At the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, we advocate for injury victims. Our legal team works hard to help our clients get justice for their injuries. Reach out today to schedule a free initial consultation with a White Plains, NY pedestrian accident lawyer.
Why Are Pedestrian Accidents So Dangerous?
In an ideal world, New Yorkers would be able to take a walk or go for a run without worrying about being hit by a car, truck, or SUV. Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents have become far too frequent across the state – and often result in catastrophic or even fatal injuries.
According to a recent study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the number of pedestrian accidents has increased along with the size of our vehicles. The study found that oversized vehicles are more likely than smaller cars to hit pedestrians, particularly while making turns. This is likely because the size, shape, or location of the pillars that support the roof on these vehicles makes it harder to see.
Beyond the increased risk of pedestrian crashes, the likelihood that an SUV, truck, or van will seriously injure or kill a pedestrian is far higher due to their sheer size. The IIHS study found that a left-turn pedestrian accident was twice as likely to kill the injury victim when it involves an SUV, three times as likely for vans and minivans, and nearly four times as likely for trucks. Overall, deaths from pedestrian accidents have increased by 59% from 2009 to 2020.
While left-turn accidents are incredibly common, there are other possible causes of pedestrian collisions. Common causes of pedestrian accidents include failure to yield, speeding, distracted driving, and failure to stop at a red light or stop sign.
Pedestrian knock-down accidents can also result in serious injury. These injuries may include:
- Brain damage or traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Internal organ damage
If you have been hurt in any type of pedestrian accident, you may be able to recover financial compensation by filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Our law firm will
work diligently to reconstruct the accident and hire experts to measure skid marks, interview witnesses, and take pictures of the scene. Once armed with all the facts, we pursue maximum compensation for you.
When Can I File a Lawsuit for a Pedestrian Accident?
In New York, personal injury claims are most often based on a theory of negligence or carelessness. Negligence is a legal term that essentially means that a person failed to use the level of care that a reasonable person would use in a similar situation.
Negligence can take many forms. For example, if a driver backs out of their parking space without looking and hits someone walking through the parking lot, they may be considered negligent. Alternatively, if a driver makes a turn without checking for pedestrians and hits someone, they will likely be deemed negligent.
In some cases, a pedestrian who was struck by a car may be partially at fault for the accident – such as by being on their phone while crossing the street or not crossing in a crosswalk. Under New York’s comparative negligence laws, the accident victim can still seek compensation for their injuries. Their total compensation will then be reduced by the percentage that they were at fault.
There may also be situations where the driver was not the only party responsible for the crash. For example, if the city failed to properly trim hedges along the road so that the driver’s view was blocked, they may be partially responsible for a pedestrian accident. Claims against the government are slightly different, however, and should be handled by an experienced White Plains personal injury lawyer.
Compensation in a New York Pedestrian Accident Case
If you are hurt in a pedestrian accident, you may be entitled to money (known as damages) for all of your losses. These damages fall into two main categories: compensatory and non-compensatory damages (also known as punitive damages). Punitive damages are only available in unusual cases where the at-fault party acted intentionally or recklessly, such as in drunk driving accidents.
Compensatory damages include both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages compensate an injury victim for their direct financial losses. It may include money for:
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Medical bills
- Future medical treatment
- Modifications to your home or car to accommodate a disability
Non-economic damages compensate accident victims for their intangible losses. While these losses are harder to prove, they are no less important than economic damages. Non-economic damages may include money for emotional distress, pain and suffering, scarring, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Finally, punitive damages are designed to punish a wrongdoer instead of compensating a victim. That is why they are only awarded in rare cases, such as drugged driving. A New York pedestrian accident lawyer can help you determine if you may be entitled to punitive damages based on the facts of your case.
The Pedestrian Accident Lawsuit Process
After you have been hurt in a pedestrian accident, the first step in the process is to meet with a New York personal injury attorney. They will evaluate your case and help you decide what your next steps will be.
If you decide to hire a law firm, they will start by fully investigating the facts of the case. This may include interviewing witnesses, analyzing medical records, reviewing photos and videos of the accident scene, and requesting accident reports from the police. They will use this evidence as well as their knowledge of New York personal injury law to draft a demand letter to the insurance company.
A demand letter sets out the facts of the case, explains the legal reason why the insured is responsible and makes a claim for damages. In most cases, insurance companies will respond to a demand letter with a counteroffer. This begins the negotiation process.
The majority of personal injury cases are resolved outside of court. Your White Plains pedestrian accident lawyer may still recommend that you file a lawsuit in order to preserve your legal rights. This does not mean that your case will go to trial. Instead, it is an opportunity to continue to negotiate a settlement.
However, if the insurer refuses to offer you fair compensation for your injuries, it may be necessary to take the case to court. At trial, your attorney will present evidence, make arguments, and question witnesses before asking a jury to return a verdict in your favor. Having experienced legal representation with a track record of success can often reduce the likelihood that your case will go to trial.
New York Attorneys Protecting the Rights of Pedestrians
Being hit by a car as you walk, jog, or run can be incredibly scary. In the aftermath, you may not know what to do or where to turn for help. Our law firm is here for you.
The Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan aggressively advocates for clients who have been hurt in all types of accidents. With offices in Manhattan, Uniondale, NY, and White Plains, NY, we represent accident victims in Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Bronx, Queens, Kings, Manhattan, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties. Throughout Westchester, we have achieved positive results for residents of New Rochelle, Tuckahoe, Eastchester, Scarsdale, Yonkers, Elmsford, White Plains, Mount Vernon, Valhalla, Hawthorne, Rye, and Larchmont. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation with a White Plains pedestrian accident attorney, give us a call at 914-220-1086 or fill out our online contact form.
How Can I Afford a Pedestrian Accident Attorney?
Personal injury law firms represent clients on a contingency fee basis. This means that you don’t pay anything upfront, and only pay a fee if they recover money for you through a verdict at trial or a settlement. The fee will be a percentage of your total recovery.
Contingency fee arrangements make it possible for anyone to hire a lawyer, even if they don’t have extra cash to pay hourly fees. Contact the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan to talk to a White Plains pedestrian accident lawyer about your personal injury claim.
Do I Need a Lawyer for My Pedestrian Accident Case?
While you are not required to hire an attorney for a personal injury claim, it is generally a good idea. This is particularly true in pedestrian crashes, where the potential for severe injuries is much higher than other types of auto accident cases.
Studies show that people who have legal representation recover an average of 40% more than people who represent themselves in personal injury cases. An attorney can help you get every penny that you deserve for your losses. Reach out to the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan to schedule a free consultation with a White Plains pedestrian accident attorney.
With offices in Manhattan, Uniondale, NY, and White Plains, NY, we represent accident victims in Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Bronx, Queens, Kings, Manhattan, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties. Throughout Westchester, we have achieved positive results for residents of New Rochelle, Tuckahoe, Eastchester, Scarsdale, Yonkers, Elmsford, White Plains, Mount Vernon, Valhalla, Hawthorne, Rye, and Larchmont.