By: Passalacqua & Associates

Pedestrian Accidents: What to Do if You’re Hit by a Motor Vehicle

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What Are a Pedestrian’s Rights?

In or near the Syracuse area, if you are injured by a negligent driver while you’re a pedestrian, you must obtain medical assistance at once. After you’ve been treated by a medical professional, arrange to speak about your rights and options with a Syracuse pedestrian accident attorney.

In this state, pedestrians who are injured by negligent drivers are entitled under the law to recover the compensation they need for their medical costs, lost wages, pain, personal suffering, and their other injury-and-accident-related damages and losses.

What makes being a pedestrian so dangerous? If you’re injured as a pedestrian, what will you need to do to recover compensation for your injuries? Keep reading this short discussion of pedestrian injuries and your legal rights for the answers to these questions.

What Do the Statistics Tell Us?

Pedestrians account for seventeen percent of all motor vehicle accident fatalities. Over seven thousand pedestrians were killed in the United States in accidents involving motor vehicles in 2021, an increase of thirteen percent over 2020. Thousands more were seriously injured.

According to the New York Department of Health, approximately 300 pedestrians are killed and approximately 15,000 are injured by motor vehicles on New York’s streets and highways every year, and over 3,000 pedestrian accident victims are admitted to hospitals in New York each year.

Pedestrians, of course, usually wear no personal safety gear, and they do not expect to be injured. When a negligent motorist drives into a pedestrian, if the pedestrian survives, he or she may suffer back, neck, and head injuries, broken bones, abrasions, and other serious injuries.

What Does the Law Provide?

Generally speaking, drivers in this state must yield to pedestrians, but pedestrians are also obligated to adhere to the rules. New York is a comparative negligence state, which means that a pedestrian injury victim may be assigned a percentage of the liability for a pedestrian accident.

New York is also a no-fault state for automobile insurance. New York drivers are required to carry automobile insurance that includes a personal injury protection (PIP) policy with at least $50,000 of coverage.

How Are Pedestrian Accident Victims Compensated?

If you’re injured as a pedestrian, and you have personal injury protection coverage, the first step toward recovering compensation, after you’ve been treated for your injuries, is filing a claim against your own PIP policy.

Only victims whose injuries surpass the $50,000 policy limit, who meet the state’s serious injury definition, or who aren’t covered by a PIP insurance policy as a driver or the household member of a driver may initiate the personal injury process and bring a claim against a negligent driver.

“Serious” injuries in this context are defined by the law in New York as death, dismemberment, fracture, significant disfigurement, the loss of a fetus, or the permanent loss of the use (or the significant limitation) of a body organ, member, system, or function.

To bring a personal injury claim against a negligent driver after a pedestrian accident in this state, you will need to contact a Syracuse pedestrian accident lawyer as quickly as possible.

Take These Steps After a Pedestrian Accident

If you bring a personal injury claim against a negligent motorist after a pedestrian accident, that motorist may insist that you were the one who was negligent.

No lawyer will be at the site of the accident to advise you, so take these steps to compile evidence and protect yourself legally:

  1.  Obtain medical attention at once. That is the paramount priority.
  2.  Then, as quickly as possible, call the local police.
  3.  Try to get names and personal contact details from any eyewitnesses.
  4.  If you can, take photos of the location, the vehicle, and your visible injuries.
  5.  Until you can consult an attorney, make no statements and sign no insurance documents.

If You Bring a Personal Injury Claim

In the State of New York, to prove that a driver was negligent in a personal injury case based on a pedestrian accident, the injury victim (or “plaintiff”) and his or her personal injury attorney must offer evidence which demonstrates that the allegedly at-fault driver (or “defendant”):

  1.  owed the plaintiff a “duty of care”
  2.  breached that duty by acting negligently (or by negligently failing to act)
  3.  caused the accident and the plaintiff’s injury because of the negligence

Will Your Pedestrian Accident Claim Go to Trial?

Personal injury claims in this state are typically settled out-of-court when the lawyers for each side meet in private negotiations. However, if the liability for the accident is in dispute, or if no reasonable settlement offer is forthcoming, your attorney will take the case to trial.

If your case goes to trial, your Syracuse pedestrian accident attorney will tell the jury:

  1.  how you were injured
  2.  how extensive your injuries are
  3.  why the jurors should find in your favor and order the payment of your compensation

Are Pedestrian Accidents Avoidable?

When you’re walking beside a roadway, on a sidewalk, or crossing a street, take some basic safety precautions. Do not become distracted. When it’s possible, cross at crosswalks and walk on sidewalks. Never jaywalk. Bring a flashlight after dark, and wear bright-colored clothing.

Drivers can help by avoiding the distractions caused by audio and GPS systems, children, and pets. Never eat, read, groom, or consume alcohol or drugs while you’re driving. Regularly check your tires, brakes, wipers, and lights, and always obey New York’s traffic laws.

How Do You Select the Right Pedestrian Accident Attorney?

If you have been injured by a negligent driver in New York, get the legal help you need. It’s your right, and if you’re an injured victim of negligence in this state, the law will be on your side.

Passalacqua & Associates represents the victims of pedestrian accidents in Syracuse, Utica, and throughout New York. Your first consultation with a Syracuse pedestrian accident lawyer at Passalacqua & Associates is offered without cost or obligation.

If you’re injured by a negligent driver in a pedestrian accident or any other accident, the award-winning team at Passalacqua & Associates will fight for the compensation you are entitled to by law and help you move ahead positively and constructively with your life.

If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident – or if you’re injured that way in the future – and you need to file a personal injury claim, promptly contact Passalacqua & Associates at 315-500-6425 to find out more or to schedule a consultation and start the personal injury process.