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NYC Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

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Compensation For Injured Pedestrians In New York City

Pedestrians involved in New York City car accidents can suffer serious and debilitating injuries. At Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP, we believe pedestrians should recover money damages for these injuries. Compensation might not reverse the damages you’ve suffered, but it could help you move forward without worrying about your family’s financial stability. The first step toward obtaining compensation for a pedestrian accident is to hire a personal injury attorney.

The New York civil justice system permits accident victims to use legal representation during injury claims. A New York City pedestrian accident lawyer can make sure a driver’s insurance company doesn’t take advantage of you or convince you to settle for less than your case is worth. An attorney can also help you navigate the state’s no-fault laws, which may limit your recovery to your insurance company only — even if you didn’t cause the collision. Entering into settlement negotiations with a lawyer in your corner can significantly improve your odds of financial recovery.

You can seek compensation from your auto insurance company after a pedestrian accident, even if you weren’t driving. If you don’t have car insurance, the driver’s insurer may be liable for damages. If neither one of you has insurance, you may not be able to recover for your damages. A consultation with a New York City pedestrian accident attorney, however, can help you discover hidden opportunities for compensation — such as filing a claim against the city for an unsafely designed crosswalk.

Available Damages in Pedestrian Accident Cases

The type and amount of your compensation award will depend on the extent of your damages. An evaluation of your injuries by an attorney can help you determine the value of your specific case. The types of compensation available, however, stay the same in New York. Injured pedestrians in New York City may be eligible for the following compensation categories:
  • Pain and suffering. Noneconomic pain and suffering damages can deliver thousands of dollars to victims if they suffered catastrophic injuries in the accident. Unfortunately, uninsured motorist insurance typically does not include compensation for pain and suffering. If you’re using this type of coverage, therefore, you might not be eligible.
  • Medical bills. Almost all pedestrian accident claims result in compensation to cover past and future medical bills. This award can include hospital stays, ambulance fees, medical devices, doctor appointments, prescriptions, treatments and lifelong medical care for an injured pedestrian.
  • Lost income. The nature of most pedestrian collisions puts the victim out of work for days or weeks while he or she recuperates. Broken bones, for example, often require multiple doctor visits and weeks in a cast or splint. An employee who loses income because of his/her injuries can seek recovery for wage damages.
  • Punitive damages. Drivers in New York City are often guilty of road rage, drunk driving, distracted driving and other acts of extreme negligence. A New York judge may award punitive damages to punish a reckless driver for his/her misconduct.

The negotiation skills of your attorney can change the amount you receive for a pedestrian accident claim. The New York City pedestrian accident lawyers at Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP, have achieved outstanding results for past clients and may be able to do the same for you. We can immediately go to work on your claim, investigating who or what caused the collision, whether your insurance will cover damages, and if the at-fault driver has insurance. We can then file your personal injury claim, negotiate with insurance companies, and even go to trial if necessary for maximum compensation.

What laws are in place to protect pedestrians from being hit by a vehicle?

The New York City DOT Traffic Rules Section 4-04 establishes guidelines for drivers and pedestrians to protect them from severe or fatal collisions. If you have been injured by a driver while attempting to cross a road, contact an NYC personal injury lawyer at Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP for help.

Established rules concerning drivers and pedestrians include the following:

Drivers Must Yield to Pedestrians in Crosswalks

Any time a pedestrian uses a crosswalk to cross a road, it’s the driver’s responsibility to yield to them. In cases where no crosswalk signals exist, the pedestrian has the right of way. If a pedestrian is in the vehicle’s path, the car must stop so that the pedestrian may pass freely.

Pedestrians Must Pay Attention to Oncoming Vehicles

Pedestrians should not leave the sidewalk, curb or other location of safety if they see an oncoming vehicle that will have trouble stopping for them. This rule is in place even when pedestrians use a crosswalk. If a car is very close and traveling too quickly to stop, the pedestrian must wait before attempting to cross.

Other Vehicles and Pedestrians

If a vehicle has stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross a road, other vehicles must also yield to the pedestrian. They cannot attempt to pass the stopped vehicle. Instead, other drivers must stop and wait for the pedestrian to finish crossing the street.

Pedestrian Crossing Restrictions

New York City has established guidelines indicating where pedestrians may and may not cross a road. Crossings are prohibited when:

  • Signs, fences, barriers or other items are in place that prohibit road crossings
  • Pedestrians cannot attempt to cross an interstate without a crosswalk
  • Pedestrians can only cross roadways in locations with crosswalks where both ends of the block have traffic control signals in place

Pedestrians are subject to all of the traffic rules that drivers follow, including traffic and pedestrian control signals. However, drivers must use due care to protect their vehicles from colliding with pedestrians. 

Due care includes remaining attentive to the roadway and avoiding activities that may distract them from seeing pedestrians trying to cross a street, intersection or road.

NYC street crosswalk

How do traffic signals impact a pedestrian’s right to cross a roadway?

Traffic signals are in place to assist both drivers and pedestrians attempting to cross a road. New York City DOT Traffic Rules Section 4-03 defines the guidelines for traffic signals that pedestrians and drivers must follow.

Traffic Control Signals

Under a green signal, drivers have the right to continue straight across a roadway or interstate. However, drivers must yield to any pedestrians crossing the street if they turn right or left. 

Under a yellow traffic signal, drivers should slow down and stop unless they are already crossing the road. Pedestrians should wait to cross the street because there may not be enough time before the light changes.

Red traffic signals indicate drivers and pedestrians must wait for the light to change before continuing their path.

Pedestrian Control Signals

Some roadways contain pedestrian control signals that indicate when it’s appropriate for a pedestrian to cross the road. 

New York City uses the symbol of a green, steadily walking person to show when a pedestrian can cross the road. Pedestrians may proceed toward the signal, and all vehicles must yield. 

When a flashing hand with a countdown appears, pedestrians should know that the light is about to change and they may not have time to cross. If the pedestrian has already begun crossing, they should proceed quickly to the nearest safe area, such as a sidewalk or street island. Vehicles must continue to yield to pedestrians while the light is flashing.

If a steady, upraised hand appears on the pedestrian crossing signal, pedestrians must wait to cross the road. Individuals already in the crosswalk should get to safety as quickly as possible.

What is the New York City statute of limitations for pedestrian accidents?

Injured individuals involved in a pedestrian accident have three years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim. However, it’s best to contact an NYC pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible. 

It’s easy for individuals to forget facts related to their accidents. Witnesses may become challenging to locate or not remember the circumstances of the collision. Your attorney will need time to assemble the evidence of your case and negotiate a settlement with insurance companies. Don’t risk losing your case by delaying the filing of a lawsuit.

Do I have a claim if the driver hit me and drove off?

Unfortunately, sometimes drivers fail to accept responsibility for hitting a pedestrian and drive away after the incident. While it may be more difficult to recover damages if the driver disappears, the reality is that drivers are often caught on traffic cameras or documented by individuals with cell phones. 

Seeking the assistance of an NYC pedestrian accident lawyer becomes even more critical in a hit-and-run case. Attorneys can work with police to review the evidence and locate the driver who injured you. Drivers who hit and run face steep fines and potential jail time, especially if their actions result in severe injuries.

Who is responsible for a pedestrian accident?

Responsibility for pedestrian accidents depends on the circumstances of the case. Drivers who obey traffic laws and follow the road rules generally aren’t responsible for pedestrian accidents, especially if the pedestrian isn’t following traffic rules. 

However, negligent behavior on the part of the driver can be enough to hold them liable in pedestrian accident cases.

Many pedestrian accidents occur when a driver acts recklessly, is distracted by other causes, drives aggressively or is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In these circumstances, the driver will usually be held responsible for the accident.

Pedestrians must also be careful to obey the rules of the road. Crossing in the middle of a roadway without a crosswalk is prohibited. In addition, acting negligently by crossing a road with an oncoming vehicle that will have difficulty stopping violates New York City traffic laws. 

Each pedestrian accident has its own set of facts and circumstances. A New York City pedestrian lawyer can determine who is at fault.

What causes pedestrian accidents in New York City?

New York City issued a Pedestrian Safety Study in 2010. The study found several factors that increased the likelihood of a pedestrian accident.

Driver Inattention

Driver inattention was the most common reason for pedestrian accidents. In fact, 36 percent of pedestrian crashes result from driver inattention. In our technology-driven world, smartphone usage while driving can significantly increase the risk of an accident.

Failure to Yield

While New York City has numerous crosswalks and other areas regularly used by pedestrians, failure to yield continues to be an issue. The reason for this is unknown, although lack of knowledge of failure to yield laws may be a factor. 

The study found that failure to yield is more of a problem in New York City than nationally. Of all pedestrian crashes analyzed, 27 percent involved failure to yield on the part of the driver.

Crossing Against the Signal

Many pedestrians risk crossing a street against the signal, especially if they believe they have time to do so. However, pedestrian crashes that occur when the pedestrian disobeys the signal are 56 percent more deadly. The amount of force incurred by pedestrians from drivers driving at average speeds may result in fatalities.

Left Turns

Drivers making left turns often fail to see pedestrians in a crosswalk until it’s too late. The structure of a vehicle usually contains support between the windshield and side window, which can block the driver’s view. As a result, pedestrian accidents involving left turns exceed those of right turns by three to one.

People crossing busy NYC street

What To Do After A Pedestrian Accident In New York City

Protect your rights, right from the beginning. Take immediate action to safeguard yourself from common recovery roadblocks such as hit-and-run, insurance fraud, and denied claims. The actions you take right from the scene of your accident can determine how easy your legal journey is ahead. We at Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP, recommend taking the following steps if you’ve suffered injuries in a New York City pedestrian accident:

  1. Call 911. You should always report a car accident to police in New York City if it results in injuries or deaths. Since the probability of injury is high in a pedestrian collision, play it safe by dialing 911 from the scene. Explain that you were in an accident and that you may need an ambulance. Give police your side of what happened when they arrive. Don’t let the driver do all the talking, or he or she could end up swaying the police report against you.
  2. Get the driver’s information. Talk to the driver who hit you while you wait for police to arrive, getting important information such as the driver’s name, contact information, insurance company information and license plate number. If the driver starts to take off from the scene of the accident before police arrives, take his or her picture if you can. A photo of the vehicle can help police catch the driver.
  3. Take photos of the scene. Take out your phone or camera and take photos of the scene of the accident, your injuries, damage to the driver’s vehicle and other important details. Photographs can hold irrefutable evidence of the driver’s fault or negligence. A picture of food wrappers in the driver’s front seat, for example, could help you prove distracted driving.
  4. Request medical attention. Whether you notice any injuries or not, get an expert medical opinion. The adrenaline of a car hitting you could mask the fact that you have injuries. Tell police you aren’t sure if you’re injured and go to the hospital right away. You may have broken bones, a slipped disk or a hidden traumatic brain injury. Keep track of all medical bills, records, receipts and treatment plans.
  5. Report to your insurance company. Since New York is a no-fault state, your first outlet for recovery will be your own insurer, regardless of who was at fault. Call your insurance company as soon as you can to report the incident. Waiting too long could hurt your chances of financial recovery. Do not admit fault for the collision to your insurance company. Stick to the facts, but don’t speculate about fault.
  6. Create an accident folder. Start keeping track of information, data and evidence surrounding your pedestrian accident case. Keep copies of medical bills, photographs, police reports and other integral information in an organized file to make things easier for your claim later.
  7. Contact a New York City pedestrian accident lawyer. Request a free consultation with a local pedestrian accident attorney as soon as you’re well enough to do so. Consulting with a lawyer can help you understand your rights as a pedestrian in New York City, as well as your potential legal opportunities against the driver that hit you. Working with an attorney on your claim is the easiest way to maximize compensation.

If all else fails, remember to call Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP, for help. Call us from the side of the road, the inside of an ambulance, a hospital room, or your home — we’ll be there to answer your questions and provide legal counsel day or night. Contact us no matter what steps you have or have not taken after an accident. We’ll take over any stage of your accident claim and immediately go to work on obtaining compensation.

Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries

Your recent pedestrian accident is unique, but that doesn’t mean you’re the first person to experience such a thing in New York City. The high number of pedestrians interacting in the same space as vehicles, taxis and bicyclists, unfortunately, means collisions are inevitable. Certain injuries are more common than others in vehicle-pedestrian accidents. The type of injury you suffer will often depend on the speed of the vehicle and the point of impact. If you have any of the following injuries, speak with a New York City pedestrian accident lawyer:

  • Bone fractures, especially in the lower body. The impact of a motor vehicle against a pedestrian’s hips, pelvis, knees, shins or feet can break the bones. Bone fractures can be painful, debilitating and take months to heal. Pedestrian accident victims with broken bones may qualify for significant compensation.
  • Soft tissue injuries. Victims may sustain a range of soft tissue injuries, including bruising, muscle sprains or strains, neck and back injuries, and dislocations. Soft tissue injuries can happen upon initial impact with the vehicle, or when the pedestrian collides with the ground. These injuries can take months to heal or cause chronic pain.
  • Cuts, scrapes and lacerations. Lacerations are common in pedestrian accidents, especially when the victim comes in contact with broken glass or asphalt. Lacerations can take weeks to heal, come with a risk of infection, and leave behind permanent scars or disfigurement. Lacerations to the face and scalp are common, as it’s likely the victim’s head will strike the windshield in the collision.
  • Traumatic brain injuries. If the pedestrian strikes his or her head on the hood of the car, the windshield, the ground or other elements in a collision, a traumatic brain injury is possible. Head and brain injuries can cause long-lasting or permanent effects on physical and mental capabilities.
  • Spinal cord injuries. Spine injuries are some of the most serious injuries that may arise out of a pedestrian accident in New York City. Spinal cord fractures can cause permanent loss of movement and feeling below the point of injury. No cure for spinal cord injuries exists. Victims with these injuries may qualify for millions of dollars in lifelong damages.
  • Amputation. In some cases, injuries to crushed or damaged limbs are too extensive for physicians to salvage the part. Surgeons may have to amputate a foot, leg, hand, arm or fingers if it’s in the best interest of the patient. Serious infections, for example, may lead to amputation of an injured limb.
  • Internal organ injuries. A victim’s internal organs may sustain serious, irreparable damage in a vehicle collision — especially if the vehicle rolls over the pedestrian. Internal bleeding, hematoma (bleeding in the brain), and collapsed lung are examples of internal injuries that could be fatal.
  • Fatal injuries. Not every pedestrian in New York City survives collisions with motor vehicles. Head, spine and organ damage could be fatal, taking the victim’s life on the spot, or later in the hospital. The loss of a loved one is devastating. A wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver could give your family the closure and future financial stability you need during this difficult time.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pedestrian Accidents In NYC

Our law firm has assisted hundreds of New Yorkers with pedestrian collisions since our founding years ago. We’ve seen firsthand how devastating these types of accidents can be to pedestrians and their families. Our New York City personal injury lawyers also recognize that victims can have many questions in the aftermath of a harmful or fatal crash. Here are five frequently asked questions we receive at our New York City office:

  1. When do I have right-of-way in New York City? Pedestrians have right of way in crosswalks, intersections and sidewalks in New York City. If a pedestrian crosses at any point other than a crosswalk or intersection, he or she must yield right of way to vehicles.
  2. Could I be partially at fault for the accident? A common defense is to say that the pedestrian is partially responsible. The driver could allege that you weren’t paying attention, you left the curb before you had the “Walk” signal, or that you were jaywalking. In New York state, you could still be eligible for compensation, even if you were 99% at fault for the collision, thanks to pure comparative negligence laws.
  3. Should I settle with my insurance company? Talk to a New York City pedestrian accident lawyer first. Your insurance company may offer a settlement that’s less than the value of your claim. A discussion with a lawyer can help you understand the value of your damages, and whether or not to accept an insurance settlement offer.
  4. What if the driver fled the scene? As a pedestrian in a hit-and-run accident, you may be able to recover from your own insurance company through the state’s no-fault laws. If not, the New York Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation may offer compensation through its hit-and-run program.
  5. Can I file for my deceased loved one? In New York state, the only party that can file for wrongful death is the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate. This may or may not be a family member. A New York City pedestrian accident attorney can help you go through the probate process and assign the representative for a claim after a fatal pedestrian accident.

Pedestrian accidents can be complex, but don’t let this dissuade you from pursuing the compensation you believe you deserve. A competent lawyer can make all the difference in the outcome of your claim.

 

Free Consultation With A Qualified New York City Pedestrian Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one was injured in a pedestrian accident in New York, do not hesitate to contact the lawyers at Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP. We have years of experience in handling personal injury lawsuits and will work tirelessly for you from the start to secure fair compensation for you and your family. Schedule a free legal consultation to speak with one of our attorneys where you can ask additional questions and receive information about your specific pedestrian accident case, at no obligation to retain our firm. To get in touch with Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP, call our office in New York City at 212-897-1988 today

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