Can Drivers Be Held Liable If The Pedestrian Was Outside The Crosswalk?
If a pedestrian was outside the crosswalk when an accident occurred, the driver might claim that the pedestrian was responsible for his or her own accident because he or crossed in the middle of the street. One might concede that the fact that the pedestrian didn't cross the street at a designated area was not ideal. However, does this really discharge the vehicle operator from negligence? After all, a pedestrian crossing the street outside of a designated area is a foreseeable event that occurs thousands of times per day in New York City, on a regular and ongoing basis. The operator of a potentially deadly motor vehicle still has the duty, in the exercise of reasonable care, to be attentive and alert for such pedestrians. The operator has a duty to see what is there to be seen, and not to drive at an excessive speed, all of which could contribute to an accident involving a pedestrian. Also, once observing a pedestrian in a roadway, the driver still has the obligation to yield.
Often the driver will claim he was operating the vehicle slowly and carefully, and exercised reasonable care, yet was still unable to avoid the accident. Certainly, if this is true, then the driver should not be found negligent. On the other hand, it is fair to test the claims of the driver. For example, we have handled multiple cases where the driver claims that a child or pedestrian ran out between 2 parked cars. This claim borders on a cliché defense that is repeated by defense attorneys because the claim has such appeal to a jury. However, when one crosses a city street, there is almost always a parked car somewhere to the pedestrian's right and somewhere to their left, even if neither car is close. Thus, the claim of emerging onto the roadway "between parked cars" has little meaning until there is an examination of where the parked vehicles purportedly were in relation to the pedestrian when he or she started to cross the street. Were the vehicles really so close to the pedestrian that they would have obscured the vision of a prudent driver? Even if the pedestrian emerged between 2 closely-parked vehicles, how far was he or she into the roadway when he or she was struck? Are we really going to exculpate a potentially speeding and inattentive driver from any responsibility for striking a pedestrian under these circumstances? Perhaps the person who walked out onto a roadway passed through one or even 2 full lanes of traffic, was in open view and was visible for an extended period of time prior to being struck so that any driver, in the exercise of reasonable care, would have avoided the accident.
The details must be fully investigated and discovered prior to a determination or argument being made whether a driver was negligent for striking a pedestrian outside of the crosswalk. Liability in these types of cases is not necessarily determined by something as simple as whether the injured individual was in a crosswalk or obeyed general traffic signs. Upon further examination, a driver may be fully or partially responsible for an accident that on first glance appeared to be the fault of a pedestrian. On the other hand, in fairness, an accident that first appears to be the fault of the driver may ultimately be shown to be partly or substantially the fault of the injured party. There are no "automatics" when litigating a pedestrian accident case.
Our Pedestrian Accident Attorneys In NYC Help Determine Liability
The answers to the many questions relating to time, distance and speed can be crucial to the issue of negligence in vehicle accident cases. As a result, our firm often retains expert witnesses such as accident reconstruction experts and engineers. The answers to such questions and the opinions of experts which are based on the discovered facts may logically and/or scientifically disprove the version of the accident of one party or the other. In addition to conclusions regarding who did what and when, the answers to such questions also allow one to deduce how much time the driver had to react and whether the reaction time was diminished due to carelessness or inattention, as opposed to just being the product of what one might consider a normal human reaction that was within the bounds of reasonable care.
Other types of experts that we may retain for your pedestrian accident case include biomechanical engineers. These types of experts are often hired to prove a particular injury was caused by an accident, as opposed to proving fault. Indeed, many attorneys try to defend the case by claiming that the mechanism of contact is not consistent with the type of injury claimed to have been caused. A biomechanical engineer might, for example, testify regarding a twisting or other movement that occurred as a result of a certain impact. This type of testimony, combined with the expert testimony of an orthopedic surgeon or other qualified medical expert, can be important in thwarting frivolous defenses to serious injury claims. (The defendant's attorney or insurance company may claim that your injury or condition was pre-existing or unrelated to the accident).
Certain types of major injuries are common occurrences in pedestrian accidents. These include "bumper" injuries that often occur at the height of one's legs or up to the area of the hips. Such contact often results in broken bones and fractures to the tibia and/or fibula. These are the bones in the lower leg below the knee. Bumper contacts also frequently break the knee (known as the patella itself). The knee is a joint and a fracture to the knee or other joint often involves serious complications. Contact with the bumper also frequently causes a fracture to the femur which is the main leg bone between the knee and the hip. The top of the femur forms a joint with a bone known as the acetabulum. This is the hip joint and a fracture of the hip or any of the pelvic bones surrounding the hip is also very serious. All of the aforementioned fractures involve open reduction and internal fixation surgery (ORIF). ORIF surgery repositions broken bones back into place and then utilizes an internal fixation device (screws, plates, rods or pins) to hold the broken bones together. Vehicular accidents can and do cause serious injuries and fractures to all parts of the body of the pedestrian. We have handled numerous pedestrian cases that involved paralysis or death. The catastrophic nature of injuries that result from impact between the human body and a vehicle that may weigh thousands of pounds makes it even more essential to carefully choose an attorney with the experience, expertise and resources to handle your case.
Our NYC Pedestrian Accident Attorneys Will Help You Get The Compensation You Deserve
Individuals who have been hit by a vehicle while walking may have several types of compensation available to them in a lawsuit. Injured pedestrians who are forced to miss time at work due to their accident may be able to recoup compensation for lost wages. Additionally, victims can receive compensation for any damage the accident causes their future earning potential. Individuals who have been struck by a vehicle may also be forced to undergo numerous medical procedures, purchase medication and make frequent doctor's visits in the future. A lawsuit may provide injured individuals compensation for any medical costs uncovered by insurance. In addition to the economic damages injured pedestrians may be able to recoup, a lawsuit may provide compensation for some non-economic pain and suffering damages. Non-economic damages accident victims may be able to receive include but are not limited to emotional trauma, loss of life's enjoyment and long-term physical pain.
When an individual dies after being struck by a vehicle, their family may have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit. As with a regular negligence lawsuit, families filing a claim for wrongful death can recoup compensation for economic and non-economic damage. The compensation families can recover includes but is not limited to lost wages, medical bills, funeral costs, pain and suffering the victim suffered before death, loss of consortium and loss of parental guidance.
Our pedestrian accident attorneys in NYC handle lawsuits for injured victims as well as wrongful death claims for grieving families. Our attorneys realize the tremendous hardships a traffic accident can impose on victims and their families. As a result, we are committed to helping ease their financial burden. We will pursue maximum compensation for all damages victims and their families may have suffered due to the accident.
Leaders In Personal Injury Trial Law
Our NYC pedestrian accident attorneys are recognized as leaders in personal injury trial law. 6 of our attorneys have achieved AV Preeminent status with Martindale-Hubbell representing the highest ranking for ethical standards and legal ability. 5 of our attorneys have been included in Super Lawyers® in the New York Metropolitan Area as published in the Magazine Section of the New York Times. Our firm is listed among the Best Lawyers® in the State of New York and is listed among the Best Law Firms in the New York Metro area by US News & World Report.