Pedestrians have the right to use crosswalks, sidewalks, and other walking paths without fear that a motorist will strike and injure them. Although many people in New York regularly walk the City, it has never been among the safest metropolitan areas for pedestrians. Negligent drivers who cause injury or death to pedestrians should be held accountable, and retaining experienced legal counsel can help with your pedestrian accident claim.
Miller, Montiel, & Strano, P.C. understands the devastation that a personal injury can bring. That’s why we represent pedestrians who have been hurt by careless drivers. We can review your case today, explain your legal options, and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Common Causes Of A Pedestrian Accident
There are a number of reasons why a car, truck, or other driver might cause a pedestrian accident. Some examples are:
- Distracted driving: This is one of the leading causes of accidents involving vehicles, including those that injure pedestrians. Cell phone use, talking to passengers, or anything else that takes a driver’s focus off the road is a distraction.
- Aggressive driving: Let’s face it, many drivers are impatient. But that impatience can lead to drivers rushing through crosswalks without giving pedestrians the right of way. When this happens, accidents are often the result.
- Unsafe or illegal turns: Crosswalk accidents frequently occur when drivers make unsafe or illegal turns. All motorists are required to be aware of their surroundings and adjust their driving accordingly when pedestrians are near.
- Failure to yield: New York law requires that drivers stop for pedestrians using the crosswalk. This is true, even if the pedestrian is not in the driver’s lane. Failure to yield is a traffic law violation and therefore a strong indication of negligence. In addition, even if the pedestrian is not crossing within the crosswalk, the driver of a car must take action to avoid hitting the pedestrian.
- Driver fatigue: Before driving, motorists must have sufficient rest so they can pay attention. This is especially important in New York, which is always crowded with pedestrians. A fatigued driver can easily cause a serious or fatal pedestrian accident.
- Impaired driving: Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal. Even if the drug is legal, a driver is responsible for staying off the road if he or she is impaired.
The Consequences Of Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrians lack the safety features offered by automobiles, such as steel frames. There’s nothing between them and a car, truck, or other vehicle. Accidents are therefore much more likely to be catastrophic and even fatal. The pedestrian may suffer the following injuries:
- Bones fractures
- Brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Neck and back injury
- Internal organ damage
Tragically, many of these accidents are fatal. When a pedestrian dies from his or her injuries, the surviving family members may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. These claims are similar to personal injury lawsuits.
Proving Liability After A Pedestrian Accident
An injured pedestrian may be able to file a claim through the defendant’s insurance company. But there’s a good chance that either the insurance company will try to underpay or deny the claim, or the amount of coverage won’t be sufficient to compensate the victim. At this stage, you will need to consider filing a personal injury lawsuit.
To prove a defendant was legally at fault for your injury, you will need to establish the following elements:
- Duty of care: All drivers owe pedestrians a duty to obey traffic laws and operate their vehicles safely.
- Breach: A breach occurs because of negligence, and the above list of causes includes examples of breaches.
- Causation: The victim must show that the breach actually was a cause of the pedestrian being struck by the car or truck.
- Damages: The victim will also need to document and quantify his or her damages for which compensation is demanded.
Damages That May Be Available
Every pedestrian accident case is different, which means so are the potential damages. In most cases, victims will seek compensation for:
- Personal Injuries: The pedestrian is entitled to recover money damages for the personal injuries, such as broken bones, amputation and the like, sustained as a result of the collision. Recovering compensation for your physical injuries and changes in your life is of paramount importance. We know you need the resources to resume your activities to the extent you can.
- Pain and suffering and emotional distress: It’s not uncommon for victims to suffer greatly from their injuries and to endure months of painful rehabilitation. The trauma of suffering an injury, especially a catastrophic one, can also trigger emotional problems such as depression.
- Medical bills, including past, present, and future expenses: This category covers everything from hospitalization and surgeries to adaptive medical equipment and rehabilitation. Your attorney will help compile these records.
- Lost income: The victim will lose time from work while recovering, and thereby lose significant money. These damages may also include time spent visiting the doctor, going to physical therapy, and related needs.
- Lost income potential: A pedestrian accident can leave a victim permanently disabled. The disability may be physical or mental. A promising career could be ended abruptly, causing the victim to lose a significant amount of lifetime earnings.
- Wrongful death: If the victim dies because of his or her injuries, eligible survivors can bring a wrongful death claim. The available damages may include the victim’s final medical bills and funeral expenses, among others.
How We Represent Pedestrian Accident Victims
When an injured pedestrian hires our law firm, one of the first things we do is make sure the victim is getting medical attention. Your health is important, so you need to see a doctor even if you think your injuries are minor. You could also potentially jeopardize your claim by failing to see a doctor.
We get right to work investigating how the accident happened so we can build a case. This may include:
- Talking to witnesses
- Obtaining surveillance footage
- Taking photos or videos of the accident scene
- Retaining an accident reconstructionist
- Retaining other expert witnesses who can attest to the nature of your damages
- Identifying all potential defendants who could be held liable
You will likely be contacted by the at-fault party’s insurance company. You should direct all such communications to an attorney. No matter how sympathetic an insurance adjuster may seem, the insurance company is not on your side. Let your attorney handle negotiations with the insurer.
Contact Our New York Pedestrian Accident Attorney
Are you a pedestrian who was injured by a driver? Are you unsure what to do next? Our firm can help take the stress off of you while you focus on recovering. Contact Miller, Montiel, & Strano, P.C. to get started today.
Miller, Montiel, & Strano, P.C. help clients with their pedestrian accident claims throughout New York including Nassau County, Suffolk County, Queens, and Brooklyn.