New York is definitely a walker’s city, as the Big Apple boasts the highest rate of commuters (67 percent) who walk or use public transport to get to work. At the same time, however, New York also boasts a much higher-than-average rate of pedestrian deaths as a share of all motor-vehicle fatalities: 52 percent of all traffic fatalities involve pedestrians, compared to the national average of 13 percent. Furthermore, NYC vehicles are the leading cause of injury-related deaths for kids under 14 and the second-leading cause of injury-related death for seniors. In 10 years, cars have killed nearly 2,000 New Yorkers; 30,000 were hospitalized.
These numbers can be staggering, and from a legal point of view, the victims (and their families) of these pedestrian accidents deserve compensation when the accident was caused by the negligence and/or wrongdoing of the driver. If this extremely unfortunate incident has happened to you, rest assured, the NYC pedestrian accident attorneys at Manhattan’s Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier have the experience and aggressive, yet professional, litigation tactics to fight for full and fair compensation for your injuries.
Don’t become another statistic, and let the attorneys at Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier vigorously litigate for justice. Call today at (212) 777-9400 for a free, no-obligation consultation.
The Problem With the NYC Criminal System for Pedestrian Accidents
In 2014, NYC initiated what was called Vision Zero, a citywide initiative designed to reduce road-related injuries and fatalities, and that year, the city saw 48 fewer deaths than in 2013 and one of the lowest numbers in recent history. Despite the city’s efforts to reduce pedestrian accidents, there is still little that victims can do after the accident (aside from seeking legal help). For instance, mowing down a pedestrian while on drugs and alcohol, or running down that cheating lover, are specific crimes that fall within NYC’s vehicular manslaughter and homicide laws.
Pedestrian accidents that involve manslaughter and homicide are quite rare; according to the DoT, only about 8 percent of traffic deaths are due to a DUI. Instead, failure to yield to a pedestrian is the cause of around 27 percent of traffic deaths while speeding is the cause of around 21 percent. Both failure to yield and speeding are traffic violations and subject to New York State Penal Laws.
The most common cause of a pedestrian death, however, is driver inattention, which accounts for around 36 percent of accidents, and in NYC, the relevant crime, “Failure to Exercise Due Care to Avoid Striking a Pedestrian or Cyclist,” can result in a misdemeanor criminal violation if your accident was the driver’s second “inattention” offense in a five-year span (i.e. the driver needs to mow down two pedestrians before serious criminal action is invoked).
Your Pedestrian Rights in Manhattan and NYC
So, if the criminal system won’t help you achieve justice after a devastating pedestrian accident, you need to turn to the legal system, and the first step in understanding whether you have a case is to look at the NYC DoT Traffic Rules (Title 34, Chapter 4). Some important aspects mentioned in these rules include:
- Pedestrians are subject to traffic control signals and pedestrian control signals (stop lights, stop signs, etc)
- Pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalks when there are no control signals; however, pedestrians cannot suddenly jump in front of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield
- Pedestrians cannot cross at any point where signs, fences, barriers, or other devices are erected to prohibit or restrict such crossing or entry. Pedestrians also cannot jaywalk (cross where there is no crosswalk)
Of course, seasoned New Yorkers may break these rules, but breaking a pedestrian rule in NYC can have a dramatically negative effect on your personal injury lawsuit, if you decide to file one. For instance, if you were struck by a car while you were jaywalking, the other driver could argue that your negligence for crossing the street led to the accident. Although the driver still could be found liable for your injuries, it definitely makes your chances a little more difficult.
Do You Have a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
All pedestrian accidents in NYC are subject to the state’s no-fault laws; however, when filing a lawsuit, the courts will always consider your behavior and determine if you could have avoided the accident. At the same time, if you obeyed all traffic rules and the driver who struck you was breaking any traffic safety laws or behaved in a careless or unreasonable way, then that driver may be held liable for the accident and your injuries.
As such, if you were injured in a pedestrian accident and you are thinking of pursuing an accident claim in Manhattan, it can be helpful to:
- Take photographs of the accident scene and the position of the vehicles
- Get the names and contact information of any witnesses
- Don’t sign any documents regarding the facts of the accident, except for your own medical care
By filing a lawsuit in NYC civil courts, or simply filing a claim with the relevant insurance company, you should make sure that you receive full and fair compensation for your injuries, which includes compensation for immediate needs as well as possible future needs. Compensation can include:
- Medical expenses, including rehabilitation and other change-of-lifestyle expenses
- Loss of income from work
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- …And more
Call Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier Today for a Free Consultation
If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident in NYC, the medical costs and other damages can be huge. You may also be suffering a significant amount of pain and struggling to keep up with work. For this reason, if you were seriously injured in a New York City pedestrian accident and the driver was at fault, you could be entitled to compensation.
For a free, no-obligation consultation with our Manhattan pedestrian accident and personal injury law firm, call Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier today at (212) 777-9400.