Although walking, jogging, cycling, and running provide the benefits of physical fitness, economy, and environmental consciousness, individuals traveling on foot or pedaling a bike have virtually no protection from injury in a collision. When motorists fail to concentrate on their driving or violate traffic safety laws, people biking or walking can experience permanent, debilitating injuries.
Statistics on pedestrian and bike deaths and injuries provide a sense of the vulnerability of those on foot or a bicycle. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that pedestrian accidents claimed the lives of 5,376 people and sent close to 129,000 people to emergency rooms in the most recent year for which official data exists. The agency also reports that bicycle accidents claimed the lives of another 1,000 people and caused injury to 467,000 more victims during the same year.
The Legal Rights of Injured Pedestrians
New York state law generally defines the laws and rights related to pedestrians. A few common examples of legal provisions that might be relevant in a New York pedestrian accident case may include the following:
Pedestrians in Crosswalks: Drivers have a legal obligation to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks in most situations. If the intersection has traffic lights, then the parties must abide by this traffic control. Pedestrians also are expected to use pedestrian tunnels or overpasses at intersections equipped with these pedestrian infrastructure features. Insurance companies frequently defend pedestrian injury lawsuits by contending that an injury victim “dashed” into traffic allowing no time for the driver to stop or swerve to avoid the collision.
Walking in the Roadway: If a street has a sidewalk, pedestrians must walk on the sidewalk rather than in the roadway. When walking on a highway that does not have a sidewalk, pedestrians need to walk on the left side of the highway in the opposite direction of traffic or on the shoulder of the road.
Pedestrians Crossing in the Middle of a Block: Pedestrians crossing a roadway at any point other than an intersection must yield right of way to motorists.
Pedestrians Walking on a Sidewalk: When a car emerges from or enters a driveway, alleyway, building or private road, the driver must yield to pedestrians.
Location in Crosswalks: Pedestrians crossing an intersection must remain on the left side of the crosswalk to the extent possible.
Severe Injuries Experienced in Pedestrian Collisions
The vulnerable nature of pedestrians and bike riders means that negligent drivers present a threat of serious injuries that include:
- Crushed, broken, and fractured bones
- Spinal injuries causing paraplegia, quadriplegia, vertebrae fractures, and disk injuries
- Head and neck injuries that include traumatic brain injury
- Severe impairment of internal organs
- Extensive third-degree burns
- Wrongful death
The types of devastating injuries experienced in pedestrians collisions can bring extreme financial hardships. The measure and categories of compensation that a pedestrian victim has a right to receive will vary depending on many factors, including the type and severity of injury. Some damages that might be available depending on the facts and circumstances could include:
- Medical and hospitalization expenses, physical rehabilitation, supportive care, medical appliances/devices, medications
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium (impairment of affection of a spouse)
- Lost income (and compromised earning potential)
- Burial and funeral costs (wrongful death actions)
- Wrongful death
Parker Waichman LLP provides pedestrian and cycling accident victims and their families with an established record of results that includes recovering over $2 billion for injury victims in settlements and judgments. Call Parker Waichman LLP at 1-800 YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) today.
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