Pedestrians face a significant risk of being involved in a fatal accident when they walk, jog, or sit near roadways or parking lots. Tragically, every 88 minutes, a pedestrian dies in a traffic accident in the United States, which equates to approximately 6,000 people annually. In many cases, these accidents are not blameless and are caused by the negligence or deliberately reckless actions of a motorist.
If you have lost a loved one in a pedestrian fatality, you may be entitled to compensation if another party’s negligence or intent to harm caused the accident. Here’s what you need to know about wrongful death pedestrian accidents in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Negligence in Pedestrian Wrongful Deaths
To be considered responsible for a pedestrian’s death, the motorist must have acted negligently or with intent to harm. When they get behind the wheel of a vehicle, drivers have a duty of care to other motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians on the road. When they breach this duty by speeding, running stop signs, failing to yield, driving recklessly, not paying attention, or driving under the influence, they are acting negligently. When you bring forward a wrongful death pedestrian accident lawsuit or insurance claim, establishing negligence is critical.
If the motorist is operating a work vehicle or is on the clock while driving their own vehicle, they may be personally negligent based on how they are driving. Their employer may also be guilty of negligence. Depending on the circumstances, the business may have been negligent by failing to check the driver’s credentials, not training the driver, failing to perform safety checks or maintenance on the vehicle, or not outfitting the vehicle with safety essentials.
Both Massachusetts and New Hampshire allow contributory negligence defenses in wrongful death cases. If you bring one forward, be aware that the defense may try to argue that your loved one was partly or wholly at fault for the accident. For instance, if the victim was crossing the street outside of a crosswalk, the defense may try to argue that they caused or contributed to their own death.
If it’s determined that the victim contributed to the accident, the settlement may be reduced by the portion of blame assigned to the victim. For instance, if the victim is responsible for 30% of the accident, the compensation is reduced by 30%. Note that when victims are judged to be responsible for more than half of the accident, no settlement is awarded.
Hearing claims of contributory negligence can be difficult after you have lost a loved one, and having a settlement reduced due to these claims can be financially painful. To minimize the effects of contributory negligence defenses, you need an attorney with a successful track record of handling wrongful death pedestrian accident cases.
Wrongful Death Insurance Settlements
Often, attorneys first try to obtain a settlement from the driver’s insurance policy or the driver’s employer’s insurance policy, if applicable. If their liability coverage does is not adequate enough to cover the damages, a claim may be made on the victim’s underinsured motorist coverage, but this requires very strict adherence to procedural requirements.
In many cases, insurance adjusters tend to downplay damages to reduce settlements for their clients. To ensure that your case goes as smoothly as possible, you need to work with a pedestrian accident attorney who understands the nuances of pedestrian wrongful death cases and how to successfully establish maximum damages in these cases.
In wrongful death cases, damages typically include both economic and noneconomic damages suffered by the pedestrian, such as final medical expenses and pain and suffering. Additionally, damages may also include the monetary injuries experienced by survivors. This includes direct costs such as funeral and burial or cremation expenses, and the loss of financial support. It also includes indirect costs such as loss of consortium or companionship, pain and suffering experienced by the survivors, and mental anguish.
Contact the Pedestrian Wrongful Death Attorneys at Mazow | McCullough, PC
If you have lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident, we extend our deepest sympathies to you. We know that the loss of a loved one, especially in a tragic accident, can feel unbearable. Although we cannot bring your loved one back, we can use our experience as pedestrian accident lawyers to fight to help you find justice for the damages and economic losses suffered as a result of this tragic accident.
At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we give our clients personalized attention throughout their cases, and we work hard to treat our clients like we would want our own families to be treated. If you have lost a loved one in a fatal pedestrian accident, contact us today to set up a no-cost case evaluation.