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Are New Jersey pedestrians safe from negligent downtown drivers?

Urban planners often cite downtown development as the wave of the future. Young professionals, in particular, may enjoy the convenience of living downtown. The location makes it possible to walk or ride a short distance on mass transit to work, while enjoying the nightlife and other amenities of the city after work. However, a recent pedestrian accident raises the question of whether such plans may never become a reality if urban dwellers do not feel safe walking around their downtown neighborhoods.

According to reports, an 81-year-old New Jersey man driving a Ford Escape struck a pedestrian on a recent Tuesday morning while making a left turn. The pedestrian, a middle-aged woman, had a light to cross the street. Unfortunately, the driver apparently did not see her, striking and running over her. When emergency responders arrived, they found the pedestrian conscious but unresponsive. She was transported to Jersey City Medical Center for an emergency surgery. Tragically, she did not survive and died a few hours later. 

Authorities have brought several charges against the driver, including the failure to yield to a pedestrian. Since the accident was captured on surveillance footage, authorities were able to evaluate the man's driving.

Although pedestrians may have the legal right of way, that distinction might provide small comfort to the woman's surviving family and friends. Nevertheless, the law can hold the driver accountable for his actions in a wrongful death lawsuit. With the help of an attorney, the surviving loved ones can sue for compensation for their loss, pain and suffering, and other damages, such as lost wages, funeral costs or other expenses.

Source: NorthJersey.com, "Rutherford man, 81, charged in accident that killed pedestrian in Guttenberg," Jeff Green, July 15, 2015

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