Cell Phone Use Puts Pedestrians at Risk

July 14, 2016

We have all heard of the risks of texting and driving, however, have you ever thought about the dangers of texting and walking? Many pedestrians these days ignore the possible risks of distracted walking and are constantly looking down at their phones to text, engage in social media, watch videos, play music, and many other activities. While these activities may make walking more entertaining, such multitasking can also result in serious injuries to pedestrians.

A report on pedestrian safety published by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) has a section devoted to the potential dangers of distracted walking. The report indicates that, in 2010, over 1,500 pedestrians sought medical care for injuries they sustained while walking and using a cell phone. Cell phone use can lead to pedestrian injuries in many different ways–for example, a pedestrian can walk into the path of oncoming traffic, may walk against traffic signals without realizing it, may trip and fall down into the street, or may even walk off a bridge or a cliff, resulting in fatal injuries. In short, using electronic devices while walking creates the risk of serious accidents and injuries.

Recovery in Distracted Walking Accidents

Generally, when a pedestrian is struck by a car and injured, blame can be assigned completely to the driver and the pedestrian can recover financially for their injury-related losses. However, this may change significantly if the pedestrian was distracted by a cell phone at the time of the crash. If the pedestrian stepped out directly in front of a car and there was nothing the driver could do to avoid the collision, the driver will likely be free from liability.

On the other hand, in many situations, both the pedestrian and the driver may be at fault for the collision. For instance, imagine that a distracted pedestrian walks into the street without looking and an oncoming car had plenty of time to stop and avoid a crash. However, the driver of the car was also distracted and, therefore, did not see the pedestrian until it was too late to stop or slow down. Both parties would likely be found to have contributed to the accident.

New Jersey law recognizes that contributory negligence should not eliminate the possibility of recovery for an injured accident victim. Instead, whoever was less responsible for the accident still has an opportunity to recover at least partial damages. If the driver was found to be over 50 percent responsible for the crash, a pedestrian can still recover for a percentage of their losses.

An Experienced Pedestrian Accident Lawyer can Assist You

The experienced attorneys at the Wilton Law Firm in New Jersey have represented the rights of numerous injured pedestrians. While the safe choice is always to avoid distracted walking, you should not hesitate to discuss your case with our team even if you were using a cell phone at the time of the accident. We will evaluate your legal rights for free, so please call us at 732-275-9555 today.

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