Peter Thompson
Peter Thompson

Inadequate Room While Passing

Pedestrian Accidents Caused by Failure to Leave Adequate Room When Passing

Walking is a fun and beneficial form of physical exercise. It is a healthy and environmentally friendly form of transportation. However, numerous potential hazards are present when doing so. For decades, pedestrian accidents were steadily on the decline. This decrease was not only attributed to an increasing awareness of pedestrian safety concerns on the part of motorists, but also pedestrian concern for their own safety whenever walking near traffic. However, beginning in 2010, the number of pedestrians injured or killed in accidents involving motor vehicles rose dramatically. This alarming increase was particularly puzzling because it came at a time when overall traffic safety had been on the upswing, and the occurrence of fatalities had taken a downturn.

Approximately 80,000 pedestrians are injured, with another 5,000 losing their lives in motor vehicle collisions across the United States. In the past five years, New Hampshire has had a reported 1,402 pedestrian involved collisions, resulting in over 40 fatalities.

The potential for serious injury exists in each of these scenarios, as pedestrians are among the most vulnerable people on our roadways. Even a seemingly innocuous collision can lead to the following:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Broken bones
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Coma
  • Lacerations and bruising
  • Death
New Hampshire’s Laws Concerning Passing a Pedestrian

New Hampshire Revised Statute 265:39 provides: “Where a sidewalk is not available, any pedestrian walking along and upon a way shall walk only on a shoulder, as far as practicable from the edge of the roadway. Where neither a sidewalk nor a shoulder is available, any pedestrian walking along and upon a way shall walk as near as practicable to an outside edge of the roadway, and if on a two-way roadway, shall walk only on the left side of the roadway. pedestrians are instructed to walk on sidewalks when practicable, and when sidewalks are not available, facing approaching traffic on the left side of the road or the shoulder whenever possible.” Recognizing the serious potential for danger in a motorist passing a pedestrian, New Hampshire enacted several pedestrian safety laws intended to protect pedestrians. In addition to requiring motorists to generally exercise due care to avoid a collision with a pedestrian, New Hampshire law requires motorists to pass no closer than three feet and sound a horn when necessary. New Hampshire law also requires motorists to proceed with extra caution when children are walking along the side of the road, as well as individuals who are disabled or obviously intoxicated or confused.

Establishing the Negligence of the Motorist

An injured pedestrian may have a viable personal injury claim if he or she establishes that the motorist violated a New Hampshire safety law. By failing to abide by the three foot passing rule, for example, liability can often be established, resulting in the defendant’s liability for the plaintiff’s past medical bills, future medical expenses, loss of wages, loss of enjoyment, pain and suffering, and more.

We have handled numerous cases involving a pedestrian who was hit by a car when walking along the side of the road. Most of the time the motorist is not paying proper attention to the road or is distracted. Another leading cause of pedestrians being hit by a motorist is the driver’s intoxication. In several of those cases we have had to disprove the driver’s claim that our client was not walking where he or she should have been walking and was too close to the lane of travel. Even where there were no witnesses other than our client and the driver, we have been able to establish through physical evidence on the roadway/shoulder where our client was located at the time of the collision. This evidence, combined with evidence of the location of damage to the vehicle has enabled us to overcome the driver’s defense. In one case we handled recently, we subpoenaed the driver’s cell phone records which showed that the driver was texting at the time of the collision.

Peter Thompson & Associates: Protecting Injured Pedestrians in New Hampshire

At Peter Thompson & Associates, we have successfully represented countless pedestrians who have been injured on New Hampshire roadways. Our experienced, knowledgeable, and compassionate attorney team will zealously champion the rights of all injured pedestrians while leading you towards a full recovery. Call us today at: 800-804-2004 to schedule a free initial consultation.