The Halloween Parade in Point Pleasant Borough, New Jersey, is normally a time for excitement and celebration. Unfortunately, this year a horrible accident at the parade resulted in serious injuries to a 6-year old by who remains in the Intensive Care Unit in Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune, NJ. According to a report by NJ Advance Media for NJ.COM , the boy was walking with his mother along the parade route when he was run over by the wheel of a trailer used as a float around 1:44 p.m. The incident occurred along the parade route near the intersection of Bridge and Barton avenues. Although the cause of the accident remains under investigation, it is unclear as to why the operator of the float did not see the boy and his mother. It is also unclear as to why parade officials did not create a buffer are or safety zone around the float which prevented it from getting to close to people marching in the parade.
This type of accident is what is known as a “Pedestrian accident” or “Pedestrian knockdown” in the legal community. The issue of whether the driver of the float in a pedestrian accident was negligent rests on many different factors. An individual may have been standing, walking, jogging, or running when injured, but neither of these factors alone will ever be enough to prove a driver acted negligently and is liable for resulting injuries. A person may have been within a crosswalk or outside of it at the time of the accident, but these facts standing alone will not determine whether and to what extent the driver was negligent. Rather, the issue of negligence requires a careful investigation, analysis, and presentation of all of the relevant contributing factors to an accident. When all of the factors that relate to an accident are considered together, one realizes that almost no two accidents are identical. The skilled attorney must discover, expose, and be ready to present the combined facts to a jury in a manner that is likely to convince a jury, based on a preponderance of the evidence, that it is more likely than not that the operator of the vehicle failed to use reasonable care under the particular circumstances of the accident. Absent the experience and expertise to do this, one cannot expect to garner a favorable settlement or verdict on behalf of a victimized pedestrian.
Often the driver will claim he was operating the vehicle slowly, and carefully, and exercised reasonable care, yet was still unable to avoid the accident. Certainly if this is true then the driver should not be found negligent. On the other hand, it is fair to test the claims of the driver. For example we have handled multiple cases where the driver claims that a child or pedestrian ran out between two parked cars. This claim borders on a cliché defense that is repeated by defense attorneys because the claim has such appeal to a jury. However, in this instant circumstance, the driver of the float and the parade organizers will obviously know that the float would be operated within close proximity to marching children and pedestrians. It would be reasonable to expect that the driver and parade organizers would take precautions to minimize the risk of striking a child marching in the parade.
If you have been struck by a vehicle due to a driver’s negligence, you may eligible to receive compensation for any damages suffered. To see if you have grounds to file a lawsuit, call (212) 406-1700 or contact us online. All consultations are free of charge.