If you are injured in an auto accident, there are several things that are vitally important to achieving a successful result. Not the least of these things is making sure that the judge provides your jury with instructions that properly frame the issues regarding the law and the rules of the road, in order to give you a fair chance to win. Advocating for proper jury instructions is just one of the many ways that it helps to have experienced Massachusetts pedestrian accident attorneys working for you, giving you a better chance at a proper outcome.
One case from Cambridge was an example of a situation in which jury instructions were very important. Mikel was a pedestrian crossing a street in East Cambridge when a city truck, which was making a left turn, ran into her. The collision caused Mikel to suffer serious and long-term damage to each of her knees. Based upon the harm that she’d suffered, the pedestrian sued the city.
In any type of vehicle-related personal injury case (whether it’s car-versus-truck, car-versus-car, or vehicle-versus-pedestrian), one of the key parts of achieving success is the two-sided issue of fault. You must prove that the person or entity you’ve sued committed some act or omission that caused the accident, and you must establish that you were free from blame or bore only a lesser responsibility for the accident.
In Mikel’s case, that issue of relative fault was an area that the defense attacked. It produced evidence that potentially proved that, although the pedestrian was in the crosswalk, she may have crossed against the pedestrian signal. Based on that evidence, the jury found Mikel 35% at fault.
The jury still, though, found the city 65% at fault. This degree of success that Mikel achieved highlights another area that is important to obtaining a successful result in your case: making sure that the jury instructions that the judge gives your jury are the right ones. In this pedestrian’s case, the judge instructed that, in accordance with G. L. c. 89, § 11, drivers have a legal obligation to yield to pedestrians who are within marked crosswalks. That law says that no vehicle may proceed through a crosswalk if there is a pedestrian in it, even if the driver has a green light in his favor. That instruction may have been an important element in Mikel’s obtaining a judgment in her favor.
The appeals court upheld that decision. The jury instruction that the judge gave Mikel’s jury was both consistent with the statute and consistent with “generally understood rules of the road.” Those rules require that drivers yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, even if the driver has a traffic signal in his favor. Even the truck driver who hit Mikel acknowledged that pedestrians in crosswalks have the right of way, regardless of whether or not the driver has a green light.
If you have been hurt in an auto accident, make sure that you are as prepared as you can be and give yourself a strong chance to recover compensation. Reach out to experienced Plymouth County truck accident lawyer Michael S. Mehrmann. Our team is proud to have assisted numerous drivers, passengers, and pedestrians from across Plymouth County, including in Kingston, Plymouth, Marshfield, Hanson, Carver, Pembroke, and Duxbury. To find out more about how we can assist you, call (781) 585-3911 or contact us online.
More Blog Posts:
Enforcing the Settlement You Achieved Through Mediation in Your Massachusetts Auto Accident Case, Plymouth County Injury Lawyer Blog, Dec. 22, 2017
A Boston Paramedic Was Still Entitled to His Workers’ Compensation Benefits Despite Being Suspended from His Job, Plymouth County Injury Lawyer Blog, Dec. 18, 2017