A car accident in which an unoccupied vehicle hit a pedestrian in Beacon Hill yesterday is under investigation. At approximately 3:15 p.m., emergency personnel were called to the intersection of Mt. Vernon Street and Charles Street. Several witnesses dialed for help after witnessing an empty BMW barrel down Mt. Vernon Street, crash into a Smart car, and then into a woman who was crossing the street in a crosswalk. The 45-year-old pedestrian was dragged across the street by the moving vehicle and then pinned by the car.
Boston Fire spokesman Steve MacDonald reported that before emergency crews arrived, construction workers had attempted to lift the car off of the victim. She was eventually extricated by firemen who used a special jack to lift the vehicle. Police report that she had life-threatening injuries, including a severe head injury and multiple fractured bones. She was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital and is reported to be in serious condition.
The owner of the BMW reportedly double-parked on Mt. Vernon Street, put his car in neutral, and applied the emergency brake before entering a house on the street to visit his uncle. It is reported that his emergency brake failed and the vehicle thus started rolling down the hill. A witness who had seen him run to the accident when he had learned of what had happened, described him as being visibly panicked. Witnesses in cafes and shops in the Beacon Hill neighborhood responded quickly to call for help.
Both the owner of the vehicle and the pedestrian remain unidentified and there have not been any charges as the investigation continues.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation reminds pedestrians to:
• Follow the rules and cross in the intersection, cross when the pedestrian signal lights up with the “walk” light, cross with the green light if there is no pedestrian signal, and in both instances, look both ways for turning or approaching vehicles.
• Walk along the shoulder of a road facing traffic if there is no sidewalk.
• Pay attention to vehicles that are backing up or pulling out as drivers may not see you in their rear view mirror.
• When walking, wear bright or florescent colors in the daytime and lit or reflective material at night to increase your visibility
Because the vehicle in this case was not occupied when it hit the pedestrian and the vehicle´s emergency brake reportedly failed, the legal implications of this accident could be very complicated and will undoubtedly need an experienced Boston pedestrian accident lawyer. If you have been involved in a pedestrian car accident, it is in your best interest to contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
This case has numerous angles we could discuss, for the purpose of this blog we will look at some of the insurance coverage issues that the injured pedestrian may encounter. Clearly the pedestrian has a claim against the owner and his insurance carrier. While the owner claims that the brakes failed, this argument doesn’t necessarily get him or his insurance carrier off the hook. The vehicle needs to be looked at by experts that can determine if the brakes failed and if that was the sole cause of the accident. In addition, the pedestrian may find out that the vehicle didn’t have enough insurance coverage to pay for the injuries in the claim. It will be important to know if the pedestrian had their own insurance policy or if someone in the household had an active automobile insurance policy. Generally hiring a personal injury attorney can help you get answers to these questions in a prompt manner. In addition an injury lawyer can assist with the medical bills, lost wages and other expenses that can occur with an accident of this magnitude.
Woman seriously injured by rolling vehicle on Beacon Hill, The Boston Globe, May 25, 2011
Chaos ensues after empty car hits woman, The Boston Globe, May 27, 2011
Pedestrian Safety Tips, Massachusetts Department of Transportation
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If you have been injured on the road, an experienced Massachusetts accident lawyer can advise you.