Local municipalities have a duty to make sure that their streets are as safe as possible for pedestrians to cross. This means that traffic lights should always function and traffic signs should always be visible. Moreover, if it comes to the attention of a local government that a specific area is especially dangerous, there should be steps taken to correct the problem.
Recently in Cranston, Rhode Island, a 40-year-old woman was injured when she was struck by a car while she was in a crosswalk. The woman, who was thrust into car's windshield, was taken to the hospital and is in serious condition.
The accident is currently under police investigation, but residents in the area say there have been previous problems at that specific intersection. In fact, one resident claims he had been struck, albeit not seriously, in that crosswalk. He also stated that he had worked to have the city address the situation. The man said that although the city put up some signs, there should be further measures taken.
Often, if a pedestrian is struck in a crosswalk, the driver is considered liable. But given that there are residents stating that the intersection was known to be hazardous, then it may be appropriate to look at the inherent safety of that crosswalk.
In examining this sort of accident scene, some important questions should be asked. For example, is the current speed limit appropriate given the number of pedestrians who cross the street? Are the crosswalks placed in areas where it may be difficult for a driver to spot a pedestrian? Does the street have enough lighting? Essentially, anything that may have contributed to the accident should be brought into question.
Cities and towns owe it to their citizens to keep the streets safe for pedestrian traffic. If you or someone you love was injured in an unsafe crosswalk, a Rhode Island personal injury attorney may be able to help you file a civil suit to get fair compensation.
Source: WPRI 12, "Resident: Pedestrian accident not the first for Cranston street," Annie Shalvey, Feb. 26, 2016