Driving in NYC has its own unique challenges. Car accidents aren’t an “if,” but a “when.” And when it happens to you, it’s not a happy experience.
But what happens if the accident was caused by a pedestrian?
In a city of 8 million people, they outnumber vehicular traffic. A pedestrian is defined as someone who is:
- Walking on foot
- Traveling in a wheelchair
- Using a foot-powered scooter, both children and adults.
Like a motor vehicle, pedestrians also have specific right-of-way rules they are required to follow when walking around the city. New York’s Vehicle & Traffic Laws govern pedestrian traffic as well as vehicular.
If a pedestrian ignores these laws while on a public street, he or she can be found at fault for:
- Disregarding traffic signals and walking against them
- Crossing outside of a crosswalk (“jaywalking”)
- Crossing any roadway without traffic controls
- Walking in areas where pedestrian traffic is prohibited by law under normal (non-emergency) circumstances (freeways, bridges, etc.)
The Pedestrian’s Fault
A lot of people are of the mistaken belief that the pedestrian is “always right.” That’s not true, and a pedestrian can be cited if he or she caused a crash. Both drivers and pedestrians have a duty to exercise reasonable care on the street.
Just like a car can’t arbitrarily turn right, a pedestrian has to watch where they’re walking, observe traffic lights at crosswalks and avoid jaywalking in front of or in between cars. A pedestrian who does not exercise proper care when walking can be found at fault for a car accident.
Like many states, New York uses “pure comparative fault” with car accidents. If both individuals share blame, they may be assigned a portion of the fault, reducing any judgments or settlements. For instance, if your settlement is $10,000, but you are assigned 20% of the fault of your accident for whatever reason, your settlement will be reduced by 20%, to $8,000.
The No-Fault Accident
For most car crashes, New York recognizes the “no-fault” accident principle, in which no one is actually “at fault.” This means that each party only collects from their own insurance company, no matter who was actually responsible.
There are exceptions, of course, in the case of serious injuries or property damage. You can file a third-party insurance claim or initiate a lawsuit to recover for injuries such as broken bones, disfigurement, full disability for 90+ days, and other conditions. This includes pain and suffering as well as other non-monetary damages.
If you find yourself in an accident in which you hit a pedestrian, this article offers information on what to do next.
We’re Here To Help
If you’ve been in a car accident in New York City and need help, give us a call today for a free consultation at (212) 777-9400. As a family-owned NYC personal injury law firm, Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier has more than 26 years’ experience working with injured people to get what they need. We’ll work with you on a contingency fee basis, and there’s no out-of-pocket fee.