New York City Pedestrian Accident Attorney
Pedestrian Accidents & Injuries in Brooklyn & Throughout NYC
New York City has more foot traffic than any other city in the nation. While pedestrians abound, so do pedestrian accidents. Every year, hundreds of people are killed in collisions with cars, trucks, motorcycles, and other vehicles in and around New York City. And, according to recent reports, the frequency of these incidents is increasing; in 2019 alone, 121 pedestrians died in New York City, and preliminary data showed that 2020 may be one of the worst years in recent history when it comes to traffic-related fatalities.
At Rubenstein & Rynecki, our attorneys have been representing victims of severe injury—as well as the surviving family members of those killed due to the negligence of others—since 1972. Founded in Brooklyn in 1996, our firm has earned a reputation for providing aggressive advocacy and serving as a voice for the voiceless. We have an open-door policy and believe in always being accessible and available to our clients.
Reach out to us today at (718) 522-1020 to set up a free initial consultation with one of our New York City pedestrian accident attorneys. Hablamos español.
The High Cost of Motorist Negligence
Because human beings are virtually defenseless against the massive size and weight of motor vehicles, being struck by a vehicle can leave a pedestrian with catastrophic, lifelong injuries.
Common pedestrian accident injuries include:
- Serious cuts, scrapes, lacerations, and bruises
- Traumatic head and brain injuries
- Broken bones/fractures
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
- Back and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Loss of limb
- Injuries to muscles, ligaments, and soft tissue
These and other serious injuries have a major impact on victims’ lives. Often, they must be hospitalized and undergo extensive treatment. They may even require lifelong care or become permanently disabled, turning weeks or months off work into a lifetime of limited employment. On top of all this, victims and their families must contend with the emotional trauma associated with these incidents, which can be just as—if not more—debilitating than the physical pain and suffering of their injuries.
The cost of treating serious injuries, not to mention the financial hardships resulting from missed work and reduced earning capacity, can be exorbitant. Often, victims’ expenses are not fully covered by no-fault insurance. When this is the case, our New York City pedestrian accident attorneys can help you determine if you have grounds for a lawsuit.
Liability in Pedestrian Accidents
Motorists who violate traffic laws by speeding or by not yielding the right-of-way can seriously harm pedestrians. Multiple studies have shown that negligent motorists are commonly to blame for pedestrian accidents, including one conducted by the New York Department of Transportation (DOT), which indicated that close to 36 percent of pedestrian crashes resulted from driver inattention. The study also revealed that about 27 percent of fatal pedestrian crashes involved the driver's failure to yield.
However, although motorist negligence is a leading factor in many pedestrian accidents, pedestrians who violate traffic rules typically bear some the liability for their own injuries.
In New York, pedestrians have the following responsibilities:
- Obey traffic control signals and devices, including signs and pavement markings
- Yield to vehicles when crossing outside a marked or unmarked crosswalk
- Use sidewalks when available and, when no sidewalk is available, walk as far to the left as possible facing oncoming traffic
- Avoid suddenly leaving a curb, sidewalk, or other place of safety and entering the roadway when vehicles cannot reasonably stop
If a pedestrian is found to have acted negligently or wrongfully, they could share some of the liability for the accident under New York’s comparative negligence rule. Under this rule, courts reduce compensation by a victim’s percentage of negligence. However, even when the court assigns some negligence to the injured pedestrian, recovery of damages may still be possible.
Comparative Negligence Can Reduce Your Damage Award
In many pedestrian accident cases, there is an obvious victim and an obvious wrongdoer. However, some cases involve shared liability, where both a pedestrian and a motor vehicle operator acted carelessly. New York operates under the rule of pure comparative negligence, which reduces a victim’s damage award according to their share of the blame. For example, if the court decides a victim is 30 percent at fault, he or she can only recover 70 percent of their losses. Thus, if total losses amount to $100,000, the victim is only entitled to $70,000 from the defendant.
Insurance companies and defense attorneys often use comparative negligence to reduce the amount their client must pay. As your New York City pedestrian accident attorneys, we work to protect you from allegations of comparative negligence and fight to maximize your recovery.
Damages Available in Pedestrian Accident Cases
Pedestrians who sustain serious injuries in traffic accidents are faced with significant and sometimes long-lasting financial losses, which can include:
- Present and future medical bills
- Rehabilitation costs
- Homecare costs
- Present and future lost income
- Physical pain and emotional suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of enjoyment of life
As your legal counsel, our job is to maximize the amount you can recover so you are truly compensated for your losses, whether in a settlement or at trial. We consult with medical and financial experts to get an accurate picture of your total losses and build a compelling case for recovery.
Filing a Claim Against a Negligent Driver
In most pedestrian accident cases, the driver is considered at fault, even if the pedestrian was not crossing the street at a crosswalk. There are various laws that exist regarding driver attentiveness, so plaintiffs can argue that drivers should have been aware of hazards in the road, including pedestrians. If the pedestrian is hit in the crosswalk, it is basically an open and shut case—there is very little chance that the driver will be able to avoid liability.
Filing Claims Against a Negligent Municipality
If the layout or condition of the streets is likely to cause accidents, or if traffic lights or stop signs are broken or fail to control traffic properly, the pedestrian could file a claim against the municipality where the accident occurred. Another scenario is a poorly placed crosswalk, such as one located around a curve that does not give drivers adequate time to notice pedestrians crossing the street. Because the municipality is responsible for the placement of crosswalks, it might be held liable in that situation.
If you are hit by a car while traveling on foot in New York City and sustain injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for the medical costs, lost wages, and other damages you suffer. Consult an attorney at Rubenstein & Rynecki to learn more about your rights after a pedestrian accident.
New York’s Statute of Limitations Restricts Your Time to File a Claim
It is never wise to rush into a personal injury settlement because your prognosis for recovery could be wrong. You might discover later on that your injuries were far worse than thought at the time. However, you cannot delay forever.
New York law gives victims of pedestrian accidents three years from the date of the occurrence to file a personal injury lawsuit. It’s also wise to begin planning a case early when evidence can be preserved and witnesses’ memories are fresh.
Contact Our NYC Personal Injury Lawyers for a Pedestrian Accident Consultation
When you turn to Rubenstein & Rynecki, you get an entire team of dedicated attorneys and support staff, all of whom are committed to fighting for you and your recovery. As your legal counsel, we will be there to advise and support you throughout the process. We are ready to handle every detail—from gathering evidence and working with industry experts to putting together your claim and negotiating with the insurance company—so that you can simply focus on getting back on your feet.
From our office in Brooklyn, we serve clients throughout NYC’s five boroughs. We provide legal services in English, Spanish, Russian, Romanian, Greek, and Creole and offer contingency fees. This means that you do not pay anything upfront, and you do not owe attorney fees unless/until we recover compensation for you.