Boston pedestrians walk because it’s a great way to get from here to there. The organization Walk Score calls Downtown Boston a “Walker’s Paradise.” It gives the area a 98 rating, because most Bostonians can get things done without having to rely on a car. As a pedestrian, you enjoy the many benefits walking provides, but you probably realize that you must also walk with caution. When you share the streets with risky drivers, you encounter safety challenges every time you walk out of your front door.
As a pedestrian, you put your life in jeopardy when you cross the street or stand on a corner waiting for the traffic light to change. The same bad driving behaviors that cause vehicle-to-vehicle crashes also put pedestrian’s lives at risk. When drivers consume alcohol, drive too fast, do drugs, or drive distracted, they rarely keep the safety of others in mind.
If you were in a pedestrian accident in Boston, speaking with an attorney is one of the best things you can do to safeguard your future. At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman, our experienced, compassionate Boston pedestrian accident attorneys with managing partner Larry Nussbaum at the helm, stand ready to hold negligent drivers accountable when their irresponsible behavior causes harm to our neighbors. For more information, contact us online, or call Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA or Sibley Dolman at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH).
Aggressive & Compassionate Legal Representation for Injured Pedestrians
At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman, we believe that injured pedestrians deserve strong legal representation. We have proudly done our part by providing our injured clients with big-firm advocacy and small-firm compassion. We have used our skills and our firm’s resources to investigate and evaluate our client’s accidents and navigate critical legal issues. Our lawyers have placed all legally responsible parties on notice of our clients’ claims and worked hard to make them pay. Our law firm has always been committed to obtaining justice for our injured clients.
Our Firm’s Results
Our lawyers have recovered millions of dollars for our injured clients, as we have always put their needs first. When negligent parties and their insurance companies have negotiated fairly, we have resolved our clients’ cases without resorting to litigation. When possible, we have negotiated aggressively to reach a fair settlement. We’ve also settled legal disputes informally by working with mediation professionals.
When our clients’ cases required a more formal approach, we have filed lawsuits on their behalf. Our attorneys have prepared their cases, presented their evidence, and let a judge or jury decide.
Each accident and injury is unique. While we can’t promise a specific result, we nonetheless believe our case results demonstrate our commitment to producing the best possible outcomes.
How Do Pedestrian Accidents Occur?
If you’re an active Boston resident, you often become a pedestrian at some point during your day. You walk to the bus stop, the subway, or to the train station. You run or jog through the park. Even if you drive wherever you go, you walk through parking lots and along city sidewalks. Wherever you walk, you run the risk of encountering a negligent driver.
Too often, pedestrian/driver encounters end up with tragic outcomes. When a pedestrian accident occurs, it’s often contingent upon several largely predictable factors.
Age of the Victim
Children: Pedestrian accident-related injuries are the number four cause of death for children ages one to 18. When adults cross the street, it’s an act they often take for granted.
While it seems like a simple action, a child pedestrian crossing that same street without incident must successfully execute these separate tasks.
- Wait for a gap in traffic, a traffic signal, or a crossing guard
- Estimate oncoming vehicle speeds and distances
- Predict how long it will take for a car/cars to pass
- Decide if it’s safe to cross
- Cross the street in time to avoid a crash
Risky drivers aren’t always considerate of a young child’s inexperience in making these safety-critical decisions. Sometimes, children don’t recognize important clues when a driver doesn’t intend to slow down or stop. Depending on a child’s age, crossing the street without incident is often beyond their capability. The National Science Foundation discusses these and other child pedestrian safety issues in the article Looking Both Ways. It reviews virtual reality research with child pedestrians and bicyclists ages six to 12.
The researchers confirmed that children’s limited cognitive, physical, and judgment capacities put them at risk for injury. As children age, they understand the dangers and can even analyze the safety issues. In virtual experiments, however, they still displayed poorly timed movement and poor judgment. Even when they analyzed a street-crossing situation correctly, children still made risky moves.
Older adults: A report, Identifying Countermeasure Strategies to Increase Safety of Older Pedestrians, addresses several older adult pedestrians’ safety concerns. Hearing, vision, cognitive, and physical limitations contribute to older adults’ pedestrian accident frequency. When struck by a vehicle, an older adult’s physical frailty contributes to even more serious injuries than younger victims.
When doctors treat older pedestrians, they must often consider underlying health and condition-related complications. A study of 945 adult pedestrian accident victims documents this trend. Researchers who analyzed adult pedestrian treatment at a Wisconsin urban trauma center determined that elderly patients required inpatient care more frequently. They also found that elderly adults were twice as likely to die from their injuries. NHTSA’s Pedestrian Traffic Safety Facts confirms this theory. Nationally, pedestrians in the age group 60 to 64 had the highest percentage of accident fatalities.
Type of Vehicle
When a pedestrian dies in a single-car accident, the impact usually involves a private passenger vehicle: a car, pickup, or SUV. The collision usually involves a front-end impact. Throughout Boston, certain types of private passenger vehicles present unique risks to pedestrians.
Hybrid and electric cars: NHTSA research determined that hybrid and electric vehicles (HE) had a 20 percent higher chance of being involved in pedestrian accidents than vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICE). An HE engine’s minimal, often undetectable noise level reduces a pedestrian’s ability to hear a vehicle coming. Hybrid and electric engines silence the anticipated approaching vehicle “warning.” It eliminates one of the last chances a pedestrian has to avoid a collision and subsequent injuries.
Sport utility vehicles: As SUVs are larger and heavier, they consistently cause more injuries than smaller, private passenger vehicles. Their weight and mass increase their ability to cause fatal injuries. Buses and large trucks present an even greater challenge: They are even larger and can cause more damage, but are thankfully involved in fewer pedestrian accidents.
Urban pedestrians are more likely to become car accident victims than rural pedestrians. This is primarily because cities have more traffic and more pedestrians. NHTSA’s 2018 Geographic Summary of Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities explains that 74 percent of pedestrian traffic fatalities occur in urbanized areas. 89 percent of all pedestrian traffic fatalities occurred in what the NHTSA designates “metropolitan statistical areas.”
MSAs include an urban core and surrounding areas with significant ties to the core. The Boston Metropolitan Area had fewer pedestrian fatalities as compared to similar metropolitan areas.
Common Boston Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Pedestrian injuries usually occur in a distinct pattern.
The pattern varies depending on a range of factors. The most common adult injuries include:
- Head trauma
- Traumatic brain injury
- Leg injuries
- Pelvic injuries
- Tibial plateau damage
- Ligament damage
Child pedestrians often sustain lower-extremity injuries. These frequently include.
- Musculoskeletal injuries (Femur fractures and tibia/fibula fractures)
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spine dislocations
- Head and Neck trauma
“Pedestrian Injuries: Emergency Care Considerations“ discusses adult and childhood pedestrian injury patterns.
It explains how a typical front-end private passenger vehicle accident often causes “…three distinct impacts…” in adults.
- The bumper strikes an adult’s lower legs.
- It then pushes the legs forward and the thighs hit the hood’s edge.
- The upper body and head connect with the car’s hood or windshield.
When a car is traveling at a low speed, an adult pedestrian often remains on the hood. If the car is traveling at a higher speed, it sometimes flings the pedestrian to the road or into another object. The additional impact causes even more injuries.
Because of a child pedestrian’s size and stature, they absorb the impact in different parts of the body than an adult. The most serious child-pedestrian injuries often involve the lower extremities. An article published in Applied Bionics and Biomechanics reviews pediatric-lower extremity injuries. These types of trauma affect children differently than adults. The damage severity reflects the unique property differences in their bones, cartilage, knee ligaments, muscles, tendons, and growth plates.
Recovery Issues in Boston Pedestrian Accident Cases
Children and older adults are more vulnerable to accidents than people in other age groups. Based on 2018 crash statistics, the NHTSA determined that child-pedestrians comprised 17 percent of the children fatally injured in traffic accidents. At 22 percent, senior pedestrians had the highest traffic fatality rates of all age groups. When an injured pedestrian survives a vehicle impact, the nature and extent of the injuries play a key role in their recovery.
Lower Extremity Injuries
Lower extremity fractures, joint trauma, and soft tissue injuries are often a problem for both adult and child pedestrian accident victims. They often occur when a vehicle’s front-end strikes a pedestrian. For seniors, lower-extremity fractures present recovery difficulties. A senior’s weakened bones increase fracture healing times and diminish positive recovery outcomes.
Childhood fractures usually heal more quickly than fractures in older adults. A child’s developing bones sometimes encounter healing difficulties. This is often a problem with growth plate fractures in a child’s legs, wrists, ankles, feet, and hips.
Both child and adult patients require rehabilitation and exercise for optimum recovery. If an injured victim has been hospitalized, they usually begin rehabilitation and exercise before the hospital releases them. Seriously injured seniors often require nursing home care after they leave a hospital setting.
Head injuries are more common in adult pedestrians than children. They often cause traumatic brain injuries, so healing times and recovery strategies vary.
Whether a TBI is mild, moderate, or severe, patients manifest symptoms under four categories.
Mild to Moderate TBIs
Mild to moderate TBI patients endure a range of complications, often beginning with the diagnostic process. The Pediatrics article “My Child Doesn’t Have a Brain Injury, He Only Has a Concussion” explains how physicians often misapply the “concussion” diagnosis to mild TBIs. A concussion diagnosis often leads to shorter hospital stays and access to fewer treatment options
It’s not always easy to recognize the symptoms when a person sustains a mild to moderate TBI. Patients often feel shaken up, slightly disoriented, irritable, and dizzy. It’s often up to those around an injured victim to recognize the symptoms. Most physicians anticipate complete healing after a short period of rest, although some patients have continuing symptoms. They experience worsening conditions such as PTSD and Post Concussion Syndrome, a disorder that continues long-term. For older adults, a TBI increases the risk of disorders such as dementia.
Obvious symptoms can make severe TBIs more readily identifiable. Patients sometimes lose consciousness, slur while speaking, suffer from convulsions, and manifest other extreme symptoms. The most severely injured TBI patients sometimes enter a coma or a vegetative state.
Severe brain injuries cause physical, emotional, behavioral, and cognitive impairments that often last a lifetime. Patients usually require rehabilitation before returning home. TBIs affect their earning capacity, relationships, driving abilities, and most other facets of their lives. TBI injuries also reduce the victim’s life expectancy and contribute to future injuries and conditions.
Both adults and children sustain spine injuries during pedestrian accidents. The severity depends on the vehicle involved and the speed at impact. Doctors usually diagnose children with spine dislocations, although they occasionally sustain spinal cord injuries. Spinal cord injuries often contribute to significant childhood impairments and fatalities.
Impairments are more profound when a pedestrian sustains a spinal cord injury. The damage is more serious when an impact severs the cord (complete injury) versus damaging it (incomplete injury). Patients lose function at and below the location of the damage on the spine. SCI patients often develop paralysis and they lose bodily functions.
If you were injured in a pedestrian accident in Boston, contact Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman. Our attorneys have recovered millions of dollars for our injured clients; let us determine if we can help you. Contact our Boston office at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH). You can also leave a message on our contact page or connect with us through live chat.
Boston Pedestrian Accident FAQ
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman have helped injured pedestrians fight back. We understand that there’s a lot of confusion after a pedestrian accident occurs. We’ve created our Boston Pedestrian Accident FAQ so pedestrians can understand the facts and know the legal options even before an accident occurs.
Is there a formal definition for pedestrians?
The NHTSA description includes “…any person on foot.” This includes walkers, runners, joggers, hikers, or people who are sitting or lying down when they are involved in a vehicle accident.
How often do pedestrian accidents occur in Boston?
The Statewide Crashes and Fatal Information Data Dashboards provide 11 years of crash data.
A search shows the following pedestrian accident details in the most recent year for which data is available:
- 133 pedestrian accidents occurred in Boston.
- 15 serious injuries
- 49 minor injuries
- 27 possible injuries
- 9 fatal injuries
- 18 no injuries
How do Massachusetts’ pedestrian accident statistics compare to other states?
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration provides several resources for comparing pedestrian accident data. Safety Facts Report Tables and USA Crash Map Data recent data show pedestrian accidents documented in one recent year.
- Fatalities in Massachusetts, 78
- Fatalities in New Jersey, 173
- Fatalities in Washington, 102
- Fatalities in Tennessee, 136
- Fatalities in New York, 262
- Fatalities in California, 893
- Fatalities in Florida, 704
As with other vehicle-related casualty numbers, pedestrian-accident statistics vary widely from state-to-state. The NHTSA Pedestrian Traffic Safety Facts publication shows these variances based on the number of fatalities as compared to the number of state residents.
For example, Massachusetts had 1.13 pedestrian accidents per 100,000 population. Although California had more pedestrian fatalities than any other state, New Mexico had the highest rate based on population: 3.96 fatalities per 100,000 population. Climate and tourism contribute to California and Florida’s pedestrian accident numbers.
How does Boston compare to other cities?
NHTSA data show that Boston, thankfully, had a low number of pedestrian fatalities compared to other major cities:
- Boston, 9 pedestrian fatalities
- Los Angeles, 117
- New York, 112
- Phoenix, 110
Does the NHTSA document daily accident statistics?
The NHTSA estimates that, in the United States, a pedestrian sustains fatal injuries every 84 minutes. These fatalities accounted for 17 percent of all vehicle accident-related fatalities.
What time of day do most pedestrian fatalities occur?
Twenty-six percent of all pedestrian fatalities in the United States occurred between 6:00 and 8:59 p.m. The trend is different for child pedestrians involved in school transportation-related accidents. More children died from their injuries between 7:00 and 7:59 a.m. and from 3:00 and 3:59 p.m. These times correlate with children going to and from school.
What is the most common type of Boston pedestrian accident?
Pedestrian accidents vary, but many have certain characteristics in common.
These factors stand out in the NHTSA’s nationwide pedestrian accident statistics.
- 86 percent of the pedestrians who died were in single-vehicle accidents.
- Most pedestrians killed in single-vehicle accidents sustained injuries from the front of the vehicle.
- 11 percent of those fatally injured were involved in multi-car accidents.
- 19 percent of fatally injured pedestrians sustained injuries from a hit-and-run driver.
- When a large truck was involved, the impact with a pedestrian was often on the side of the vehicle.
What are the most common Boston pedestrian accident injuries?
Pedestrian-related accidents often differ depending on whether the victim is an adult or a child. Injury variations occur primarily due to differences in height, stature, and physical frailty. Vehicle type and speed change injury type and severity.
Common Adult Pedestrian Injuries
- Head trauma
- Traumatic brain injury
- Leg injuries
- Pelvic injuries
- Tibial plateau damage
- Ligament damage
Common Child Pedestrian Injuries
- Musculoskeletal injuries (Femur fractures and tibia/fibula fractures)
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spine dislocations
- Head and Neck trauma
Who is injured more frequently in Boston pedestrian accidents?
Men sustained fatal injuries more frequently than women.
While the average age of a fatally injured victim is 48, that statistic includes younger and older victims.
- Of the 6,283 pedestrians fatally injured nationwide, 4,363 (69 percent) were male.
- Pedestrians aged 60 to 64 sustained fatal injuries more frequently than other age groups. They accounted for twenty-two percent of traffic-related fatalities.
- Twenty-one percent of all fatally injured pedestrians were age 65 or older.
- Children 10 to 14 years old had a higher percentage of pedestrian injuries (6 percent) compared to other groups.
Who determines if the other driver is liable for my Boston pedestrian accident Injuries?
As most pedestrian accident cases involve private passenger vehicles, insurance companies usually first attempt to determine liability. The evidence must show that the vehicle driver was negligent.
Courts determine legal responsibility using this 4-part negligence formula.
- Duty owed: Did the driver have a duty to drive with greater care.
- Duty breached: Did he breach his duty to you?
- Proximate cause: Did his actions cause the accident?
- Damages: Did the accident cause your injuries?
Insurance companies often make the initial liability decision, but that doesn’t mean their determination is accurate or fair to the injured. If you aren’t pleased with the outcome, you have legal options to consider next, such as mediation or a lawsuit.
What happens if a Boston driver hits me and leaves the scene?
If a hit-and-run driver injures you, you may have a valid claim under your Underinsured Motorists coverage. UM coverage is mandatory under Massachusetts law.
Traditional personal auto policies provide coverage under these circumstances.
- A vehicle hits you and the driver has no liability insurance.
- A driver hits you and leaves the scene unidentified.
- A driver’s liability carrier declines coverage or becomes insolvent.
- A driver is insured but has inadequate coverage or insufficient coverage to pay for your damages.
When you have a valid UM claim, your own insurance company owes the damage the other party should have paid.
How much time do I have to file a Boston pedestrian accident claim?
Massachusetts law provides a three-year statute of limitations for filing a pedestrian accident injury claim. You have three years from the date of your accident to settle a claim with the responsible party’s insurance company or file a lawsuit. If you file a lawsuit before the three-year deadline, you prevent the statute of limitations from barring your pedestrian accident claim.
Do I have to file a lawsuit to get a settlement for my Boston pedestrian accident injuries?
You don’t always have to file a suit to get a settlement. Insurance companies often attempt to settle claims with injured victims quickly. They also sometimes refuse to pay. Unfortunately, you won’t know if they’re committed to paying your claim fairly until they make the first settlement offer.
How can your Boston pedestrian accident lawyers help me?
When you’re injured in a pedestrian accident, it usually takes a lot of time and energy to heal. Boston personal injury attorneys work on your behalf while you take time off to rest and recover. When you establish a formal working relationship, attorneys become involved in your case immediately. They focus on tasks that protect your legal interests.
Insurance company representatives and other parties often try to resolve claim issues by contacting you directly. They ask multiple questions and record your answers. They expect responses whether you’re in pain, on medication, or exhausted because of your healing process. When you decide to work with an attorney, they intervene with outside parties on your behalf and provide many legal services.
Address your concerns during a complimentary consultation. When you’re involved in a pedestrian accident, a pedestrian accident attorney provides the level of service you need. You should feel comfortable with your attorney selection as you’ll be working together for months or years. During a legal consultation, an attorney allows you to determine if you can form a strong working relationship.
Attorneys offer meeting options that work best for your circumstances.
- In-person consultation
- Phone consultation
- Scheduled callback
- Live chat
Listen to your version of the accident. If the involved parties agreed on how an accident happened, it would save everyone a lot of time and energy. Unfortunately, in a pedestrian accident, those involved usually have differing opinions on fault. Your attorney listens to your version for an initial understanding as to how the accident occurred. An injured person’s responses help a seasoned lawyer determine the next move to make on your behalf.
Your version helps an attorney pinpoint liability and damage issues. It provides landmarks and milestones with which to begin investigating your accident. During your initial consultation, an attorney also discusses your injuries, medical expenses, disabilities, and potential recovery.
Answer your questions. You’ll have questions, even if you’ve had previous injury claims. During an initial conversation, your attorney addresses basic questions. Your attorney can help you understand what to expect in the coming weeks or months, and the best way to pursue a positive outcome.
Handle your case without billing you each month for legal services. Most professionals want a guarantee that you can pay their bills before they provide services. Pedestrian accident attorneys usually handle injury claims on a contingency basis; this means that they work on your claim and don’t charge a fee until they resolve your case.
When your attorney negotiates a settlement or secures a court judgment, they receive a percentage of your settlement. This allows injured victims to have the quality representation they need without worrying about ongoing costs.
Investigate your accident. To build a strong case on your behalf, pedestrian accident attorneys use your version as an investigative starting point.
They rely on their firm’s manpower and resources to document the facts as soon as possible.
- Photograph the accident scene
- Examine the involved
- Document the driver’s version of the accident
- Search for and talk to witnesses
- Review police reports and any photos
- Determine all the potentially negligent parties
- Gather medical information
Assess liability. When attorneys have enough information and evidence, they analyze your case to determine your legal options. They develop a liability theory and evaluate the evidence to make sure that it supports their allegations. Their liability theory becomes the backbone of future negotiation and litigation.
Evaluate your damages. Before an attorney attempts to settle your case, he must understand the value. Attorneys obtain and review your medical records, medical bills, rehabilitation information, narrative medical reports, and other relevant medical data. A pedestrian accident attorney has a history of prior cases and claims by which to measure current evaluations. Attorneys also review recent settlements, court cases, and judgments for case value input.
Negotiate your settlement. Negotiation sessions take place in different situations and with different parties. Plaintiffs’ lawyers and insurance companies sometimes negotiate liability claims. Self-insured entities often hire claim professionals to resolve their cases. Your attorney negotiates and attempts to resolve your injury claim with whoever represents the driver
File a lawsuit. Insurance companies and pedestrian accident attorneys don’t always agree on liability and damage. When the other parties fail to negotiate fairly, attorneys file lawsuits seeking more favorable results. Attorneys follow Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure and draft a complaint. The complaint names you as the plaintiff and the vehicle driver as the defendant. To initiate the litigation process, your attorney files a copy with the court clerk and formally serves the other driver
Lawsuits can take some time to resolve. The process usually includes multiple hearings and extensive pre-trial discovery. That’s why most parties continue negotiating until they reach a settlement outside the courtroom.
Handle the Alternative Dispute Resolution process. Massachusetts’ Dispute Resolution Rules make ADR mandatory in certain situations. This speeds the settlement process by bringing adverse parties together in a neutral setting. An independent mediator encourages plaintiffs and defendants to share their evidence, discuss their damages, and negotiate a resolution.
Go to trial. Some cases do make it to trial. This usually occurs when the parties are too far apart to resolve their differences. During the early developmental stages of a case, experienced attorneys understand that a case might end up in a courtroom. They develop their cases early to prepare for that contingency. During a trial, attorneys usually call on medical, financial, and liability expert witnesses whom they have already deposed.
If your attorney recommends a bench trial, a judge alone will hear your evidence. In a jury trial, a jury will hear the evidence under a judge’s guidance. Once both sides present their evidence, either the judge or the jury renders a verdict.
Prepare settlement documents. Whether your attorney settles or litigates your case, you must execute formal paperwork to close it out. Your attorney prepares a dismissal entry to remove the lawsuit from court records. The other parties’ attorneys usually prepare a release. Your attorney reviews it and you sign it. Once you and your attorney complete and submit your paperwork, the insurance company or self-insured company sends the settlement funds to your attorney. The attorney deducts the firm’s fee and pays you your share.
Pedestrian accident injury claims are often complicated, and very challenging to handle without legal representation. A dedicated Boston pedestrian accident attorney can look out for your legal interests, intervene with insurance companies, and pursue the best possible outcome for your case.
Contact Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman to schedule a free consultation. We’ll meet with you and determine if we can help you. You can reach our Boston location at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH). You may also leave a message on our contact page or connect with us via live chat.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
76 Canal Street, Suite 302
Boston, MA 02114