Pedestrian accidents frequently occur throughout the United States. Most of them happen because of unsafe and careless behaviors behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, like drunk or distracted driving. The highest volume of pedestrian accidents occurs in areas with the highest density of motor vehicles and pedestrians.
For this reason, pedestrian crashes pose a particular problem in big cities like New York, where pedestrian and vehicular traffic constantly conflict at intersections and crosswalks. Let’s look at where pedestrian accidents happen most often in New York City and how an experienced pedestrian accident attorney can secure compensation for injured victims.
Notable Pedestrian Accident Hotspots in New York City
According to data published by the non-profit Transportation Alternatives, 59 people died in NYC traffic accidents in the first quarter of a recent year, 29 of whom were pedestrians. In 2014, the City implemented a “Vision Zero” project to reduce speed limits and redesign streets in all five boroughs to make them safer for pedestrians. Unfortunately, the project has yet to achieve its goal of eliminating pedestrian traffic deaths.
Pedestrian accident hotspots exist throughout New York City. Here are four areas identified by the real estate website localize.city as past danger areas for pedestrians.
Williamsburg Bridge (Brooklyn)
The Williamsburg Bridge can be difficult and confusing for pedestrians to access. As a result, hundreds of crashes involving pedestrians occur on the Brooklyn side of the bridge each year. The City has worked to improve the situation through lane and signal improvements, but the area surrounding the bridge continues to pose dangers to pedestrians.
Ridgewood in Queens is another hot spot for pedestrian accidents. The intersection of Myrtle Avenue and Wyckoff Street is especially hazardous. Many pedestrians get caught in unsafe situations under the elevated M train tracks, where speeding or distracted drivers may not see them until it’s too late to avoid a collision.
Jerome Avenue around Fordham/University Heights (Bronx)
An extensive shopping center and dozens of auto shops with regular traffic make this area of the Bronx unusually dangerous for pedestrians. It’s up to the City to build and maintain crosswalks, sidewalks, and other effective safety features to protect pedestrians in this area.
Atlantic Avenue in Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant (Brooklyn)
Historically, dozens of pedestrians have suffered injuries annually in traffic accidents under the Long Island Railroad tracks in this area of Brooklyn. The City has implemented some safety measures, but there’s still a long way to go to protect pedestrians in this corner of town.
Boroughs Ranked By Pedestrian Accident Danger
Pedestrians face elevated accident risks in all five boroughs of New York City because vehicles and pedestrians share close quarters everywhere in the Big Apple. But some neighborhoods and streets are more dangerous than others.
Here is a ranking of the five boroughs by volume of pedestrian hazards:
- Brooklyn, especially near Williamsburg and Downtown near Atlantic Avenue.
- Queens, especially in Corona, Jackson Heights, Flushing, Ridgewood, and Jamaica.
- The Bronx, especially near Fordham and University Heights.
- Manhattan, especially in the lower East Side near Little Italy and Soho.
- Staten Island, especially near St. George/Tompkinsville and Stapleton.
Government Has a Role to Play in Reducing Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents account for about 30 percent of motor vehicle accident-related deaths in New York State. State officials work to implement safety measures that aim to reduce risks to pedestrians. But frequently, cities and towns throughout the state fail to take the steps needed, often because of budgetary or political reasons.
Measures local and state should, but don’t always, implement to protect pedestrians include:
- Designing, building, and maintaining intersections with clear sightlines, well-marked and predictable traffic lanes, painted crosswalks, and functioning pedestrian signals.
- Building mid-block crosswalks in high-volume pedestrian areas or along streets with longer stretches between intersections (such as north-south avenues in Manhattan).
- Reducing speed limits and enforcing rules requiring drivers to yield to pedestrians.
- Installing bollards and other physical barriers at curbs in high motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic areas.
- Building pedestrian bridges over multi-lane thoroughfares.
Government agencies that fail to take reasonable steps to keep pedestrians safe using these and similar measures may face legal liability to injured pedestrian accident victims.
What damages can I claim for a pedestrian accident injury?
Under New York’s no-fault insurance laws, the personal injury protection (PIP) insurance carried by the driver that strikes a pedestrian automatically pays for at least some of the victim’s injuries. But that insurance might not cover all of the injured pedestrian’s expenses and losses. For that reason, pedestrian accident victims typically also have the right to demand payment of additional damages from the party at fault for the crash (whether that’s the driver or someone else).
Pedestrian accident victims can usually seek payment of two categories of compensatory damages: economic and non-economic. Economic damages consist of all expenses and financial losses you suffered because of your pedestrian accident.
They commonly include:
- Medical expenses from emergency room visits, surgeries, procedures, medication prescriptions, ongoing therapy, and the purchase of medical equipment.
- Costs to repair or replace any property the accident damaged.
- Any other out-of-pocket expense directly resulting from the pedestrian accident or your injuries.
- Loss of income that resulted from the time you took off work to recover.
- Loss of earning capacity if your injuries prevent you from returning to work in the same capacity as you used to work.
Non-economic damages constitute all other types of harm you suffered.
They may include:
- Physical pain and discomfort.
- Emotional suffering and mental health challenges.
- Scarring, disfigurement, and humiliation.
- Loss of consortium or companionship with loved ones.
- Loss of independence.
- Loss of life enjoyment.
In addition to the compensatory damages described above, you may also have the right to demand payment of punitive damages, which serve to punish the at-fault party for especially wrongful conduct.
The most reliable way to determine the types and amounts of damages you may receive is to connect with an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer today.
How Lawyers Prove Pedestrian Accident Claims
In an ideal legal system, the party at fault for your pedestrian accident would pay you damages immediately and in full. But that’s not the system we have. Often it takes hard work from a skilled lawyer to obtain payment for an injured pedestrian’s injuries and expenses.
Lawyers for NYC pedestrian accident victims can typically take two actions to secure compensation for their clients. First, they can take the steps necessary to submit a claim under the no-fault insurance carried by the driver in the collision. All New York drivers must carry minimum no-fault insurance covering up to $50,000 of an injured pedestrian’s economic losses.
An attorney can also pursue legal action for additional damages not covered by the driver’s no-fault policy. That usually entails proving a case for liability and damages against one or more parties you believe were at fault for the collision.
The lawyer must collect and present evidence to prove that:
- A party owed you a duty of care not to engage in unreasonable actions that foreseeably put you in harm’s way;
- The party breached that duty of care by acting in a careless, reckless, or intentionally harmful manner;
- Those actions contributed to the cause of the pedestrian accident; and
- You sustained injuries and other damages as a result.
To make a case, the lawyer gathers and relies on evidence, such as:
- Medical bills.
- Medical records and reports.
- Police accident reports.
- Photos or video footage of the accident scene.
- Receipts for repairs to damaged property.
- Your testimony and testimony from witnesses.
- Medical testimony from an expert who can testify to how much you’ve suffered and will suffer in the future.
- Testimony from your family and friends about how much your losses have cost you.
Why You Should Contact a Lawyer Immediately
Do not wait to connect with an experienced New York City pedestrian accident lawyer. The sooner a lawyer starts building a case for damages on your behalf, the better your chances of securing the maximum payment available. Here’s why.
Deadlines May Affect Your Rights
A law called the statute of limitations sets an expiration date for your right to sue the party at fault. In most New York City pedestrian accident cases, you must file a lawsuit within three years of a collision that causes an injury and within two years after a pedestrian accident-related death. Missing a statute of limitations deadline usually results in losing your right to compensation.
Other laws, rules, and contractual provisions may supply additional deadlines you also must meet as a requirement for obtaining compensation. For example, you may need to notify an insurance company or an at-fault party of your potential claim.
The most reliable way to avoid missing a legal deadline that affects your rights is to contact an attorney immediately after your pedestrian accident.
Over Time, Memories Fade and Evidence Goes Missing
Evidence and memories can go stale if a lawyer does not preserve them. As time passes, documents get thrown away, pictures and videos get deleted, and witnesses begin to forget what they saw at the accident scene. Contacting a lawyer immediately reduces the risk of losing the evidence and witness recollections needed to prove your case.
It’s the Quickest Way to Secure the Money You Need
Bills and expenses resulting from your accident will only continue to pile up until you take steps to obtain compensation from no-fault insurance and at-fault parties. By contacting a lawyer today, you can take the critical first step toward securing compensation as soon as possible. The longer you wait to begin that process, the longer you will have to wait for financial relief.
Contact a New York City Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Today
Did you or someone you love suffer injuries in a New York City pedestrian accident? If so, you likely have rights to significant financial compensation.
But obtaining that money is not easy and time is not on your side. A lawyer may need to take quick action on your behalf to protect your rights and press your claim. So, don’t wait a day longer. Contact an experienced New York City pedestrian accident attorney today for a free case consultation.