It is common practice during the spring and summer months to get outside and enjoy the weather by taking a walk. Whether walking to a nearby retail establishment, enjoying the scenery, or getting some exercise, you never expected to be struck by a motor vehicle.
Unfortunately, across Staten Island, that is one of the hazards of being a pedestrian. Each corner poses a risk, every intersection means you feel like your head is on a swivel, and every entry or exit from a parking lot presents a potential danger.
Being struck by a car as a pedestrian means you have little protection from serious injury. The chances of broken bones, head trauma, or death are ever-present. When a car that failed to follow traffic signals or yield the right of way strikes you or a loved one, speak with an experienced pedestrian accident injury attorney with a proven track record of success.
Hylan Boulevard is a Dangerous Staten Island Roadway for Pedestrians
Hylan Boulevard extends 14 miles across Staten Island. It probably comes as no surprise that many of the most dangerous intersections for pedestrians are along this stretch of roadway.
Some of the most dangerous intersections include:
- Hylan Boulevard and New Dorp Lane – which is near New Dorp High School as well as near shopping centers and restaurants
- Hylan Boulevard and Nelson Avenue – this is a common pedestrian area filled with various businesses, including coffee shops, lounges, and retail outlets.
- Hylan Boulevard and Richmond Avenue – while this area is mostly free from retail outlets, many pedestrians suffer injuries at this intersection.
- Hylan Boulevard and Allison/Ebbitts Street – this area is not only close to an urgent care facility but puts several restaurants and retail outlets within walking distance.
- Hylan Boulevard and Guyon Avenue – this area is a hub of medical facilities, and it is common to see pedestrians in the area.
- Hylan Boulevard and Old Town Road – pharmacies, restaurants, and schools make this area one where it is common to have several pedestrians moving from location to location.
A quick review of the traffic cameras located at Guyon, New Dorp, and Richmond Avenue shows what makes these areas dangerous for pedestrians. Wide bus lanes, narrow sidewalks, and a steady stream of cars contribute to the hazards faced by Staten Island pedestrians.
Proving a Driver Was Liable for a Staten Island Pedestrian Accident
As a pedestrian, you must prove that a driver was liable for your injuries.
A claim or legal case against a driver for injuries suffered in a Staten Island pedestrian accident must establish:
- The driver owed you a duty of care
- The driver breached the duty of care owed to you
- The breach of duty of care is responsible for your injury
- Your injury caused you financial losses
Here is how that would break down:
- Duty of care – When someone gets behind the wheel of a car, they owe everyone who shares the roadway a duty of care.
- Breach of duty – Drivers who speed, pay attention to their cell phones, or disobey traffic signals are breaching their duty to others.
- Injury due to breach – Had the driver exercised the proper duty of care, their car would not have struck you while walking. Therefore, your injury is a result of their breach of duty.
- Financial losses due to injury – If you lost or are losing time from work, have had to pay medical bills, or have had to hire someone to do something you would have done yourself were you not injured, then you suffered a financial loss.
When you or a loved one is involved in a pedestrian accident, you should seek legal help from a Staten Island pedestrian accident lawyer. They can help you understand the law and how you can get compensated for your pedestrian injuries and other financial losses.
New York No-Fault Insurance and Pedestrian Accidents
As a Staten Island resident, you may already have options when filing an insurance claim. If you have a registered automobile, you already have coverage under New York’s mandatory insurance coverage. That means you can file a claim with your insurer. No-fault insurance means it does not matter who was responsible for the accident. You should file your initial claim under your policy.
However, due to the nature of pedestrian accidents, there is a chance you will exceed the limits of your policy. In most cases, drivers carry the minimum amount of personal injury protection coverage (PIP), precisely $50,000. According to the NY Department of Financial Services (DFS), this is the minimum amount allowed. Your policy will pay up to 80 percent of your lost wages and reasonable medical costs.
Should your losses total more than $50,000, given the high costs associated with medical care in New York, a broken leg could completely exhaust your benefits under PIP and leave you to deal with the rest of the associated losses.
A pedestrian accident attorney can help you recover if you meet specific criteria under New York’s severe injury rules as defined in New York Insurance (ISC) Chapter 28, Article 51 §5102(d) and include:
- Bone fracture
- A significant limitation to a bodily function
- Significant disfiguring scars
- An injury that results in an inability to perform normal tasks for up to 90 days
There are other criteria as well, but discuss them with an attorney who understands your specific injuries and their impact on your personal and work life.
Insurance Company Adjusters and Pedestrian Accidents
Soon after reporting an injury, you will likely hear from an insurance adjuster. Because you were a pedestrian instead of a driver, you may only hear from one adjuster working for the insurance company. It is essential to understand that they work for the insurer and not for you.
Although you may be paying a premium for your insurance coverage in the event of an accident, that does not mean the adjuster is there to help you get the maximum benefits you may deserve. Their job is the opposite.
Insurance adjusters have the primary task of minimizing the amount of a claim their employer, the insurance company, will pay.
To reach this goal, they may:
- Tell you little white lies – Some people ask, “do insurance adjusters lie?” and the answer is that they may whitewash the truth. An adjuster is likely to tell you they have a deadline for you to accept an offer, that you must provide a recorded statement, and that there is no need to get a lawyer involved. None of these is an accurate reflection of the insurance claims process. You should always have a lawyer representing you, you should never provide a recorded statement, and there are no deadlines for accepting offers.
- Deny coverage exists – An adjuster may tell you that your policy will not cover your injuries because you were a pedestrian versus driving your car. If you have no-fault insurance, it covers you as a pedestrian.
- Flood you with documents – Insurance adjusters will likely begin sending you documents within days of your opening a claim. Never sign any documents sent to you without the input of an attorney. Signing some of these documents could be a disaster for your claim and force you to give up rights you didn’t know you had.
These are just a few things an adjuster will do to protect their client. Most adjusters know that you do not know what rights you have under New York law, and they will capitalize on that lack of knowledge. Remember, the faster the offer they make, the more likely they know they are facing a larger settlement down the road.
Types of Compensation Following a Pedestrian Accident
Your entire life was disrupted. You may be out of work for weeks or months following an injury after a Staten Island pedestrian accident. You may have several follow-up visits with your medical team and be unable to perform everyday tasks.
Here are some of the categories of compensation you may be entitled to collect for your injuries:
- Current and future lost wages – One of the most significant losses you may be facing is your wages. While many people have some form of disability coverage, you may have to use personal, vacation, or sick days before getting this benefit. Chances are you will also be getting only a percentage of your wages. The longer you will be out of work, the more you will lose. You may be able to recover the wages you are losing because of your injury.
- Medical and rehabilitation expenses – Medical bills mount up fast. Whether you must pay for prescription drugs, uncovered tests, copayments, or other associated costs, you should not have to bear these expenses when they are unexpected and not because of a routine part of your medical care. The party responsible for your injuries should be paying for these costs. Your claim should also include rehabilitation costs.
- Other financial losses – Depending on the extent of your injuries, there may be other expenses such as hiring someone to do tasks you would normally do on your own. You may also have to modify your home to keep you safe and use medical equipment such as wheelchairs, crutches, braces, or hospital beds. These unexpected expenses, which occurred because you were a Staten Island pedestrian accident victim, can be included as part of your insurance claim.
The best way to determine the value of your settlement is to speak with an experienced accident attorney. Only when you work with someone who has a proven record of working successfully to obtain settlements for their clients can you feel confident that you have a chance to receive the compensation you deserve after an injury.
Regaining Control of Your Life After a Pedestrian Accident
You may feel you have no control over what will happen after a life-altering injury.
However, there are some things you can do which will help you get back to your pre-injury physical health, including:
- Follow your medical team’s advice
- Make sure you attend all recommended doctor visits
- Do not rush the recovery process
To protect your claim, there are a few things you can do including obtaining a copy of the accident report, keeping a written record of your pain and recovery, and keeping copies of all receipts for expenses related to your injury. Provide all this information to your accident injury attorney because it will help them develop your claim fully and ensure that you get the maximum compensation for your injuries.
Minimizing Stress Helps Your Recovery
Take pedestrian injuries seriously. You need time to fully heal and recover your physical strength and pre-accident condition. Every victim has a different road to recovery, which the extent and type of injury you suffered may determine.
However, we all know that the more stress we are under, the longer it may take us to heal from an injury. When you hire an attorney to deal with the issues surrounding your insurance claim, you can focus on what matters: physically recovering from your Staten Island pedestrian accident injuries.
You should be aware that accident injury lawyers always must keep you informed about their negotiations on your behalf. Lawyers have a fiduciary responsibility to their clients. Cornell Law School explains fiduciary duty in a simple to understand way. Your attorney must act in the most beneficial way to you, not to them.
When you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to a pedestrian accident, time is of the essence. Contact a Staten Island pedestrian accident lawyer immediately and learn more about your legal options and rights.