Pedestrian accidents are very common in New York, especially in Manhattan, where streets are notoriously crowded and drivers tend to be aggressive. Pedestrian accidents can result in catastrophic injuries, which require extensive and expensive medical care. A pedestrian accident lawyer can help you navigate your legal rights as a pedestrian in order to get the compensation you need and deserve.
Reid B. Wissner is a personal injury lawyer in New York with extensive experience helping pedestrians obtain justice and compensation after being hit by a car, truck, or motorcycle. Call 212-903-4LAW (4529) to schedule your free case evaluation.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Pedestrian Accidents in NYC?
Pedestrian accidents fall under the umbrella of personal injury. The statute of limitations for most personal injury cases in the state of New York is three years from the accident date. That means that, barring any special circumstances, you have three years to file your injury claim. There are a few exceptions to this timeline. If you were struck by a city vehicle, then you must file a notice of claim within ninety days.
In this situation, you also have less time to file a lawsuit. The lawsuit must typically be filed within one year and ninety days of the accident date. In the tragic event that a pedestrian dies before bringing a personal injury lawsuit, it may be considered a wrongful death. In a wrongful death lawsuit, the deadline for starting a case is two years from the date of the victim’s death, which may or may not be the date of the accident.
Why You will Need a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
New York is a no-fault state, meaning that no matter whose fault the accident was, the driver's insurance should pay for your medical bills. However, insurance companies will often try to deny or devalue your claim in order to pay out as little as possible. An experienced pedestrian accident lawyer in New York can help you fight big insurance companies in order to get a better settlement.
It is important to receive legal help as soon as possible after being hit by a car in New York, as you have a limited time frame to file suit. In addition, it is easier to receive a favorable outcome while all the evidence is still fresh. Make sure that your doctor thoroughly documents all of your injuries, as this is key information.
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What are some common Pedestrian Accident Injuries?
Some of the most common injuries that result from being hit by a car include:
- Broken bones and fractures
- Spinal cord injuries
- Brain and head injuries
These injuries can significantly impact your life, often leading to extensive hospital stays and rehabilitation. In some cases, victims may require at-home care as well. Medical bills, lost wages, and lost future earning potential in the case of long term disability can add up, and if you take the first offer the insurance company makes, this likely will not be enough to cover it all.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Many car accidents involving pedestrians happen due to driver negligence. The most common causes include:
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
- Reckless driving
In New York City in particular, most pedestrians are hit by cars in intersections, while following the correct signals. In some cases, however, pedestrians may be hit while jaywalking or while crossing at a non-signal crosswalk.
If you are hit while jaywalking, it will be more difficult to get full compensation; however, it is not impossible, as usually the driver is held responsible for being alert and aware of potential dangers while driving, including keeping a lookout for pedestrians.
Who Is Typically at Fault in a Pedestrian Accident?
Several different parties can be found liable in a pedestrian accident. It is crucial to work with an experienced pedestrian accident attorney in order to determine fault and seek compensation. In some cases, the fault clearly lies with the driver. Running a red light or failing to stop at a designated crosswalk are a few of the reckless actions that can indicate driver liability. The pedestrian can also be at fault under certain circumstances.
And sometimes, both parties are liable. Keep in mind that pedestrians may also have a claim against the local municipality if unsafe streets or traffic control devices — such as signs or traffic lights — contributed to their accident.
Types of Evidence Used in a Pedestrian Accident Case
Evidence is crucial when it comes to proving how the pedestrian accident happened, who is at fault, and what damages occurred as a result of the incident. Pieces of evidence may include:
Photos and videos taken at the scene
Traffic video and red light camera stills
A police report of the crash
Witness information and testimonies
You do not need to gather all of this information on your own. Our attorney will investigate the accident and compile the evidence needed to strengthen your pedestrian accident claim.
How Can I Prepare for My Case in Court?
The vast majority of pedestrian accident cases are settled outside of court. However, if going to trial is necessary to achieve the compensation you deserve, then it will help you to be prepared. Our pedestrian accident attorney will guide you through this process. Some tips include:
Familiarize yourself with courtroom and trial procedures
- Know the strengths and weaknesses of your case
- Practice your testimony and answer some sample questions
- Prepare for probing questions and work on keeping your cool
- Pick out an appropriate outfit to wear on the day of your trial
How Long A Pedestrian Accident case can Take in Court
Every pedestrian accident case is unique. The trial process can last for at least several days. However, it is not uncommon for it to take longer, or for the trial date to get pushed back. The pre-trial process is often more time-intensive than the trial itself. It can take between several months to several years, depending on the exact details of the pedestrian accident case. Remember that while most personal injury cases settle before trial, taking the matter to court can help you get the money you deserve if the insurance company is unwilling to pay up.
What Kind of Compensation Should I Expect?
In a no-fault state like New York, the driver’s insurance company should pay some or all of your medical bills, regardless of who was responsible for the pedestrian accident that injured you. Unfortunately, you may run into obstacles when trying to obtain the compensation you need to move forward. Insurance companies often delay, devalue, and deny valid injury claims to protect their interests.
Filing a lawsuit may allow you to recover the settlement you deserve. It can also help you collect compensation that you would otherwise not be entitled to receive under the no-fault system. In a successful pedestrian accident lawsuit, you may be able to recover compensation for:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages and benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lifestyle accommodations
Schedule Your Pedestrian Accident Consultation
If you or a loved one has been hit by a car, don't hesitate to contact the Reid B. Wissner Law Offices at 212-903-4LAW (4529) for your free legal evaluation. We serve clients in the greater New York City area, including the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan.