Who Is Liable When A Pedestrian Is Hit By A Car?

Moments before a pedestrian accident

Vehicles have seat belts, airbags, and the vehicle’s frame to protect occupants from harm in the event of a collision. Pedestrians don’t have any meaningful protection when an accident occurs at an intersection, in a parking lot, or wherever pedestrians and vehicles share space. As a result, accidents involving pedestrians and cars, trucks, or buses often result in severe, catastrophic, or fatal injuries.

While New York City has seen pedestrian fatality rates go down recently, hitting their lowest level since 1910 in 2017, they still occur with alarming frequency. If you were injured in a pedestrian accident in New York, you could be eligible to hold the liable parties accountable and seek the compensation you need to pay your bills and move on with your life.

Proving liability can be challenging, so you need a skilled Mineola pedestrian accident attorney in your corner. At Finz & Finz, P.C., our trial attorneys have the knowledge and resources to help you pursue the compensation you are entitled to.

Who Is Liable For A Pedestrian Accident in New York?

Depending on the circumstances, different parties could be liable when a pedestrian is injured in an accident. Some of the most common examples of responsible parties in a pedestrian accident include:

The Driver

The motorist who hit the pedestrian is almost always the liable party, even if the pedestrian is not in a crosswalk.

In New York, which is a no-fault insurance state, the driver of the vehicle that hit the pedestrian must pay no-fault benefits (also called first-party benefits) to the injured pedestrian through their own no-fault insurance policy. This means that the driver’s insurer will be responsible for covering expenses related to the accident up to $50,000.

These expenses include emergency services, medical bills, prescription drugs, X-rays, MRIs, other tests, and even physical therapy. The policy will also cover lost income if you’re unable to work after the accident.

The Pedestrian

Although negligent motorists cause most vehicle-pedestrian accidents, there are some instances where a pedestrian may be considered at fault or partly at fault:

  • Pedestrians who disobey or ignore traffic signals and signage.
  • Pedestrians who are jaywalking, which is illegal in New York.
  • Pedestrians who are drunk or distracted when entering a roadway.

Shared Liability

In some instances, both the driver of the vehicle and the pedestrian could be at fault. If shared liability occurs, the pedestrian’s compensation will be reduced by whatever percentage of fault they have for the accident. For instance, if a pedestrian is awarded $20,000 but is 25% responsible for the accident, their compensation would be reduced to $15,000. Ultimately, even if you are partly at fault, you can still receive some compensation.

Government Entities

In some cases, government entities could be responsible for damages in pedestrian accidents. For instance, if the traffic signals malfunctioned or the road was poorly maintained, which led to an accident, an injured pedestrian could claim against the city. If you were injured in New York City and believe that the city’s negligence was partly responsible for the accident, don’t wait to contact our pedestrian accident attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C.

How Do I Prove Fault In A New York Pedestrian Accident?

To prove fault, you will generally need to show that the driver failed to exercise their duty of care to keep pedestrians safe on the road. You’ll need to be able to demonstrate that the driver’s negligent behavior directly led to your injuries.

Some of the most common ways that pedestrians are injured by negligence include:

  • Distracted driving – Distracted driving includes things like texting, eating and drinking, adjusting the radio, holding a pet, personal grooming, or anything that causes a driver to take their focus off the road.
  • Speeding – Speeding can be especially dangerous to pedestrians, who are typically directly impacted by the force of a crash.
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way – Some drivers fail to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians, such as crossing an intersection at a crosswalk.
  • Reckless and aggressive driving – Some drivers willingly ignore traffic signals and signage or fail to use their blinkers when they plan to make a turn.
  • Hazardous road conditions – Some motorists do not account for hazardous driving situations, including low visibility conditions and inclement weather.
  • Drunk or intoxicated driving – Drunk drivers experience impaired judgment, delayed reaction time, and difficulty concentrating. They’re also less likely to notice pedestrians.

After an accident occurs, law enforcement officers will typically make a report of the crash, including details about the scene, statements and contact information from any bystanders who may have witnessed the accident, details about injuries, and other pertinent information.

Police reports aren’t always admissible in court, but they can help your attorney track down important evidence necessary to prove your case. Evidence that could help prove your case includes witness testimony, photos of the accident scene, and video surveillance footage from nearby buildings.

What Types Of Compensation Could I Claim?

If you were injured in a pedestrian accident, then you could be entitled to collect compensation. This compensation is intended to cover financial losses related to the accident, including:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost income from time missed from work

A no-fault insurance claim must be filed within 30 days of the accident.

If you have sustained more severe injuries due to a pedestrian accident, as many pedestrians do, then you could be eligible to file a claim for additional benefits from the at-fault driver for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. Under New York state law, “serious injuries” include:

  • Bone fractures
  • Dismemberment
  • Loss of a fetus
  • Significant disfigurement
  • A significant limitation of a body function or system
  • Permanent limitation of an organ or member
  • Permanent loss of use of a body organ, function, system, or member
  • Injuries, even temporary ones that prevent you from doing ordinary daily activities for no less than 90 of the first 180 days after the accident

Contact A Pedestrian Accident Lawyer in Mineola, NY Today

If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, contact one of our dedicated New York and Long Island pedestrian accident attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C. today. We understand how stressful it can be to pursue compensation while also trying to recover from your injuries. We will be ready to stand up and demand the full and fair compensation you’re owed. Contact us by phone at 855-TOP-FIRM or reach out to us online today for a consultation.

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Finz & Finz, P.C. is a New York and Long Island personal injury law firm based out of Mineola, NY. It was founded in 1984 and is highly rated, with many honors and awards of excellence.