Understanding Your Rights and Liability After a Pedestrian Knockdown in NYC:
New York City and The Bronx enjoy the fact that nearly everything is within walking distance. Grocery stores, specialty shops, deli and fast food drive- throughs, entertainment, bars, and other hot spots are usually not far from most our homes or apartments. Other times, we may be able to summon a
ride to a popular area where everything we need is in a few blocks. While this makes parts of NYC and The Bronx walker-friendly, it also increases the
risk of pedestrian knockdown accidents. Pedestrians hit by cars (4,000 pounds of metal) in The Bronx and the rest of NYC often suffer serious personal injuries or death. According to statistics, last year over 220 people were killed in the five boroughs after being hit by a car or truck and another 3,000 suffered personal injuries. So far in 2021, our Bronx lawyers we recognize the upward tragic trend of pedestrian deaths in NYC, which have increased by 58% so far as compared to last this year.
Here at Stern Law Firm, our compassionate and dedicated personal injury lawyers know how important it is for victims and their families to have good legal representation. Our experienced Bronx lawyers have fought against some of the largest defense law firms and insurance carriers in the United States. We will not let callous defense lawyers or greedy miserly insurance adjusters protect dangerous drivers who seriously injure or wrongfully kill innocent people. If you or a loved one were hit by a car and seriously injured in NYC, call to schedule a FREE consultation by dialing (516) 294-2664 or (718) 416-1500.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Knockdowns in NYC
The negligence of a motorist is the most common cause of a pedestrian hit by a car in New York City. There are many ways that a defendant could be
negligent in causing a pedestrian knockdown. Generally, a driver is negligent when failing to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances in the use
or operation of a motor vehicle. This includes operating a vehicle in a reckless or careless manner, failing to observe what there is to be seen and distracted driving.
Some of the most common ways that a pedestrian knockdown could happen due to the negligence of a defendant includes the following:
- Distracted driving
- Failure to yield
- Traffic signs disregard or ignored
- Driver intention
- Drunk driving or drugged driving
- Unsafe backing
- Jumping a curb
- Rushing or road rage
- Fatigued driving or falling asleep at the wheel
- Driver inexperience,
- Running red lights, and
- Many other common causes that our Bronx lawyers could help recover compensation for you in a pedestrian knockdown accident in NYC.
Liability After Being Hit by a Car in New York City: Why Where You Cross the Street Matters
While many of the common causes of pedestrian knockdowns are caused by the negligence of a motorist, where the accident occurs also matters in terms
of liability. This is because defense lawyers and insurance adjusters will try to shift blame to minimize their client’s liability and exposure by claiming the
pedestrian was not paying attention. Most times, this occurs when a pedestrian is crossing between vehicles or not at a crosswalk. As a result, this can affect the compensation that a victim may be entitled to under the law.
General Rule for Motorists
All motorists must exercise reasonable due care while operating a vehicle in New York. This is specifically prescribed in New York Vehicle and Traffic Law, Section 1146 (a), which requires motorists to exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian. This applies no matter where a pedestrian is on or off the roadway. This includes when a pedestrian is in a crosswalk or outside a crosswalk, between vehicles, or walking down the center of a side street.
Liability When Crossing in a Crosswalk
A pedestrian who is hit by a car in a crosswalk has the strongest liability claim against a defendant. This is because New York Vehicle and Traffic Law, Section 1151 requires all vehicles to stop and yield to a pedestrian crossing within a crosswalk when there is no traffic control device or where the traffic control device gives the pedestrian the right-of-way (i.e., a green/white “walk” light).
Any pedestrian who is hit by a car while in a crosswalk and with the right-of- way should automatically be able to establish liability against a driver who violates section 1151 under the doctrine of negligence per se. This means a victim only has to prove causation and damages.
Liability When Crossing in the Middle of the Block or Outside Crosswalk
Liability changes drastically when a pedestrian is not crossing at a crosswalk. This includes when a pedestrian is crossing at an unmarked crosswalk. An unmarked crosswalk is an area where a crosswalk naturally would be, but is not delineated. This typically includes between two street corners. Under these circumstances, it is the pedestrian’s responsibility to yield the right of way to the passing motorist. This is why it is so important to only cross within the crosswalk.
Under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law section 1152, pedestrians crossing the street at any point other than a marked crosswalk must yield to the right- of-way of all vehicles on the roadway. This means that a pedestrian could be violating the vehicle and traffic law when crossing at an inappropriate place or
time. This will not outright deny a claim because section 1146 requires all motorists to exercise due care to avoid hitting a pedestrian, but it could severely limit what compensation a victim may be entitled to since the jury will apportion liability between the pedestrian and the driver. The pedestrian’s recovery will then be offset by his or her own degree of fault.
Comparative Fault in New York
While crossing in a sidewalk is the strongest form of liability, there could still be comparative fault. This is because Section 1151 also requires that pedestrians do not abruptly step out into traffic by leaving the curb at a dangerous time. All pedestrians must be careful and exercise reasonable care to protect their own safety by looking both ways before crossing.
When a pedestrian steps out in front of a car in a crosswalk, from between cars, or is not looking when he or she is hit by a car, it is likely that the defendant will argue that the pedestrian is comparatively at fault for the pedestrian knockdown. Our Bronx lawyers know that this can be a very serious claim against a victim hit by a car.
The comparative fault of a victim will not bar recovery for personal injuries, medical bills, and lost wages, but it may lower the total amount of money that can be recovered. This is because the comparative fault of a victim is taken into consideration and will proportionally lower the final award.
For example, a victim that receives a verdict of $100,000 but is found to be 30% at comparative fault may only recover $70,000 (the verdict is reduced by extent of their own fault). Pedestrians who walk outside of a crosswalk or suddenly dart out from between cars could be entitled to even less. This is why it is imperative that all pedestrians properly keep on the lookout for aggressive, negligent, and dangerous drivers to protect their own health and safety.
Were You Hit by a Car in NYC? Call Our Bronx Lawyers for Help
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in any type of auto accident in New York City, especially an auto accident involving a pedestrian hit by a car, call
our compassionate and experienced team to learn how we can help you during a FREE consultation by dialing (516) 294-2664 or (718) 416-1500, or by sending us a private message through our contact us box available here.