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New Jersey pedestrian killed; accident investigation pending

An SUV struck a New Jersey pedestrian recently, killing the 48-year-old man as he tried to cross a street at night. It was unclear from the initial reports whether this was a hit and run, but an accident investigation continues. Detectives with the local prosecutor's office investigated the scene of the accident, implying that criminal charges are possible.

Instances of such car accidents, including those involving pedestrians, can unfortunately be more common around the holidays. The days are usually shorter, meaning that drivers will more frequently have to deal with nighttime driving and the reduced visibility that comes with it. Moreover, the roads and sidewalks can be more crowded around Christmas time with last-minute shoppers and those traveling to visit relatives and friends.

Finally, as we have seen recently, New Jersey's winter weather can make for potentially hazardous road conditions. It may be difficult for a driver immediately to stop his or her car for a pedestrian.

For all of these reasons, a distracted driver may be particularly dangerous to pedestrians during the holiday season. If a pedestrian gets injured because a driver strikes them, then the pedestrian may be entitled to receive compensation for his or her injuries via a personal injury lawsuit. If, as in this case, the pedestrian dies from his or injuries, the family may bring a wrongful death suit against the driver.

We encourage all New Jersey motorists to exercise extra caution in areas with heavy pedestrian traffic during these next few days in order to ensure everyone has a joyful holiday season. Not only is this a good thing to do, it is also a driver's legal obligation to be on the lookout for pedestrians.

Source: The Star-Ledger, "Pedestrian struck and killed in Nutley car accident," Dan Goldberg, Dec. 21, 2012

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