According to a recent news feature from the Eagle-Tribune, an off-duty 20-year veteran of the Boston Police Department struck and killed a high school student while driving in Milton, Massachusetts.
Authorities say the 18-year-old female student was walking across the street as she was headed to her church. It was a weekday, and the teen was a tutor for younger students as part of an after-school educational program. As she was walking across the street, the 44-year-old driver, who is a sergeant with the Boston Police Department, allegedly struck her with his vehicle.
The teen was pronounced dead soon after.
The police sergeant stayed on the scene and spoke with responding officers about the accident. He said he tried to swerve out of the way to avoid hitting the decedent, but unfortunately was unable to do so. They did not release any information as to whether she was in a crosswalk or about whether she had right of way to cross at that time. Police have not issued any citations as of this time, and the cause of the deadly Boston area car crash is still under investigation.
In Boston car accidents involving pedestrians, one issue that may arise is whether the victim was crossing at crosswalk at the time of the accident. If a victim was in the crosswalk and crossing properly, there is often little question as to who is at fault in car accident. However, there are some accidents when a pedestrian is crossing the middle of the street or crossing at a crosswalk, but crossing when the light says do not walk. This obviously can make a case more complicated, and you should discuss these issues with your experienced Boston car accident lawyer.
However, even if the victim was crossing in the middle of the street, it does not mean the victim or the victim’s family doesn’t have a valid claim for personal injury damages. One way in which this situation may be handled involves what is known at common law as the last clear chance doctrine. Even if the victim is largely at fault, but the driver still had the opportunity to avoid the accident, meaning he or she had the last clear chance, and did not take the chance to avoid the accident, he or she may be deemed at fault. There is also what is known as comparative negligence. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Chapter 231, Section 85 of the General Laws provides that a plaintiff can still recover, even if he or she was also negligent, as long as that contributory negligence was not more than 51 percent.
If the plaintiff is determined to be more at-fault than defendant, the law generally precludes a recovery, but there may be exceptions to this rule, depending on the facts of a particular case. It should be noted that if the plaintiff is determined to be partially negligent, but less than 51 percent negligent, the total recovery may be reduced by the percentage of negligence assigned to plaintiff.
If you are injured in an accident in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.
Driver who struck teen an off-duty Boston officer, March 11, 2016, Eagle-Tribune
More Blog Entries:
Pedestrian Dragged Hundreds of Feet in Car Crash – Western Massachusetts, June 13, 2015, Boston Car Accident Attorney Blog