• May 11, 2017

William Laws Killed in Fort Smith, AR, Pedestrian Accident

Fort Smith, AR -- May 9, 2017, William Laws suffered fatal injuries as the result of an accident in which he was struck by a pickup.

The Arkansas State Police released preliminary details regarding the fatal incident. They say the accident happened just before noon at the intersection of 10th Street and Garrison Avenue.

According to police, 87-year-old Laws was walking in a crosswalk through the intersection at the time. As he did so, a Ford F-350 was attempting to make a left turn off of 10th Street onto Garrison Avenue. The driver somehow did not see the pedestrian in time and struck him in the roadway.

Laws was critical injured in the collision and was transported to Sparks Hospital for treatment. He later died there.

Police did not say if any charges or citations were filed after the accident. No further information is available.

Map of the Area

Commentary

The police haven't released information on who exactly had the right of way when this accident occurred. The intersection appears to be controlled by traffic signals, so that fact should be relatively simple to determine, especially if there's any sort of nearby surveillance.

That being said, when it comes to right-of-way and pedestrians, the rules surrounding who may be held liable for an accident can be complex. There's actually a common misconception that pedestrians always have the right of way. This is not at all true, but it stems from the fact that all drivers are expected to avoid pedestrians if at all possible.

Basically, if there's a pedestrian in the roadway, and a driver can reasonably avoid them--stopping or driving around them--then they have to do so. A driver can't just run down a pedestrian simply because their vehicle has the right of way. That being said, if a pedestrian suddenly enters the path of a vehicle, the driver has no way of avoiding them, and an accident occurs, then it's reasonable that the driver wouldn't be held liable for that accident.

This all comes to the specific details surrounding an accident. The details available for this particular accident are still unclear, so there's no way to say who could be at fault. Maybe Mr. Laws had the right of way at the time, though maybe he didn't. If he didn't, how long did the pickup driver have to avoid him? And if the driver could have, what prevented him or her failed to do so?

Ultimately, this accident will need to be looked at by an independent investigator to determine exactly what happened. Once all of the facts come to light, those affected by this accident can work toward a resolution. Even if that doesn't involve compensation, just knowing the full story of what occurred can be a welcome relief during a time of doubt and hardship.

--Grossman Law Offices

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