Syracuse Pedestrian Accident Attorney
Throughout the year, even in poor winter weather, you will find pedestrians out and about in Syracuse. You may be one of them. Whether walking to work downtown or darting to class on campus, pedestrians need to keep an eye out for where they are going, just like drivers of cars do.
In an accident between a car and a person, the results can be deadly. Because a pedestrian has no protection from a vehicle’s impact, their body takes the full force, causing severe and life-threatening injuries, even in slow-speed accidents.
For over 60 years, Finkelstein & Partners has been helping pedestrian accident victims in Syracuse collect compensation from negligent drivers. If you or a loved one were injured while walking, you need to speak with a skilled Syracuse pedestrian accident lawyer today. You may pursue compensation under the law, and we can guide you through the complex legal process ahead, attempting to recover every dollar you deserve.
Why Pedestrian Accidents Happen
In New York, pedestrians have the right of way in all crosswalks and at intersections. But that does not stop drivers from blowing through these areas of the road. Much like all other forms of car accidents, pedestrian accidents most frequently occur because of human error.
The most common causes of pedestrian accidents include:
- Texting while driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Eating while driving
- Poor weather conditions
- Distracted driving
- Inexperienced driver
- Failure to yield
- Backup accidents
Pedestrian accidents frequently occur in parking lots. When a car backs out of a parking spot, it may have an obstructed view and might back into someone walking by. While new vehicles have backup and warning cameras, not all vehicles have this technology. Even these accidents at very slow speeds can cause serious injuries for pedestrian accident victims.
There are countless reasons why drivers and pedestrians get into accidents. The vast majority result from human error. But the one thing they all have in common is a serious injury to the pedestrian.
When you suffer injuries in a pedestrian accident, you may hold the negligent driver liable for your injuries. To do that, you need to partner with an experienced Syracuse pedestrian accident attorney who can fight to protect your rights and work to collect maximum compensation for your injuries. The last thing you want is to pay out of pocket for injuries you did not cause.
Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries
On average, a pedestrian is killed every 88 minutes in a car crash. While not every accident will result in death, this shows the severity with which pedestrians can suffer injuries when a moving vehicle hits their bodies. You need to hold negligent, reckless, and careless drivers responsible for the actions. They must pay for your medical expenses, which may become astronomical.
Because your body takes the full force of the impact, your injuries can be life-altering. This will require extensive and ongoing medical care and adjustments to your life. The most common pedestrian accident injuries follow.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
These injuries, often referred to as TBIs, are caused by an outside force pushing so hard on your body that your brain moves around in your head. The most commonly known TBI is a concussion, and while not frequently deadly, concussions can cause lifelong brain damage. It’s also important to note that you do not need to suffer a blow to the head to have a TBI. If the force to your body is strong enough, your brain can suffer injuries even without a direct blow to your head.
When a car hits a human body, bones often break. Sometimes the car is moving at such a rapid speed that it breaks arm and leg bones instantly. Even at slow speeds, the victim could be knocked to the ground and try to brace for impact by putting their arms out, resulting in a broken arm or wrist bone. While treatable, these injuries cause extreme pain and can impact your quality of life.
Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord is a delicate and important part of your ability to move. If your spinal cord is injured or damaged during a pedestrian accident, it could cause paralysis. Even minor damage to the spinal cord can result in life-changing conditions for both you and your family.
In more severe cases, your body may suffer such serious injuries that an extremity needs to be amputated. This may occur if a vehicle traps your body, arm, or leg for an extended time. Not only does this cause excruciating pain, but it also alters your life forever, requiring major life adjustments.
Being struck by a vehicle is a traumatic experience. This type of trauma can wreak havoc on your physical state but also your mental state. Do not discount your mental injuries just because you cannot see them. Lasting emotional trauma is common after a pedestrian accident.
In the most extreme cases, a pedestrian accident can result in death. Because pedestrians do not have the same protection as passengers in a car, their body takes the full brunt of the impact, often causing irreversible damage. If you have a loved one who has died in a pedestrian accident, you may collect compensation from the negligent driver that has caused your family such pain and suffering.
Speak with Finkelstein & Partners today to find out how you can recover financial compensation for your loss. We know that no amount of money will bring your loved one back but it will help you cover the financial expenses you face while you grieve.
What to Do After Your Pedestrian Accident
The steps you take immediately after you suffer injuries in a pedestrian accident can play an important role in your ability to recover compensation for your injuries. Following these steps will help to ensure that you are healthy as can be and that you preserve evidence for your lawyer to use to prove someone else caused your injuries.
Seek Medical Attention
When you are hit by a car, call 911 right away. Even if you feel fine, that may just be your adrenaline running. You may have serious injuries that require immediate medical attention. After calling 911, emergency medical personnel will rush to the accident scene and fully evaluate your injuries. They may need to transport you to the hospital for further evaluation and treatment.
Take Pictures and Video
Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may need to get a trusted friend or family member to do this for you. Taking pictures and video of the entire accident scene, your injuries, the vehicle involved, and any other relevant items will help your lawyer paint a picture of what happened. The images of your injuries can also tell a story of what you suffered and how much it took for you to overcome your injuries.
When you see your doctor, they will take notes about your condition and how you have changed. They may also note how these injuries have impacted your life. Keep copies of these notes for your records. Also, keep your own notes. Write daily how you feel, the pain you endure, the hurdles you face, anything you can think of, write it down. Over time, you will forget every obstacle you faced during your recovery. Keeping notes about your recovery time will help your legal team understand everything you went through and are still going through to get back to your regular life.
Contact Finkelstein & Partners
When you suffer injuries in a pedestrian accident, you deserve a lawyer with proven experience helping victims like you recover. We can help you understand your options for recovery and work to collect maximum compensation for you. Your goal should be to completely focus on your health and well-being. Let your legal team worry about collecting compensation for your injuries.
To attempt collection of compensation from the negligent driver, you must first prove they caused your injuries. You have limited time to do this, so make sure that you act fast and speak with a Syracuse pedestrian accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident.
When you partner with a lawyer to file your Syracuse pedestrian accident claim, you need to prove that the driver:
- Owed you a duty of care to drive safely and pay attention
- Breached that duty of care by driving in an unsafe manner or failing to pay attention
- Because of the breach of duty, the driver caused an accident
- In the accident, you suffered injuries
You may find this a simple task because you were there and you know exactly what happened. But proving this to a legal standard is more complex.
That’s why you need to work with a trusted pedestrian accident lawyer in Syracuse who has your best interests at heart. Your legal representative can help you prove that someone else caused your injuries and they should be responsible for covering your expenses.
Your lawyer may try to collect compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost income
- Lost earning potential
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Present and future medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Home renovation costs
Many pedestrian accident victims see the medical bills piling up on their kitchen table and assume that’s the amount of money they can collect. If that’s all the money they get, they will inevitably pay out of pocket for future medical expenses.
When you suffer injuries in a pedestrian accident in Syracuse, you need to realize that the vast majority of your financial needs will come in the future. Settling for a little money now will result in you and your family shouldering the financial burden of covering your medical bills in the future.
Your injuries may also be severe, leaving you out of work for an extended time. You may never return to work. This severely limits your ability to earn a living and pay your bills. But this loss in income should not mean that your family needs to work overtime or take on extra jobs. Covering this financial loss should be the sole responsibility of the negligent driver.
Working with an experienced pedestrian accident attorney in Syracuse can allow your and your family to be together while you focus on your recovery. Your lawyer will deal with the legal process while you focus on what matters most—getting better.
Be Aware of Insurance Company Tactics
Most cases like your pedestrian accident injury claim settle out of court. But that does not mean it is a quick or easy process. In fact, many insurance companies will prey on victims like you, trying to make you go away for as little money as possible.
The goal of insurance companies is to keep money in their pocket and out of yours. To achieve that goal, they often contact victims like you right after you have suffered an injury, before you even know the full extent of your injuries and what it will take to recover.
When they call you, that’s when you need to have a lawyer at your side, even if the insurance company tells you otherwise. Your lawyer will have your best interests at heart and will aggressively negotiate on your behalf to help you recover every dollar you deserve. Without a knowledgeable Syracuse pedestrian accident lawyer at your side, you risk missing out on the compensation you need to cover your medical expenses and lost income.
Syracuse Pedestrian Accident FAQs
A collision between a pedestrian and a motor vehicle can be an especially devastating auto accident. After all, there is generally nothing to protect the pedestrian from the force of a vehicle. Because of this, even low-speed accidents can result in serious, life-threatening injuries to pedestrians. Making things worse, a large number of these types of accidents are preventable.
Driver negligence leading to pedestrian accidents remains a serious risk in Syracuse. If a pedestrian accident injured you or someone you love in Syracuse, you have rights. To learn more about your next steps, contact an experienced Syracuse pedestrian accident attorney at Finkelstein & Partners. Read below to learn more about Syracuse pedestrian accidents and for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about these cases.
What are the most common causes of pedestrian accidents?
According to the New York Department of Health, pedestrian accidents are one of the top 10 leading causes of hospital admissions and death for almost every age group in the state. Common causes of pedestrian accidents include:
Failure to yield the right of way. There should be no uncertainty when it comes to who has the right of way between a vehicle and a pedestrian in Syracuse. State law requires all motorists to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and intersections. Even beyond intersections, if a driver intends to turn, a pedestrian has the right-of-way. Even with these laws in place, however, accidents continue to happen due to drivers failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians.
Driver turns continue to be a major cause of pedestrian accidents, especially left turns. A recent report from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety found that, in one year, approximately one-third of all pedestrian accidents at intersections involved drivers hitting a pedestrian crossing the road into which they were making a left turn. Even when a driver has a green light, they need to check for pedestrians before they turn.
Distracted driving. Distracted driving is a growing problem across the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) describes distracted driving as anything that takes the driver’s attention away from the task of driving. While cell phone use is a common contemporary example, eating, adjusting the radio, and talking to other passengers are other frequent forms of distracted driving.
However, many drivers fail to appreciate the dangers of distracted driving. It just takes a few seconds of being distracted for a pedestrian accident to happen. According to research sponsored by AAA, taking one’s eyes off the road for any more than two seconds doubles the risk of a collision.
Driving under the influence. Driving under the influence is another of the most dangerous hazards for pedestrians on the road. A recent report from the NHTSA found alcohol use for drivers and/or pedestrians accounted for nearly half of all fatal pedestrian accidents. Sixteen percent of drivers had a blood alcohol content over 0.08 percent at the time of collisions.
Driving under the influence is dangerous and always increases the likelihood of an accident.
Intoxication has the following effects on a driver that greatly increase the chance of accidents:
- Impaired decision-making
- Slower reaction time
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty concentrating
- Problems staying awake
Speeding. According to NHTSA, speeding is a factor in more than a quarter of all traffic fatalities for more than two decades. The faster a vehicle travels, the longer it takes to stop. Drivers who are speeding also have less time to react. A speeding driver certainly poses a risk to other motorists, but pedestrians are especially vulnerable. Perhaps unsurprisingly, studies have found there is a direct relationship between how fast a vehicle is traveling and the pedestrian’s likelihood of survival in a collision.
A report from AAA found, at 23 miles per hour, pedestrians have a 25 percent chance of severe injury and a 10 percent chance of dying. At 39 miles per hour, the risk of serious injury jumps to 75 percent and at 42 miles per hour, the chance of death is a coin-toss.
What are my rights after a Syracuse pedestrian accident?
Syracuse pedestrian accident victims have similar rights to victims of any motorist collision, including:
- The right to medical care: Pedestrian accidents often result in serious injuries, requiring intensive medical care. After a Syracuse pedestrian accident, your priority should be your safety and health. All Syracuse residents are required by state law to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, which covers pedestrian victims of car accidents the same as motorist victims. The purpose of PIP is to provide a guaranteed source of medical coverage and/or lost wages, up to policy limits, after an accident. Thus, if you carry PIP as required by law, you should automatically be covered for medical expenses up to the limits of your policies.
- The right to pursue compensation: If you are in a Syracuse pedestrian accident that is the result of someone else’s negligence, you shouldn’t have to pay for the subsequent costs associated with that accident, from medical bills and lost wages to the other monetizable losses these accidents often produce. By law, you may have the right to seek damages from negligent parties if your damages exceed what is covered by your PIP insurance. You can start by drafting a demand for damages from a defendant’s insurance provider. If that fails, you can file a lawsuit in civil court. An experienced pedestrian accident attorney can explain your rights in your specific case and advise you about how to proceed to recover compensation.
Does a driver still have to pay if I wasn’t on a crosswalk?
Determining negligence in a Syracuse pedestrian injury case comes down to many factors beyond whether or not you were walking on a crosswalk. There are many circumstances where a pedestrian still has the right of way, even if they are not in a marked crosswalk.
Further, the law expects drivers to exercise a certain level of caution in driving, and to avoid hitting pedestrians, no matter whether a pedestrian is. Thus, even if a pedestrian was not where they should have been when an accident occurred, the driver may still hold some level of responsibility. This is especially true when it comes to children. Children can be unpredictable, as they often do not appreciate the consequences of certain actions. If a person is driving in an area where children are present or are known to frequent, they must take greater precautions to mitigate the chance of an accident, even ones that may happen if a child dashes out into the road in a technically illegal manner.
The driver who hit me is uninsured—what are my options?
Syracuse drivers are required by law to carry liability motor vehicle insurance. This insurance covers injured parties in the event of an accident. Even so, some drivers choose to drive without this insurance. If a driver hits you without insurance, this does not mean you do not have a personal injury case. There are still ways to recover damages.
- The driver’s assets: If the driver does not have liability insurance, your attorney may attempt to sue the driver for their personal assets. You may need to do this because most people do not have cash reserves to pay out damages for pedestrian accidents. Personal assets include real estate, personal property, or even retirement accounts. In some cases, if the person owns a business, their business assets may come into play.
- Your UI/UIM insurance: All Syracuse drivers must carry uninsured (UI) or underinsured motorist coverage (UIM). This insurance policy covers you in the case the other party does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover your costs. UI/UIM insurance may also come into play for hit-and-run accidents.
What types of damages can I recover after a Syracuse pedestrian accident?
If you have been injured in a Syracuse pedestrian accident, you may be facing a flood of bills, meanwhile being unable to work to earn wages to pay for those bills. During this time, it can be comforting to know what you may be able to recover to pay for all the bills and economic losses you experience.
While every case is unique and the exact damages you receive will depend on the circumstances of your case, common damages in pedestrian accident cases include:
- Medical bills: Pedestrian accidents often involve serious injuries. While your PIP insurance will cover some of these costs, many times, PIP coverage is not enough to pay for the full extent of your medical care. The goal of a personal injury claim beyond PIP is to recover all remaining expenses and impacts you face, including medical bills not covered by PIP. This may include doctor visits, prescriptions and over-the-counter medications, surgeries, hospital stays, and therapy, among other medical expenses.
- Lost wages: If you lose time from work because of your injuries, you can claim lost wages. Lost wages can begin the first day you miss work due to your accident injuries and may extend until you return to work. If your injuries prohibit you from returning to work before your claim is settled, you may be eligible for future lost wages.
- Pain and suffering and emotional/psychological distress: Pain and suffering and emotional or psychological distress constitute non-economic losses. These losses do not have an objective monetary value. These damages are typically based on the severity of your injuries and your overall prognosis.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit against the negligent driver?
After an accident, you should focus on your immediate recovery. Suing the driver who hit you might not even be on your mind. However, you should not wait too long to talk to an experienced attorney after a pedestrian-vehicle accident. In Syracuse, the statute of limitations for pedestrian-vehicle accidents is three years. While three years may seem like a long time, the sooner you can talk to an attorney the better.
Beyond the statute of limitations, there are three main reasons why it’s better to talk to an attorney sooner than later.
- You may be able to defer payment of medical bills: After an accident, medical bills can add up quickly. If you don’t have an open personal injury case, your care providers may demand payment right away. On the other hand, if you are working with an attorney, they may be able to help defer payment until your pedestrian injury claim resolves.
- Delay could result in lost evidence: Evidence tends to disappear or diminish with time. If there is surveillance video of the accident, the footage can become lost or recorded over in a short time. Witness memories fade, and an insurance company might even argue that older witness testimony is unreliable.
- The longer you wait, the longer it takes to get paid: Pedestrian accident cases can take anywhere from a few months to a few years to be resolved. The longer you wait, the longer it will take for you to reach a settlement or go to court to fight for damages. This could mean you have to figure out an alternate way to pay for bills and living expenses during the interim.
Do I need an attorney for my Syracuse pedestrian accident case?
The real question should be—should you get an attorney for your Syracuse pedestrian accident case? Absolutely, yes. Though you are not legally required to have an attorney to handle your case, an experienced attorney can make the process a lot easier and can help you recover much more than you could on your own. Many insurance companies make much lower settlement offers to parties who do not have an attorney. Why? Because they know they can get away with it. Finkelstein & Partners holds insurance companies accountable and uses the knowledge and resources of its legal team to build the strongest case possible. As a result, we’ve secured millions of dollars on behalf of our clients.
When you work with Finkelstein & Partners, you can expect them to handle your case with individual care and provide the services necessary to recover full and fair compensation.
These services include:
- Gathering and reviewing evidence
- Reviewing and assessing your potential compensation under all available insurance policies
- Communicating with insurance companies
- Working out alternate payment arrangements for your medical bills while your pedestrian accident injury claim is pending
- Drafting a demand for damages and negotiating a settlement
- Enlisting any necessary expert witnesses to support your claim
- Preparing for and taking your case to court, if settlement becomes unattainable
If you receive a settlement offer from an insurance company before you talk to an attorney, do not sign anything. Chances are it is much less than the actual value of your case. An experienced Syracuse pedestrian accident attorney can review the offer and help you determine whether it will cover all your expenses and impacts, or if you should press for more.
Get the answers you deserve
Nobody expects to be in a pedestrian accident. When you are, you need the best support you can get to recover compensation for your expenses and impacts. An experienced pedestrian accident attorney can make the difference between recovering everything you deserve and being left with expenses the at-fault party should have paid.
After a Syracuse pedestrian accident, one is likely to have many questions. As you recover, it’s important to get the answers you need. You have rights after an accident, and you may deserve compensation.
Don’t wait to get the justice you deserve. For more help or if you have any questions, contact an experienced pedestrian accident attorney at Finkelstein & Partners.
Get Legal Help Now From Finkelstein & Partners’ Syracuse Pedestrian Accident Attorneys
Suffering injuries in a pedestrian accident can be frustrating and disorienting. The last thing on your mind is filing a lawsuit to recover compensation. That’s why you must speak with an experienced Syracuse pedestrian accident attorney right away. Your personal injury lawyer can be the legal advocate you deserve, working diligently to collect maximum compensation for your injuries.
Contact Finkelstein & Partners today at (315) 453-3053 to find out how we can help you recover compensation for your pedestrian accident injuries.
108 West Jefferson Street,
Syracuse, NY 13202