At some point in the day, everyone is a pedestrian. You might be walking to work, taking a morning run, or simply crossing the street. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, pedestrians were one of the few groups of road users to experience increased fatalities in the United States in 2015 (latest available data). It is imperative that all road users, especially drivers, follow the rules of the road so that everyone can get around safely.
Statute of Limitations
In New York State, there is a 3-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims. This means that you must see to it that certain actions are taken and documents filed before the three-year anniversary of your particular incident. However, New York State also has special rules regarding lawsuits against municipalities or municipal agencies. In those situations, the law requires you to file a “Notice of Claim” within 90-days of the incident. So, for example, if you are injured while walking on a poorly-maintained walkway in Delaware Park, the City of Buffalo would be the at-fault party, and the 90-day time limit would apply.
Vehicle – Pedestrian
Typically, the most serious such accidents are of the “vehicle-pedestrian” type. Both pedestrians and drivers must follow the rules of the road and exercise reasonable care. The standard for “reasonable care” is generally higher for drivers, since the consequences of their negligence will far outweigh the consequences of, for example, a skateboarder who is negligent. Failure to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances is considered negligence. A few of the most common factors contributing to driver negligence are:
- Distracted driving;
- Failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians at crosswalks;
- Disobeying traffic signs or signals;
- Failing to signal while turning;
- Disregarding weather or traffic conditions; and/or
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Special Duty of Care to Children
Furthermore, drivers owe a special, heightened duty of care to children. Children, particularly between the ages of 5 and 9, are at greater risk of being hit by a vehicle because they are smaller and less visible. Children are also impulsive and prone to unpredictable behavior. Thus, drivers must exercise a greater degree of care when they know or should know that small children frequent a particular area; for example, while driving by schools, parks, playgrounds, or residential areas.
If you are injured by a vehicle while walking, running, biking, etc., it is important to know that, here in New York State, the driver’s No-Fault insurance will likely cover your medical bills and lost-wages. This makes it all-the-more important for you to collect as much information as possible about the vehicle and driver involved. Always call the police so that all the most important information will be documented. You should also consider consulting with an attorney to ensure that your rights are preserved.
Vehicles are not the only cause of pedestrian accidents. Negligence with regard to property maintenance (“premises liability”) also causes a huge number of accidents every year. In New York State, those in control of land (“possessors” or “landowners”) have a duty to maintain their property and warn people of hazards thereon. Premises liability intersects with pedestrian accidents in a number of circumstances, including:
- Failure to shovel snow and/or remove ice from a sidewalk or walking path;
- Poorly maintained sidewalks or parking lots; and/or
- Construction or other debris on walkways.
We Can Help
If you or a loved one were injured in a pedestrian-type accident, either by a vehicle or due to potentially negligent property management, you should strongly consider consulting with a lawyer. The attorneys at Campbell & Associates have helped hundreds of people who were injured while walking, jogging, biking, and so on. We invite you to call us at 716-992-2222 for a free consultation.
Example Verdicts/Settlements in Pedestrian Cases
In 2015, a disabled man in Albany County was crossing the street in a crosswalk, when he was hit by a negligent driver. He ultimately settled with the driver prior to trial for $1,075,000.
Sulse v. Gardner (N.Y. Sup. 2003) – Plaintiff received $1,200,000 jury verdict for injuries sustained after being hit while walking by a negligent driver.
Erlich v. Griffin (S.D.N.Y. 2005) – Plaintiff granted $1,000,000 compensation by jury for injuries sustained after being hit by a NYC Bus while crossing East 34th St.