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Failure to observe traffic laws could bar recovery by pedestrian

Obeying the traffic laws is something usually associated with drivers of motor vehicles, but a distracted driver or a driver who might run a stop sign may pose a danger to other motorists and pedestrians. Distracted pedestrians, or those disobeying the traffic laws by failing to use a designated crosswalk, may also pose a danger to themselves and to drivers who try to avoid hitting them.

An official investigation of a recent auto-pedestrian accident was unusual in that the vehicle was a police car, and the pedestrian was accused of being at fault in causing it. According to police, a police car making a turn hit the 45-year-old pedestrian. Although there was a designated crosswalk, the report said the woman was not using it while crossing in the path of the turning police vehicle.

The police report concluded that the pedestrian accident was caused by the unsafe conduct of the woman. One of the reasons given was that the officer had the right of way because he was turning on a green light.

Even though police appear to have exonerated the officer from fault in causing the accident, a judge or a jury might conclude otherwise. Factors such as the officer’s failure to observe the woman crossing the street might come into play even though the police vehicle might have had the right of way.

A pedestrian hit by a motor vehicle might benefit from having the facts and circumstances of the accident reviewed by a New Haven personal injury attorney. A skilled and knowledgeable attorney can offer an independent assessment of whether a claim for damages exists against a negligent driver.

Source: WTNH, “Police: New Haven police cruiser, pedestrian involved in crash,” Macy Corica, Oct 20, 2015

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