Tell the Jury
Q: At twilight, my car struck a pedestrian. She had been walking with a friend on the shoulder of the road. I never crossed into the shoulder. (Her friend has said that neither observed me cross into it.) Quite the contrary, immediately prior to the accident, the pedestrian had crossed into the road.
I was driving in my lane, and at or under the speed limit. After observing the pedestrian in the path of my car, I had no time to avoid the accident. This road has few lights.
A: As you appear to realize, pursuant to the Vehicle and Traffic Law, the general rule is that no motor vehicle may be driven over, across, along or within any shoulder or slope of a state controlled-access highway.
Moreover, both under the statute and under common law, every driver must exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian. When necessary, a driver must give warning by sounding the horn. In addition, you have a duty to see that which you should have seen through the proper use of your senses.
As for inconsistencies in the testimony, between you and the pedestrian, these present credibility issues for the jury to resolve at trial. It alone is charged with the responsibility to weigh and consider the behavior and demeanor of people who testify. Certainly, the jury does far more than merely listen and accept the answers that witnesses offer to questions.
The jury has the unique opportunity to observe the eye contact, body language, and voice inflection, and to contemplate those physical cues along with the other evidence, in deciding whether or not a party has met its burden of proof.
By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial
The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.
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