Can a Pedestrian Be at Fault for a Car Accident in NYC?
New York City is a walking city and it is one of the most congested in the entire country. It is no wonder then, that over 3,000 people are injured every year in the city, and approximately 200 are killed. Many people assume that when a pedestrian is involved in a crash on the roads, it is always the driver of a motor vehicle that is at fault. However, that is not true.
Pedestrians can be at fault for an accident in the same way drivers can be at fault. For example, if a pedestrian darts out into traffic without looking, a motorist may not have the appropriate amount of time to react and avoid hitting the person on foot. If it can be shown that the pedestrian acted negligently, they can be held liable for causing a pedestrian accident.
Common Injuries Caused by Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrians are completely exposed when they are out on the roads. Unlike drivers, they do not have the protection of a steel frame, seat belt, and other features, such as airbags, to protect them. As such, when a walker is hit by a vehicle, they will almost always suffer some of the most catastrophic injuries.
In the event that a vehicle’s bumper hits a pedestrian, the walker will likely suffer from broken bones in the legs and pelvis. It is not uncommon for the front portion of a vehicle to lift a pedestrian off the ground during a crash. In these cases, the pedestrian may crash into the hood or windshield of the vehicle, which can cause traumatic brain injuries. In other instances, pedestrians are knocked to the ground, which can result in some of the most serious spinal cord and back injuries.
Motorists are Not Always at Fault for a Pedestrian Accident
The myth that motorists are always at fault for a pedestrian accident is just that, a myth. Although it is true that drivers are often to blame for crashes between pedestrians and motor vehicles, this is certainly not always the case. There are some instances when the actions of a pedestrian caused the accident.
The streets in New York City are very busy and it is not always easy for motorists to control their vehicle when a pedestrian acts unpredictably. Again, in nearly all pedestrian accidents, it will be the walker that sustains the most serious injuries. Still, fault in pedestrian accidents and in all other personal injury cases relies on which party acted negligently, or carelessly, and not the degree of injuries sustained. It is for this reason that you must speak to a New York City pedestrian accident lawyer if you were involved in a crash with someone on foot and believe you do not hold any portion of blame.
When are Pedestrians to Blame for an Accident?
When pedestrians act irresponsibly, such as failing to follow traffic laws, they can be found at fault for an accident. Some of the most common examples of these instances include:
- Distracted walking: Most people know that distracted driving is against the law. While there may not be a law that states using a phone while walking is illegal, it is careless behavior. When a person is walking and looking down at their phone, they may walk into traffic and become hit by a vehicle. Even when a pedestrian is listening to loud music through earphones, they may not hear the horns of vehicles telling them they are in the way of traffic.
- Walking under the influence: Drugs, alcohol, and even certain prescription medications can impair a person’s balance and muscle coordination, which can impede a person’s ability to walk safely. Impaired individuals also exhibit poor judgment, which can cause a pedestrian accident.
- Jaywalking: Jaywalking involves any behavior when a pedestrian crosses the road illegally. Common examples of jaywalking include a pedestrian who does not yield proper right-of-way to drivers, does not obey control signals for pedestrians, or crosses the road in any area other than a specified crosswalk. Jaywalking is illegal in New York, and is the cause of many pedestrian accidents.
- Walking in prohibited areas: Not all areas of New York City are safe for pedestrians and so, those on foot are not allowed to walk in these places. For example, pedestrians are not allowed to walk on interstates because they are dangerous places for walkers.
- Poor judgment: Pedestrians are expected to use good judgment just as motorists are when they are on the road. Wearing dark clothing that makes them difficult to see, darting out into the street to collect an item, and intentionally acting in a manner that is distracting to motorists are all examples of poor judgment on the part of pedestrians that could cause a accident.
Proving Fault in a Pedestrian Accident
In any personal injury case, you need strong evidence to prove your case. This is particularly true when you are a motorist involved in a pedestrian accident because the bias remains that drivers are always to blame for these crashes. The best evidence used to prove a pedestrian was at fault for a crash is as follows:
- Footage from video surveillance cameras, such as that from nearby businesses or dash cams
- Photos of damage to the vehicle in the case
- Photographs of the accident scene as a whole
- The pedestrian’s chemical test results
- The pedestrian’s cell phone records
- Eyewitness testimony
- Testimony from other experts, such as accident reconstruction specialists
It is not always easy for drivers to collect this evidence after a crash. A New York City pedestrian accident lawyer will know how to obtain this important evidence to support the fact that you were not at fault for the collision.
Call Our Pedestrian Accident Lawyer in New York City for a Free Consultation
Proving a pedestrian was to blame for a crash is not easy, particularly in accident cases where the person on foot has sustained a severe injury. At Silberstein, Awad & Miklos, P.C., our New York City pedestrian accident lawyer can prove you were not at fault for the crash so you are not held liable. Call us today at 1-877-ASK4SAM or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.