New Jersey is one of only three states where pedestrians account for more than 20 percent of all traffic accident fatalities. According to the 2010 survey of pedestrian accidents prepared by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), New Jersey had the fifth most pedestrian fatalities in the country behind only California, Florida, Texas, and New York.
A fatality is considered a wrongful death when the at-fault party caused the accident through an act of negligence or wrongdoing. Therefore, cases involving a pedestrian running out into traffic or jaywalking will likely not result in a valid wrongful death claim because the victim was the at-fault party.
However, there may be exceptions in cases where the driver did not exercise due care. For example, if the driver was speeding and struck a jaywalking pedestrian, he or she could still be held liable despite the fact that the pedestrian was not following the rules of the road. New Jersey pedestrian accident cases that could result in a wrongful death claim usually involve drivers who are speeding, distracted, drunk, or otherwise negligent.
Under New Jersey Statute 39:4-36, “The driver of a vehicle must stop and stay stopped for a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk, but shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.”
A wrongful death claim is usually filed by the victim’s immediate family members, such as a spouse, children, or parents. Such compensation cannot offer comfort to grieving family members, but it can provide them with financial support for medical bills, lost future wages, funeral expenses, and other related damages.
If you have lost a loved one in a New Jersey pedestrian accident, the skilled auto accident injury lawyers in New Jersey at Lependorf & Silverstein can help you better understand your legal rights and options. Please call our offices at (609) 240-0040 for a free and comprehensive consultation.