faq pedestrian accidents

Accidents involving pedestrians have increased to alarming levels in New York City. Data from the Department of Health shows that over 300 pedestrians are killed and more than 3,000 are hospitalized every year due to collisions involving motor vehicles and pedestrians.

Despite the fact that NYC is consistently rated as one of the most pedestrian-friendly cities in the world and the fact that the state has laws in place to protect vulnerable road users, pedestrians continue to get killed and injured on a daily basis – largely due to the callous attitude of drivers who do not know or care that pedestrians have just as many rights as they do.

In this article, we have answered the most commonly asked questions regarding pedestrian accidents in New York City. These answers can help you understand your rights and responsibilities as a pedestrian, the risks you face on the road, and the steps you need to take if you are injured in an accident.

What Are the Most Common Rules of the Road That Pedestrians Must Be Aware Of?

  • Pedestrians are required to use the sidewalk wherever possible and avoid walking on the road. If there is no sidewalk available, they can walk on the road – as long as you stay on the left side and are facing traffic.
  • Pedestrians must cross the road only when the signal shows the person symbol or the walk sign.
  • Pedestrians have the right of way at intersections (with or without marked crosswalks) and crosswalks.
  • Drivers emerging out of or entering into a building, alley, driveway, or private road are required to yield the right of way to pedestrians who are on the sidewalk – if the said sidewalk is an extension of the alley, driveway, or private road in question.
  • Pedestrians are prohibited from using interstate highways, expressways, and other such limited-access roads.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in New York?

The most common causes of pedestrian accidents in New York include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians
  • Failing to check for pedestrians (especially in blind spots) while exiting from or entering into parking lots and driveways
  • Drunk driving
  • Aggressive or reckless driving
  • Speeding

What Should I Do If I Am Hit By a Vehicle?

  • Get away from the traffic as quickly as you can, check yourself for injuries, and call the police right away.
  • Make a note of the at-fault driver’s name, their license plate number, make and model of their vehicle, and their contact information.
  • Take pictures of your injuries, the vehicle that caused the accident, damaged or broken personal belongings, and landmarks near the accident scene.
  • Make a note of or record everything you remember about the accident.
  • Talk to people who might have witnessed the accident and get their contact information.
  • Get medical help.
  • Inform your insurance provider that you have been involved in an accident.
  • Contact an experienced New York personal injury attorney as soon as you can.

Does New York’s No-Fault Insurance Cover Pedestrian Injuries?

Yes, it does. Under the no-fault law, pedestrians who are injured in a motor vehicle accident are entitled to receive up to $50,000 in compensation. While it might be sufficient for people who suffer minor injuries, it is too small a compensation for people who suffer serious, debilitating injuries.

This is why it’s vital to hire a New York pedestrian accident lawyer and sue the at-fault driver so that you can recover sufficient compensation to cover the cost of your short-term and long-term medical expenses as well as other financial losses.

What Kind of Damages Can Be Recovered in a Pedestrian Accident Claim?

Under New York law, you can seek compensation for the following economic and non-economic losses resulting from an accident.

  • Cost of medical treatment
  • Cost of rehabilitation
  • Cost of long-term care (in case you are left with a physical or cognitive disability as a result of the accident)
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Diminished quality of life

Is There a Deadline for Filing a Tort Claim in New York?

Yes, there is. You must file a tort claim against the at-fault driver within a period of three years – starting from the date of the accident. Otherwise, you will lose your right to sue the driver in question.

There are only two exceptions to the aforementioned law. These include:

  • If you were under the age of 18 or of unsound mind at the time of the accident, the deadline for filing the claim will only start when you turn 18 or when you are declared sane by a qualified medical professional.
  • If the driver in question leaves New York before you can file a claim, the period of time during which they were away from New York will not be counted as part of the deadline. Similarly, if the driver in question relocates to a different place in New York and lives under a false name, the deadline will only start when they are found, and the claim is filed.

The Driver Who Caused the Accident Was Cited. Do I Still Need to Hire a Lawyer?

Yes, you do. Even if the at-fault driver was cited, establishing their liability can be a difficult task – especially if there are no witnesses who can back up your side of the story in court. Moreover, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will do everything they can to deny liability or to reduce the value of your claim.

So, unless you are represented by a competent New York pedestrian accident attorney who can establish the liability of the driver, you might not be able to recover the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to under the law.

I Was Partially At Fault for the Accident. Can I Still Sue the Driver?

Yes, you most certainly can. New York follows the doctrine of pure comparative negligence, under which you have the right to seek damages for your injuries even if you were partially responsible for the accident. Your compensation, however, will be reduced in proportion to the extent to which you were at fault for the accident.

For instance, if you are awarded compensation of $100,000 and if it is determined that you were 20% at fault for the accident, you will only receive $80,000.

Should I Talk to the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Company Directly?

No, you should not. Remember – the at-fault party’s insurance company is not obligated to pay you what you are entitled to under the law. They will employ every trick in the book and then some to deny or reduce the value of your claim. If you accidentally blurt out something that can be construed as an admission of fault, they will use it against you and try to reduce the value of your claim to the extent they can. So, let your lawyer deal with them.

Should I Accept a Settlement Offer from the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Company?

Again, the answer is no. The insurance company will voluntarily come up with a settlement offer only if they believe that they might have to pay you a substantial amount of compensation if the case goes to trial.

What seems like a reasonable amount of compensation at the time might not be sufficient to cover the cost of your medical expenses and other losses. So, do not accept any offer or sign any papers without consulting your personal injury attorney. Your attorney is the right person to decide how much your claim is worth and whether a settlement offer is worth accepting or not.

Can I Sue Anyone Other Than the Driver Who Caused the Accident?

You can, depending on various factors. For instance, if the accident was caused by a faulty auto part, the manufacturer could also be held liable. If you are hit by a commercial truck and if it is found that the trucking company forced the driver to work in violation of federal guidelines, the company can be held liable. If you were hit by a drunk driver, the establishment that served them alcohol can be held liable under the dram shop law.

Injured in a Pedestrian Accident? We Can Help You!

At Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP, we know how devastating the consequences of a pedestrian accident can be. We are fully committed to providing the best possible legal representation for pedestrians who are injured by drivers who break the rules of the road with impunity.

For nearly 100 years, our firm has fought for victims of road traffic accidents and helped them get the restitution they are entitled to under the state’s law. We have a track record of recovering substantial damages – including several multi-million dollar settlements – for our clients.

We can hold the driver who caused the accident – as well as other parties, if any – accountable for their negligence and fights hard to recover the maximum amount of restitution possible under the law.

Call Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP today at 1-800-660-2264 or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation with one of our experienced New York personal injury attorneys.

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