Legal Representation

Handling pedestrian accident laws and the legal process can be difficult, especially when dealing with severe injuries or the loss of a loved one. It is highly recommended to seek the guidance of experienced lawyers specializing in pedestrian accident cases. Our professional pedestrian accident attorneys at Altman Nussbaum Shunnarah can help you;

  • Investigate the accident: We will thoroughly investigate the accident to gather evidence and determine the cause.
  • Build a strong case: We will work tirelessly to build a strong case that establishes negligence and maximizes the compensation you deserve.
  • Handle all communication with insurance companies: We will deal with insurance companies on your behalf, ensuring you receive a fair settlement.
  • Guide you through the legal process: We will provide clear and compassionate guidance throughout the entire legal process.

Contact Our Experienced Pedestrian Accident Attorneys

Pedestrian accidents can have devastating consequences, and victims and their families have legal rights and options available to them. At Altman Nussbaum Shunnarah, our team of dedicated pedestrian accident attorneys has substantial experience handling pedestrian accident cases in Massachusetts. 

We understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll these accidents can take on victims and their families. The team is committed to fighting for the justice and compensation these families deserve. We offer free consultations to discuss your case and answer your questions. Get in touch with us by calling 617-222-2222 today.

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