Whether going for a walk to the store, to visit a neighbor or for some exercise, you must worry about vehicles on the road traveling near you as a pedestrian. Unfortunately, not all drivers look out for pedestrians as they go about their commute. If they engage in negligence behind the wheel of a vehicle, they can endanger the life of pedestrians by causing a collision.
If you suffer any type of harm in a pedestrian accident, you have the right to sue the party responsible for your losses or seek compensation for your damages through an insurance claim. The money you may receive in your case will depend on various factors in the case and the facts surrounding the pedestrian accident. A New York pedestrian accident attorney can represent you and help you decide how to get the compensation you deserve and fight for your rights under New York law.
What are the Damages Available in New York Pedestrian Cases?
A collision between a pedestrian and a vehicle can have catastrophic consequences. Sadly, some pedestrians can lose their life when colliding with a moving vehicle. However, the pedestrians in an accident that survive their injuries can still face life-threatening risks and long-term or permanent disabilities because of the crash.
Aside from the imminent dangers and interruption to your life from the pedestrian accident, the aftermath is likely uncertain, and you may begin to realize the severe losses and impacts.
It is not possible to know exactly how your case will turn out. It can be hard to predict if a case will settle or go to court in the early stages. Furthermore, narrowing down how much an insurance company will pay you or what a court may award you is an even more significant challenge. However, calculating your damages is something you can do with the help of your pedestrian accident attorney, that will give you an estimate of the maximum compensation possible in your case.
The goal of a lawyer working with you will be to help you fight for the full dollar amount possible in compensation for your losses. While an insurance company or party at fault will not automatically accept your estimate of damages, this fundamental process can help you create a guiding point from which to work through negotiations and the preparation of a lawsuit if necessary.
Damages that you may include in a pedestrian accident claim or lawsuit for compensation:
No matter the severity of your injuries, you will need a medical evaluation and treatment following a pedestrian accident. Even a short trip to the ER can end up costing you thousands of dollars. If your injuries are serious and require hospitalization, surgery or long-term medical support, you could be looking and tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills.
In a pedestrian accident claim or court case, you can pursue all medical costs related to your injuries, including those expenses for the medical care you may incur in the future if your injuries cause chronic or permanent health issues.
Injuries from a pedestrian accident do not just affect your health but affect your ability to meet your responsibilities and productivity. For minor to moderate injuries, this can mean some days or a week off of work following an accident. However, recovery can entail long hospital stays and lengthy rehabilitation for serious or catastrophic pedestrian injuries. In some severe cases, victims of a pedestrian accident may never return to work or become unable to do the job they once enjoyed.
As part of your claim or lawsuit, you can seek damages, including the loss of your income and wages during this time. Additionally, suppose you suffer a permanent injury that leaves you disabled. In that case, you can pursue future income losses and even potential income you will miss out on down the line because of your pedestrian accident injuries.
Pain and suffering
The pain of many pedestrian accident victims is a personal and overwhelming aspect of the accident and its aftermath. Your suffering and pain cannot be undone, but the law allows you to seek monetary compensation for your significant impacts.
Pain and suffering damages include the physical aspects of your impacts during the accident and recovery and the emotional and mental trauma and suffering you endure during and after the pedestrian collision. Typically, insurance companies and the parties at fault do not like to pay pain and suffering damages willingly. However, a pedestrian accident attorney representing you can help you build your case and provide the support necessary to negotiate these damages with the liable parties or pursue the damages in court if necessary.
Wrongful death compensation
There are many pedestrians who do not survive a pedestrian accident or initially survive the collision but later succumb to a life-threatening injury or complication. Suppose you are a surviving family member of a fatal pedestrian accident victim.
In that case, you may be able to file a wrongful death insurance claim or lawsuit for the tragic and sudden passing of your loved one. A pedestrian accident attorney can discuss with you who is able to seek wrongful death damages and what the wrongful death compensation can entail in the case.
Will the Insurance Company Pay for Your Damages Without a Lawyer?
Insurance companies have varying tactics and strategies they will use when trying to close out a pedestrian accident claim. None of these strategies make it easy for a victim to seek compensation or pay out the maximum damages to a pedestrian victim without a fight.
Some victims that attempt to resolve a pedestrian accident claim without an attorney may find themselves facing a claim denial. Others may not have their claim denied by the insurer but may confront a settlement offer much lower than what they were expecting.
In reality, insurers want to make money and do not increase their bottom line by paying out the max on every claim. Insurance company representatives will try to get away with paying as little as possible in each case. Going up against these big and experienced insurance companies without the help of an attorney can be a costly and irreversible mistake. An attorney taking on your pedestrian accident case can fight for you each step of the claim and try to get you the best possible outcome, even if it means fighting the insurer in court.
The Most Common Injuries to Pedestrians in Traffic Accidents
Pedestrian accidents involve a significant force imbalance when a vehicle collides with an individual. The damage to the body and subsequent injuries that occur can be traumatic and life-threatening.
Most often, the factors that can influence the severity of the injuries involved include the speed of travel of the car, the size of the vehicle involved and the location of impact on the body of the pedestrian. The more severe the injuries, the higher the likelihood of long-term damage and effects on the victim’s life.
Injuries from a pedestrian accident can most commonly involve:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Other head and neck injuries
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries
- Internal trauma
- Deep lacerations
Why Do Most Pedestrian Accidents Occur?
The cause of most pedestrian accidents is no mystery. Negligence of drivers occupying the roadways is most commonly the cause of fatalities and injuries of pedestrians when an accident occurs. Any time a driver gets behind the wheel of a vehicle, they owe a duty of care to pedestrians, other drivers, and passengers. Any action or refrain from acting that breaches that duty of care and then causes injury to others can be an example of negligence.
Common causes of pedestrian accidents due to the negligence of a driver include:
- Driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs
- Speeding or other reckless driving behaviors
- Failure to obey traffic laws
- Driving while distracted
How Do You Prove a Driver Caused Your Pedestrian Accident Injuries?
To prove that the driver of the vehicle is to blame for your pedestrian accident injuries and damages, you must first establish negligence. Negligence and fault determinations are a routine part of an insurance claim.
Insurance companies will evaluate the evidence they have to determine who they believe is to blame for the accident. While the insurance companies’ determination will influence the insurance claims process, it is not a legal and final determination.
Every day a victim’s attorney will challenge an insurance company’s fault decision in court when there is evidence in a case that contradicts their findings. If an insurer determines that a driver is not at fault for a pedestrian collision, but there is strong evidence proving the driver is to blame, the victim can file a lawsuit in court against the insurer.
To prove negligence, you must show:
- That the driver owes you, the pedestrian, a duty of care
- Through some action or lack of action, the driver breaches the duty of care they owe you
- You suffer harm due to the collision
- The cause of your injuries and damages was the driver’s breach of the duty of care
What Should You Do If You are a Pedestrian Hit by a Vehicle in New York?
Suppose you find yourself a victim of a New York pedestrian accident with a vehicle. In that case, you must act fast to protect your rights and safeguard any evidence that may be available to support your case. After the dust settles and your medical team stabilizes your injuries, you can begin to think about the next steps in your case and how you can begin to prepare for an insurance claim or lawsuit.
1. Take Care of Your Injuries
Injury recovery can be a long road and process. If you have multiple injuries or severe damage, it can take time to begin to heal and discover what the impact of those injuries might be on your day-to-day life and future. The most important thing you can do for your pedestrian accident case and your personal health is to maintain your medical care as advised by your doctors.
Failing to keep appointments or skipping out on rehab sessions is potential evidence of interference to your recovery, which an insurer could use to limit your compensation.
2. Keep Evidence in Your Possession Safe
While your attorney will help you identify and recover evidence from other sources, any evidence that you have in your possession must be safe until your consultation. Find an area where you can keep any papers and other information relevant to the accident. If you have photographs or videos of the accident scene or your injuries, back them up to ensure you have access to them when needed.
3. Keep Notes or Create a Journal
While the accident may be fresh in your memory now, it might not be in a few weeks or months. Take notes in any way you prefer about events, conversations or developments that could help your case.
4. Call a New York Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Finally, take the time to schedule a free pedestrian accident attorney consultation in New York as soon as you can. Meet with a law office to discuss the possibility of representation, the facts of your case and the compensation that may be available to you after a pedestrian accident in New York.
How Can You Fight for the Maximum Compensation After a Pedestrian Accident?
Your best weapon to fight for the maximum compensation in a pedestrian accident case is to hire a qualified and experienced New York pedestrian accident attorney. Contact an experienced injury attorney now for a free case consultation.
Mr. Finkelstein is the Managing Partner of Finkelstein & Partners, LLP. He has become a noted consumer activist through his representation of injured individuals against corporate wrongdoers and irresponsible parties.
An accomplished litigator, Mr. Finkelstein has represented Plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic personal injury cases. He has successfully handled dozens of multi-million dollar cases.