New York has one of the highest pedestrian traffic volumes in the country with millions of people thronging the streets each day. There is little surprise why pedestrian safety is a priority in the state. As many as 28 cyclist deaths and 121 pedestrian fatalities occurred in 2019 in New York City alone. 

These accidents occurred even when there is plenty of space for walking, awareness campaigns, and strict legislation in the state to prevent pedestrian injuries and deaths. You should consult with the leading personal injury attorneys in New York if you or a loved one was injured in a pedestrian accident. It can be difficult to receive fair compensation after proving fault without competent legal representation. 

Pedestrian Accident Statistics 

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In 2018, the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) released data on pedestrian traffic fatalities. The rate of pedestrian deaths decreased between the years 1990 to 2009. However, they have been on a steady rise since then. According to the report, New York state had the 6th highest pedestrian fatalities across the US in 2018. 

Pedestrians are the most vulnerable among all people that share public spaces and roadways. This is because pedestrians don’t have any safety gear (like cyclists) or a metal cage (motorists) to protect them. These are a few pertinent statistics related to pedestrian accidents:

  • There has been a year-on-year increase in pedestrian deaths in New York City
  • Traffic crashes in the US result in an estimated 6,000 pedestrian fatalities each year
  • An estimated 130,000 pedestrians require emergency medical attention in the US because of crash-related injuries each year
  • Traffic crashes cause 3,000 New York citizens to get seriously injured each year
  • Pedestrians younger than 15 years and older than 65 years are the most at risk

Top 10 Walkable Neighborhoods in New York

Statistics don’t give the complete picture though. NYC is a small part of New York State. NYC was part of 14 other global cities that was called by Insider to be better for pedestrians than motorists. Walk Score ranks other cities as follows on walkability parameters:

  • Port Chester – 78 (score) 
  • Mineola – 77 
  • Mount Vernon – 76 
  • Hempstead – 74 
  • Lynbrook – 74 
  • Yonkers – 71 
  • Franklin Square – 71 
  • Newburgh – 69 
  • Buffalo – 68 

Pedestrian Rights and Laws in New York

You should not let the statistics scare you away from walking. There are several laws designed for protecting the rights of pedestrians. You can protect your legal rights by following safe practices and knowing these laws. These are a few New York laws protecting pedestrian rights:

  • Pedestrians are required to obey traffic control signals at intersections
  • Drivers have a duty to yield the right-of-way at crosswalks to pedestrians if there is no traffic signal
  • Drivers must yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian using metallic or white cane or accompanied by a guide dog if approaching a crosswalk or an intersection
  • Pedestrians have a duty to yield the right-of-way to motorists on streets without a crosswalk
  • Drivers are required to yield to pedestrians when exiting or entering a building, alleyway, driveway, or private road

New York law also provides that drivers are required to exercise due care. Vehicle & Traffic Code, Section 1146 states that drivers have a responsibility to exercise due care to prevent hitting a pedestrian, bicyclist, or domestic animal on any roadway. They need to sound the horn wherever necessary to give warning. 

Rise in Pedestrian Injuries and Fatalities in New York

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The roads are deemed to be safer with fewer car accidents than before. However, pedestrian injuries and fatalities are on the rise. These are a few possible reasons:

1. Distracted walking

Distracted walking was the reason for a minimum of 1,100 pedestrian accidents in the United States in 2012. Texting, talking on the cellphone, reading emails, listening to music, and playing video games among other things are common pedestrian activities. 

However, scientific studies indicate that human beings are not capable of focusing on multiple things at a time. Many distracted walkers cannot help but walk straight into traffic. They are unable to respond to hazardous situations, like an oncoming car running a red light, in a timely manner. 

2. Distracted driving

Pedestrians are not the only ones to be blamed. Distracted driver, for pedestrians, is equivalent to a runaway vehicle. Drivers looking at their cellphone or elsewhere will not be able to abruptly stop for a pedestrian that steps on the street suddenly. Motorists may fail to check blind spots and accidentally turn into the pedestrian or run a red light. 

3. Drunk walking

It is said that it is safer for drunk people to walk home than drive. However, this doesn’t mean that drunk walking is completely safe. Impaired walkers are among the most common victims of pedestrian accidents. According to a study by New York University’s Langone Medical Center it was observed that 15% injured pedestrians had alcohol in their bloodwork. Drunk walking with distracted driving is a recipe for disaster. 

4. Fewer repercussions

It is difficult deriving a connection between the increase in pedestrian accidents and the failure on NYPD’s part to initiate criminal investigations against motorists that hit pedestrians. However, it is a well-known fact that only a handful of drivers ever get charged after hitting a pedestrian. The Accident Investigation Squad usually investigates only those accidents that involve death or serious injuries. 

These causes may shed light on why there has been an increase in pedestrian accident. However, they are not the only reasons. Drunk driving, reckless driving, poor road design, speeding, and jaywalking are a few other factors. 

Steps to Take if You Were Injured in a Pedestrian Accident

It can be confusing if you or a loved one was injured in a pedestrian accident. However, the immediate steps you take following an accident could shape your claim in the coming weeks. These are a few things you should do:

  • Get immediate medical attention even if you feel alright
  • Follow all doctor’s orders and keep up with the appointments
  • Gather evidence in the form of videos and photographs
  • Get the contact and insurance information of the driver that hit you
  • Get contact information of any eyewitnesses present at the scene
  • Consult with a capable personal injury attorney

You should not speak with the insurance company or adjuster without consulting with an attorney first. Insurance carriers strive to minimize their payout. In addition, you may say something that gets misconstrued and used against you. 

Having an attorney handle the insurance negotiations and paperwork on your behalf maximizes the likelihood of attaining fair and adequate compensation for the injuries. 

Liability in a New York Pedestrian Accident

The purpose of the tort law system is to help plaintiffs become whole again. This law applies to most pedestrian and personal injury matters. In simple terms, if you were injured, you have to prove that the entity or person was negligent, this negligence resulted in you getting harmed, and the harm caused cost money. 

Everyone owes a reasonable duty of care to the people around them. This is even for those people that have never met before. A motorist assumes this duty of care towards other people on the roadway when they get behind the wheel. As a pedestrian, even you have a duty of care towards anyone sharing the road to not cause an accident. 

There are several ways a driver can be negligent. These are a few of the more common ones that result in pedestrian injury:

  • Failure to stop at a stop sign or a traffic light
  • Speeding
  • Failure to slow down or move over for someone in the break-down lane
  • Failure to give enough room to a pedestrian to enter or exit a parked vehicle
  • Distracted driving
  • Impaired driving

 Pedestrians have a responsibility to follow the rules, but a driver has to yield the right of way wherever required. You should be aware that New York is a comparative negligence state. This means that injured plaintiffs can be held responsible for a portion of the accident liability. 

Compensation in Pedestrian Accident Claims

It is right to seek reasonable and fair compensation if you are a pedestrian that was injured in an accident due to full or partial fault of the motorist. You should consider getting in touch with a competent pedestrian accident attorney to learn your legal rights and prepare a strong lawsuit. This is especially necessary if you were hit by an MTA operated vehicle. These lawsuits can prove to be highly complex. 

Pedestrians can typically claim compensation for lost income, medical costs (past and future), and decreased quality of life along with other potential damages. You can increase your chances of recovering maximum compensation by working with a competent accident attorney in New York. 

Consult With a Skilled Pedestrian Accident Attorney in New York

Pedestrian accidents can result in life threatening injuries. If you or a loved one was injured in an accident, you should consider getting in touch with the knowledgeable pedestrian accident attorneys at the Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP for a free initial consultation. 

We have helped numerous victims and their families seek justice as well as obtained rightful compensation for their injuries and losses. Schedule a free and confidential consultation with us today by calling at 1-800-660-2264 or use our online form.


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