In most cases, when a car strikes a pedestrian, the driver is at fault. However, under New York personal injury law, there are limited circumstances in which a pedestrian could be found either entirely or partially at fault. Regardless of whether you were the driver or the pedestrian, it’s essential that you seek qualified legal representation to preserve your rights and explore your options for compensation.
At Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C., our New York City car accident lawyers work with injured victims every day, and we have a keen understanding of their needs and concerns. Our legal team assists injured pedestrians and drivers, helping them pursue maximum compensation for their injuries.
Are pedestrians ever at fault for a car accident?
Both drivers and pedestrians are expected to exercise reasonable caution when using the roadways. Drivers must obey all traffic signals, and they must yield to pedestrians who are within a designated crosswalk. In many cases, drivers are found at fault for car accidents, particularly if they were speeding, driving while distracted, or not obeying traffic signals. However, a pedestrian might be at fault if they failed to obey the following requirements in New York:
- Pedestrians have the right of way to cross a road if the pedestrian traffic signal shows a “Walk” sign.
- Pedestrians should not cross if there is a “Don’t Walk” sign.
- At an intersection without the above signals, pedestrians should wait until there is a green light. This allows people to cross in front of stopped traffic safely.
- Pedestrians do not have the right of way when there is a green light.
Note that at a crosswalk with no traffic signals for drivers, they must yield the right of way to pedestrians. However, pedestrians should exercise common sense and wait to cross until the traffic in both directions has stopped.
Partially at fault pedestrians may still secure compensation
Even if you were injured as a pedestrian and you believe you were at least partially at fault for the accident, it’s still in your best interest to consult New York City personal injury lawyers to discuss your rights and options. You may still be able to secure compensation. One of the first options your lawyer will explore is securing compensation through an insurance settlement.
New York is a no-fault state. This means it is not necessary to establish liability to receive payment of your medical bills and lost wages. The insurance carrier for the car that hit you should pay these financial expenses up to the policy limits, regardless of whether you crossed against the light or failed to use a crosswalk.
However, your insurance settlement might not be sufficient to pay for all of your economic expenses if they exceed the usual limits of $50,000. In addition, you can’t receive additional insurance money for non-economic damages like pain and suffering. If you suffered a serious injury, New York allows you to step outside the no-fault system and file a lawsuit against the other party. Under state law, an injury considered to be serious includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Significant limitation of a body organ or member
- Substantial, full disability for at least 90 days
- Permanent limitation of a body organ or member
- Significant disfigurement
Since New York is also a pure comparative negligence state, you can potentially recover damages from a lawsuit even if you were partially at fault. For example, if you were 30% at fault for the accident and the other party was 70% at fault, your jury award would be reduced by 30%.
Contact us for a free consultation
You deserve fair compensation for your injuries and financial losses. Contact us to request a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer. Our experienced litigators will review your case, answer your questions in full, and explain your options for securing compensation for your injuries. Whether you were involved in a car, truck, or pedestrian accident, we can fight to protect your rights.