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Car-Pedestrian Accidents

Wrongful Death in Pedestrian Accidents (Podcast)

Pedestrian accidents are especially deadly due to the nature of a car hitting an unprotected individual. Attorneys Robert Mazow and Kevin McCullough, with Mazow McCullough law firm, discuss the steps to take after a loved one is killed in a wrongful death pedestrian accident.

John Maher: I’m John Maher and I’m here today with Robert Mazow and Kevin McCullough of the law firm Mazow McCullough, a personal injury law firm with offices in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Today, we’re talking about wrongful death cases involving pedestrian accidents. Robert and Kevin, welcome.

Robert Mazow: Thank you, John.

Kevin McCullough: Thanks, John.

John: How common are fatal pedestrian accidents in Massachusetts and New Hampshire?

Robert: As far as common, we see a lot of them. I can’t give you numbers necessarily, but most of us are driving around, many are distracted, certainly a lot more cars on the road these days than there used to be, so we’re seeing a lot . . . unfortunately, we’re seeing a lot of pedestrian motor vehicle wrongful death crashes. Thankfully in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, there are very strong state police accident reconstruction teams that are able to go onto the scene and to work on these cases, but the unfortunate fact is that we’re seeing a lot.

John: And certainly with pedestrian accidents where a person is hit by a car, it’s much more likely that there’s going to be a death in that type of accident than if it was a car and another car.

Robert: Of course. Obviously the pedestrian, either they’re walking or on a bicycle or in no position to be able to protect themselves from whatever tonnage happens to be striking them. We’re either seeing very severe injuries or many times, unfortunately, death when a person is struck by a vehicle.

Determining Fault in a Pedestrian Accident

John: Who is usually at fault in a pedestrian accident?

Kevin: John, determining “at fault” can be extremely difficult after the fact, as Rob alluded to a moment ago. With wrongful death claims in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, the state police gets involved and does a thorough investigation, a reconstruction, and a crash analysis. But, it’s all after the fact and they do the same investigation whether there were multiple witnesses or no witnesses and there are so many different factors that can come into play when you’re assessing responsibility, whether it was on a main roadway, a side street, a speed limit involved, if we can calculate or determine how fast the vehicle was going at the time of the incident, weather conditions, what people are wearing for clothing.

When you’re involved in a case like this and you’ve lost a family member and you’re considering who to hire as an attorney or a law firm, you want to make sure you go to the law firm that not only knows what they’re doing and how to do it, but they’re willing to go through those steps — as many steps as necessary — to conduct that investigation and to make a good assessment of who’s at fault and who’s responsible in order to pursue that client.

Investigating a Pedestrian Accident

John: You mentioned that the police do their own assessment and investigation into the accident. Do you as attorneys also do a separate investigation?

Robert: We actually — if we can, if we’re on notice soon enough — we have our own group of experts that we work with. We try to get them to the scene of the crash so they can take their own measurements, so they can look at the vehicle, crash data information, so they can speak to witnesses, because we need to gather information just like the state police need to gather information, because the family is counting on us to provide them with information. Sometimes, [with] the state police, it takes many, many months sometimes for them to come to a conclusion, so we want to make sure that we can have as much information as we possibly can, and yes, we do have excellent, top-notch experts that we send out to the scene on occasion.

Pedestrian Wrongful Death Lawsuit Considerations

John: Okay. What are some of the things that make a pedestrian wrongful death lawsuit different from other types of lawsuits?

Kevin: Certainly the emotional aspect that goes into it from the initial meeting with the clients and the family members of the pedestrian who was hit, and walking through the handling of an estate, whether it’s at the probate court or working with other attorneys to be able to move forward with a claim and have a legal entity to move forward with a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, up through establishing and calculating the damages. These are horrific, horrific crashes and incidents involving death, sometimes there’s more suffering involved than other cases depending on how the collision occurs or how the person passes. There are so many different levels of investigation to help prove the claim, but also when you’re calculating the different components of damages and how to pursue those damages and present those damages on behalf of the estate and the family members.

Insurance Coverage of Pedestrian Wrongful Death Accidents

John: Rob, can you talk a little bit about insurance coverage and how that comes into play in these types of pedestrian wrongful death lawsuits?

Robert: Sure. When a pedestrian is killed as a result of being struck by a motor vehicle, the motor vehicle’s insurance becomes the primary layer of insurance. It would be the one responsible for paying for any burial, funeral expenses up to a certain point, medical bills if there are any for ambulance transportation. If the pedestrian had some opportunity to live and receive treatment before they passed, there would be certain medical bills that would be taken care of, and then if we’re able to establish that the motor vehicle was at fault, there would be a layer of coverage available to pay for the compensation for the pain and suffering, for the actual wrongful death benefits.

If the pedestrian themselves has certain insurance coverages available, things like what’s called ‘underinsurance motor vehicle coverage’, we could then look to that insurance policy to provide any excess insurance. If the vehicle that struck the pedestrian and killed them was uninsured, we can look at the pedestrian’s own insurance coverage uninsured coverage to look for coverage in that aspect as well.

John: So even though as a pedestrian you’re not driving a vehicle, your own car insurance can come into play.

Robert: That’s correct.

John: Okay. That’s really great information, Robert and Kevin. Thank you again for speaking with me today.

Robert: Thank you, John.

Kevin: Thank you, John.

John: For more information on personal injury cases, visit the firm’s website at helpinginjured.com or call (855) 693-9084.

Pedestrian Deaths Hit 30-Year High in United States

Pedestrian Deaths Hit 30-Year HighThe Governors Highway Safety Association reports that 250 more pedestrians were killed in accidents in 2018 than in 2017. The 6,227 pedestrian fatalities in 2018 represent an increase of 51.5% since 2009 when 4,109 pedestrians were killed. This is the highest number of pedestrian fatalities in 30 years since the high of 6,482 deaths in 1990.

In 2017, the number of pedestrian deaths fell by 2%, but that brief trend reversed and pedestrian deaths started climbing again in 2018. Analysts have identified several things that could be contributing factors to making the roads more dangerous.

More Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) on the Road

People are drawn to SUVs because of their convenient spaciousness and their aesthetics, but many people buy SUVs because they feel more protected on the road. While drivers may feel safer behind the wheel of an SUV, pedestrians aren’t as safe when they are hit by one of these heavy vehicles. When an SUV hits a pedestrian, that individual is twice as likely to die as they are after being hit by a sedan.

In 2018, passenger vehicles were responsible for the most pedestrian deaths, but the number of SUVs involved in these fatalities has increased by 50% over the last five years; compare that to the number of deaths caused by passenger cars, which has only increased by 30%. The increase in SUV-related fatalities mirrors an increase in the number of SUVs on the road. These roomy vehicles have become the bestselling style of vehicle. In fact, SUVs and trucks now account for 60% of all automobile sales.

More Pedestrians on the Road

While more and more people are buying SUVs, others are taking a more fuel-efficient approach to life by embracing walking. Between 2007 and 2016, the number of people who have walked to work in the last week increased by 4%. Additionally, the sheer density of people in many urban areas correlates to an increase in pedestrian fatalities. For instance, the 10 states with the most population growth between 2017 and 2018 all saw an average increase of 5% in pedestrian fatalities through the first half of 2018.

Increased Nighttime Walking

Almost all (90%) of the increase in pedestrian deaths happened at night. Drivers can’t see as well as night, and often, they tend to be driving while drowsy or even while intoxicated. Sadly, half of all pedestrian fatalities involved impaired drivers or pedestrians.

Some areas have taken action against these deaths and have successfully reduced pedestrian fatalities. In particular, New York City has a Vision Zero program. The city wants to reduce pedestrian deaths to zero so that crossing the street on foot doesn’t come with a potential death sentence. To that end, New York City has reduced speed limits and encouraged expanded law enforcement against traffic violations, including failure to yield to pedestrians. Because of programs like that and increased driver awareness, the pedestrian fatality rate has actually fallen by 15% in the country’s 10 biggest cities.

Rising Smartphone Usage

Approximately 3,166 people died in accidents caused by distracted drivers, according to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That number includes drivers, passengers, and pedestrians, but unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of data related to how distracted driving in general and smartphone use in particular affects pedestrian fatalities. However, as smartphone usage has increased, so too have pedestrian fatalities; analysts assume a connection.

Between 2010 and 2017, smartphone use increased five-fold. At the same time, wireless data consumption increased by 4,000%. That means that smartphone users consume 40 times more data now than they did just seven years ago.

Additionally, the number of people who talk on a cell phone regularly while driving has increased by 46% since 2013. About half of these people used a hand-held (rather than a hands-free) phone while driving and over a third of them admitted to texting while operating a vehicle. AAA claims that talking on the phone increases your chance of getting into an accident by four times, and texting makes you eight times more likely to crash.

Get Help After a Pedestrian Fatality

Pedestrian fatalities are almost never an accident. In most cases, they are caused by driver negligence. If you or a loved one has been hurt or injured while crossing a road, standing on the sidewalk, riding your bike, or doing a range of other pedestrian activities, you deserve help.

At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we work with people after a range of car accidents and personal injuries. To learn more about your options and to set up a no-cost case evaluation, contact us today.

Understanding the Massachusetts School Bus Safety Zone Law

As the school year gets back into full swing, roadways become busier with bright yellow school buses packed with kids. While student safety is a top concern for school officials and parents, it should be for all drivers on the road, as well. However, many Massachusetts residents fail to follow proper traffic laws when it comes to school bus stops. This sometimes results in injuries, and sadly, even fatalities. Here’s what every driver needs to know and understand about the school zone safety law:

See a bus, slow down and stop

When you see a stopped school bus with flashing lights, or one that is approaching your intersection, you should immediately slow down to stop. School buses are equipped with flashing lights and stop signs that extend outwards when children are entering and exiting the vehicle. It’s crucial that drivers act responsibly and bring their vehicles to a complete stop when these flashing lights are visible.

Drivers are required by Massachusetts law to come to a complete stop while students enter and exit the vehicle. You must abide by the law, stop, and then wait for the flashing lights and stop sign on the bus to be retracted before proceeding. Children need to have the opportunity to safely cross the road when boarding and exiting the bus.

Passing a stopped school bus

Massachusetts law requires that motorists in all lanes in both directions on a two-lane roadway must come to a stop when a school bus is stopped for pick-ups and drop offs. When children are entering or exiting the vehicle and the lights are flashing, all other drivers on the two-lane roadway have to stop or risk a $250 fine, or worse. The law applies to emergency vehicles as well. School bus drivers can report the license plate numbers of vehicles that illegally pass them to police.

Another important aspect of the law to note is that all drivers must remain 100 feet behind a school bus at all times. Buses typically will begin indicating a stop with flashing lights at least 200 feet before actually stopping. This is for safety purposes, since buses make frequent stops.

Rules of the road in school zones

The speed limit for all school zones is 20 mph. If you get caught speeding in a school zone, you can be fined twice the amount of the violation currently in effect. It is also important to note that motorists are not allowed to pass while in a school zone, and pedestrians have the right-of-way in a school zone crosswalk. Distracted or reckless driving can cost a driver more than a ticket, and it could cost a child their life.

What parents can do

Parents can help to protect their kids by walking them to the bus stop and ensuring that they board safely. Talking to children about bus safety is important. Kids need to know that they should wait until the bus comes to a complete stop and has the lights flashing before stepping off of the curb to board. They should always be alert and aware when walking to and from their bus stop, especially when crossing a street.

Failure to stop can cost lives

Drivers who attempt to quickly get around the bus can and have caused serious bodily injury, and even death. Young children between the ages of 4 and 7 are at the greatest risk, according to the Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services.

While you may not be able to see a child running across the street, the stopped bus with flashing lights is an indicator that children are present and have not safely made it on or off of the vehicle. Bus drivers will turn off the lights when they see that the children have reached safety, and that’s why it is critical that drivers on the road follow these cues. Drivers who fail to do so are breaking the law.

Do your part to keep Massachusetts school children safe by obeying the school bus zone law.

How to Help Someone Who Has Been in a Pedestrian Accident

Witnessing an accident can be a frightening experience and it can be difficult to know what to do. However, if you happen to be one of the first people to witness a pedestrian accident, you are in a unique position to help the person who is injured and with quick action, you may even be able to save their life. Here’s how you can help someone who has been in a pedestrian accident.

Pedestrian Accident

Call for Help

The very first thing you should do after witnessing a pedestrian accident is to call for help. If you are the only one on the scene and have a cell phone, call 911. If you and one or more others are at the scene, one person should call 911 and another person can attend to the victim. If you do not have a phone, call out to others who may be near for help.

Protect Them from Additional Harm

A pedestrian who has been hit by a vehicle is at an increased risk of being injured again if others do not see the accident and also crash into them. To ensure own safety and the victim’s, make sure that all traffic has stopped. You can then signal to others around that there has been an accident, and emergency service operators can give you information on how to best protect the victim from additional harm given the circumstances.

Follow Emergency Services Instructions

When you call for help, emergency service operators may ask you to assess the victim to determine if they have a pulse, are breathing, or are bleeding heavily from anywhere. The operators may instruct you on how to look for certain signs and coach you on what to do if the victim is seriously injured. For example, you may be asked by emergency service operators to perform CPR on the victim until help arrives.

Give Your Witness Testimony

Once the victim receives medical attention, you should seek out the police officer who responded to the scene. The officer may approach you first for questions. You should provide your witness statement to the officer, letting them know everything you saw occur starting at the beginning of the accident. This will be a very important part of the victim’s case later on.

If you’ve been a witness to someone who was in a pedestrian accident, the most important thing you can do is call for help and let the authorities know what you saw happen. If you or a loved one were hurt in a pedestrian accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact us today for a consultation by calling 855-693-9084 or 978-744-8000.

Summer Bicycle Safety

Summer Bicycles on City Street - Bicycle SafetySummer is finally here, especially this week with temperatures in the 90’s.

Along with summer come summertime activities like hiking, camping, pools and oh yeah bicycle riding. Well I’ll be honest, since the days started to get warmer I’ve been saying to myself that I need to go on a bike ride or ride my bicycle to work but here we are,  1 month into summer and my bicycle has yet to touch pavement matter of fact its yet to come out of the basement. However, for those of you who are indeed riding your bicycle anywhere and everywhere this summer, here are some safety tips.

Be on the lookout.

Be ready to stop for pedestrians  at crosswalks, driveways and intersections. In order to help you stay alert try to not get distracted by things such as using cellphones to text while riding or listening to music so loud that it will drown out your surroundings.

Use proper hand signals.

When riding your bicycle on the road with other cars it is important to use hand signals in order to let the other drivers on the road know what your next moves are going to be.

Use bike paths whenever possible.

If no bike paths are available and you are forced to ride in the street, keep to the far right side of the road, and ride in the same direction as the traffic.

Wear proper clothing.

Try your best to avoid clothing that could get caught in the bike’s chain or wheels. If possible, wear bright colored clothes in order to make yourself more visible to the motorists on the road.

Get the right size bike.

It is important to have control of the bicycle you are riding. For this reason make sure your bicycle is appropriate for your size be sure to be able to have both feet firmly on the ground when standing over the top bar of the bike.

Enjoy summer bicycling and be Safe!

Practice Street Safety: Stop, Look and Listen!

Mother and son practicing road safetySchool is almost back in session. And for most children, this brings on a wave of emotions ranging from excitement to dread. Many people don’t stop to think that with the school season about to open up, they should be extra vigilant of kids not just in school zones, but throughout their communities as well as teaching their children road safety rules. Showing your children how to avoid dangers on the street should be as important as buying school supplies and uniforms.

Here are some tips for parents both new and old:

  1. Teach your kids from very early on the rules of the road and how to stay safe on them. Staying on the sidewalk and looking both ways when they cross should be at the forefront of their minds at all times when they are on the street. Never allow your child to cross the street from in between parked cars.
  2. Tell young children to only cross when the sign says “cross” after pressing the button and looking on the street to make sure it is safe to cross. Remember, teach your child how to Stop before crossing, Look and Listen for potential cars and only when it’s safe to cross, they may do so. Also, teach them to use the cross guard if one is provided.
  3. And last but certainly not least, teach them safety rules if they are riding their bikes to/ from school. Always make sure your child is highly visible, wears a helmet and knows that a bicycle is a vehicle and must follow the same rules as the road users.

Lead by example! To ensure that your child is practicing safety rules of the road, you must show them how it’s done. Getting hit by a car is the 3rd leading cause of death for kids 5-9 worldwide, according to online journal Psychological Science mainly because children are easily distracted and aren’t always paying attention to the road. By ensuring your child knows the importance of being safe on the road from very early on, you can prevent distractions.

Happy walking/riding kids!

Drunken Recklessness

A 17 year old man from New Hampshire has been charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated after crashing into two women shortly after 7 A.M. while driving to his graduation rehearsal from a night of drinking at a party. According to a report from Fox 25, the man was driving his Volvo sedan when he crossed over the center lane and hit the women, throwing them some distance. Both women were taken to local hospitals with injuries serious enough that they were later transported to hospitals in Boston. Police say the women were walking facing traffic when they were struck by the teenager.

The man was released on a personal recognizance bail and was ordered to turn in his license, obey a 9 P.M. curfew and not use any drugs or alcohol. He is set to appear back in court in a few weeks. Portsmouth High School officials reported the man will not be partaking in graduation ceremonies scheduled to take place today.

In 2012, 124 motor vehicle fatalities happened because of alcohol related offenses and 7027 people were arrested and charged with driving under the influence. At Mazow McCullough, we know how life changing it can be when you or a family member has been the victim of a drunk driver.  If you or a loved one has been the victim of another person’s negligence while driving under the influence, or if you have any questions, contact the personal injury lawyers at Mazow/McCullough, P.C. for a free consultation. The right lawyer can make all the difference.  You can contact us at 978-744-8000 or rem@helpinginjured.com.

Uninsurance and Underinsurance Coverage

Vehicle accident hit and run lawyer

Sometimes a motor vehicle accident is caused by a hit-and-run driver or an uninsured driver. There are certain notice requirements that you have to comply with when you’re involved in such an accident. You should do what you can do, within the limits of safety and within reason, to find out any information you can about the car that hit you and/or the driver of that car. The insurance company will question you, sometimes in great detail, about the circumstances of the accident. You should write down as much information as you can so that you can provide the insurance company with the information it requires.

Uninsurance Coverage in MA

In Massachusetts, uninsurance coverage is mandatory, and you will have this listed on your insurance policy. This is coverage that your insurance company has to offer. The minimum uninsurance coverage is $20,000, but you can pay to increase that coverage. It’s always a good idea to purchase as much uninsurance coverage as you can afford to protect you and your family in case you’re hit by an uninsured vehicle or by a hit-and-run driver.

Underinsurance Coverage in MA

Like uninsurance coverage, underinsurance coverage requires that you notify your insurance company as soon as practical that you might be making an underinsurance claim. Underinsurance is optional coverage that you will be able to have only if you pay additional money for the coverage. Again, it’s strongly recommended that you purchase as much underinsurance coverage as you can afford to protect yourself or your family from someone who causes harm but who has inadequate or limited insurance coverage.

Underinsurance coverage comes into play when you are hurt by a person whose insurance coverage is not enough to fully compensate you. If you have purchased underinsurance coverage in excess of the coverage of the person who hurt you, you can access this (your) coverage. However, there are many nuances and traps that you need to be aware of so as not to prejudice yourself and thus give the insurance company an argument not to provide coverage for you. As discussed, you need to notify the insurance company as soon as possible that you might be accessing this coverage. Perhaps more important, you must get your insurance company’s written permission to settle with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If you don’t get this assent to settle, you may lose the underinsurance coverage. There are other issues to be aware of to access this type of coverage, such as when you can access the coverage and whether you have to “exhaust” the at-fault insurance policy first.

Hit and Run in Salem

Picture of Loring Ave in Salem, MA.

An 83 year old woman was struck and killed by a hit and run driver this past month in Salem, MA. While she was crossing the street to dispose of weeds from her garden, which her family says she did often, she was stuck on Loring Avenue. According to witnesses at the scene, the driver sped off towards the Swampscott area.

The Salem native was pronounced dead after being taken to Salem Hospital. Salem Police responded to 911 calls at around 9:08 a.m. and are still on the lookout for a small dark colored car, possibly a Honda or a Mazda, according to witnesses. Police are also looking to speak to a man that helped the victim after she was struck. Witnesses are being encouraged to call the Salem Police Department with any information pertinent to the incident.

At the Law Office of Mazow|McCullough, P.C. we will aggressively pursue the responsible person(s) in question in order to hold them accountable, whether through mediation and arbitration, or by means of a jury trial. The injuries resulting from a pedestrian accident can result in serious injuries, often death. You can contact us at 978-744-8000 or info@helpinginjured.com. The Right Lawyer Makes All The Difference.

What’s the #1 misconception people have about car-pedestrian accidents? Part 2


There’s an assumption out there that when somebody’s injured there’s going to be a limitless supply of insurance benefits available to them. And often times people are surprised to find out that their settlement is limited on what the available insurance coverage is. In the state of Massachusetts the law only requires $20,000 in insurance coverage. And if you suffered an injury as a result of a collision, that money gets used very quickly towards medical bills and expenses and lost wages.

Contact a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer in MA

My name is Kevin McCullough with the Law Offices of Mazow & McCullough. If you’ve been injured, you need legal assistance, you have questions. You deserve answers to those questions and you deserve the best. Call our offices.

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