In urban areas such as the Bronx, citizens rely on vehicles to take them to work, school, and appointments. However, the same streets that are used by the vehicles are also used by pedestrians, posing the risk of severe injury or death if the two collide. The larger the vehicle, the greater the potential for injuries.
If you were injured in a pedestrian accident in the Bronx, New York law allows you to pursue compensation for your injuries through a lawsuit. The Bronx pedestrian accident lawyers at Dolman Law Group can help. Let us explain your legal options in a free case evaluation.
What to Do If You Are Struck By a Vehicle in the Bronx
If you are struck by a vehicle, your priority is your health and safety. Remove yourself from harm's way, call 9-1-1, and wait for the ambulance to arrive. Even if you do not immediately feel any pain, seek medical assistance. The adrenaline from the accident can mask severe injuries.
Some injuries only become evident days or weeks after the accident. If you begin to feel pain, seek medical attention and document all your treatment, even if it is weeks or months after the accident. These medical records will help you obtain compensation for your injuries.
If you are able, document the accident site by taking photos of the vehicles involved, the location of the accident, your injuries, and anything else that can support your claim. Obtain witness contact information and file a police report.
The other party (or their insurance company) may ask you to give a statement or even sign a settlement agreement. Avoid making statements that can be construed as an admission of fault, and do not sign any paperwork before you speak with your attorney.
By taking a statement, the opposing party could try to reduce their liability by shifting all (or a portion of) the blame onto you. In addition, early settlement agreements tend to be lowball offers that do not cover all of your costs. Once signed, these agreements will prevent you from seeking additional damages, which could leave you with significant financial losses from an accident that wasn't your fault.
To protect your right to fair compensation for the losses you incur due to a pedestrian accident, retain a Bronx pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. They will analyze your case and work with you to determine the best way to obtain the compensation you need.
The Dangers Vehicles Pose to Pedestrians in the Bronx
Cars are far larger and harder than the human body. Buses are much larger yet—among the most massive vehicles on the roadway, vastly outpacing others with a standard length of 40 feet and a width of 10 and 1/2 feet, including the extension of the side view mirrors.
Many fully loaded trucks are even bigger. They can weigh many times the weight of a standard passenger car. Because of their size, trucks and buses are difficult to maneuver, requiring additional space to make wide turns or to come to a safe stop if the driver has perceived a hazard on the roadway and has depressed the brakes.
While larger vehicles like buses only account for around 2 percent of pedestrian deaths, they are more than eight times more likely than a passenger car, light truck, or SUV to be in a fatal accident with a pedestrian per mile traveled.
Even smaller cars have significant blind spots on all four sides of the vehicle. A blind spot is an area outside the vehicle, generally on the rear sides, which the driver cannot see in his or her rear or side-view mirrors and must look over a shoulder to ensure that no one is in that space.
In buses and other large commercial vehicles, the blind spot is extended along both sides, and the driver can't see individuals close to the front and rear of the vehicle.
Further decreasing the maneuverability of any vehicle are the narrow lanes of many city streets that increase the risk of a vehicle encroaching into other travel lanes or onto the sidewalk where pedestrians are. Unfortunately, this is yet an added hazard for Bronx pedestrians. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a pedestrian is killed in the U.S. approximately every 88 minutes, and thousands of pedestrians are injured in accidents involving motor vehicles each year.
An added danger to pedestrians is that the many buses on our streets impair the view of travelers behind them. Because many drivers do not understand that they need to stop when the school bus stops, they can feel tempted to pass the bus without realizing that a pedestrian is crossing the roadway in front of the bus.
If you or a loved one was hit by a vehicle in the Bronx, retain a pedestrian accident attorney as soon as possible. An injury attorney with knowledge of local traffic and pedestrian laws can help you seek compensation for injuries and damages the accident caused.
Common Causes of Bronx Pedestrian Accidents
With high traffic volume and many trucks and buses on the roads, pedestrian accidents in the Bronx are all too common. Some common causes of accidents between motor vehicles and pedestrians include:
- Lack of visibility for the pedestrian, particularly if he or she is walking at night without the use of bright, reflective clothing or a pulsing light to help make himself or herself more visible to other roadway users.
- Narrow can prevent the driver from maneuvering safely around other traffic, including pedestrian traffic.
- Failure to check blind spots. Blind spots require the driver to look over their shoulder when turning, backing up, or changing lanes to ensure ample space to complete the maneuver without colliding with anything or anyone.
- Driver distraction. Drivers are susceptible to distractions inside the vehicle, such as visiting with passengers, eating or drinking, texting, and other cell phone usage. They are also susceptible to external distractions such as work zones, other drivers, billboards, or even the scene of a previous accident. There are three types of driver distraction: manual distractions, which cause the driver to take his or her hands from the wheel; visual distractions, which cause the driver to take his or her eyes from the road; and cognitive distractions, which draw the driver's focus from the task of safe driving.
- Alcohol or drug impairment. Some drivers still choose to take the risk of not getting caught and others unwittingly become impaired by over-the-counter or prescription medication. Alcohol and drugs create deficits in the skills that a driver needs to operate the vehicle safely. Most common carriers, such as transit authorities, inter-city carriers, and school districts are federally required to randomly screen bus drivers they employ to check for drug and alcohol usage. Trucking companies have similar requirements. They don't always do so—or take action against the drivers they catch. The district could incur liability when their drivers hurt pedestrians.
- A weight imbalance. Bus and truck drivers must undergo training to handle various aspects of their job. One aspect that they are trained in is how to load their vehicles properly to avoid a weight imbalance that can make it harder to maneuver in emergency driving situations.
- The actions of other drivers on the roadway can cause a vehicle to strike a pedestrian while taking evasive maneuvers to avoid a collision or cause an accident with the vehicle that results in it rolling or being pushed into a pedestrian.
- Lack of regular maintenance. Mileage causes parts to wear and need replacing. Failing to perform regular maintenance can result in malfunctioning parts, such as blown tires or brake loss that can cause a vehicle to collide with a pedestrian or anything else in its path.
- Inclement weather. Snow or rain storms can magnify the potential hazards confronted by drivers and pedestrians alike. Slippery or icy roads further increase the amount of distance the vehicle requires to stop, and reduced visibility from the storm can make it even harder for the driver to see the pedestrian.
Can Bronx Pedestrian Accidents Be Prevented?
All accidents can be avoided, and here are some steps that both drivers and pedestrians can take to avoid a dangerous or even deadly collision.
- Remember that most pedestrian accidents occur at night when it is harder for motorists to see a person walking alongside the road. Make yourself more visible by wearing bright, reflective clothing or even a pulsing light to alert motorists of your presence.
- Use caution when walking behind or alongside a vehicle. Realize that the vehicle's size creates significant blind spots that can prevent the driver from easily seeing you there.
- Avoid using earbuds while walking as this creates a distraction and can prevent you from hearing approaching traffic.
- Take particular care when crossing the street to get onto the vehicle or crossing in front of the vehicle after you get off. Drivers may not see you entering the roadway.
- While other drivers are required to stop for buses, many don't. Teach your children to always look for approaching traffic before crossing the roadway or to only pass through the crosswalk when accompanied by a crossing guard with a handheld stop sign.
- Watch for pedestrians, even in areas where you don't expect them to be. Slow down for crosswalks in anticipation of a pedestrian crossing.
- Use care when driving around entertainment districts. As reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of all pedestrian crashes involve alcohol impairment. Impairment doesn't only create deficits in the skills that drivers need for safe driving. It also creates deficits in the skills that pedestrians need to keep themselves safe, such as the ability to use good judgment.
- Always check your blind spots before turning, changing lanes, or backing up.
- Follow all federal and local regulations and make sure you are comfortable with the training you have received. If you are not sure how to do a certain aspect of your job, you are responsible for seeking the additional training you need from your employer or outside resources.
- Slow down, particularly at night. Maybe you're in a hurry to get home or out to meet your friends at one of the Bronx's many hot nightclubs or cinemas. Bus, taxi, and rideshare drivers are under a lot of pressure to meet pickup times. However, it is better to drive safe than risk the life of a pedestrian while trying to meet a schedule.
Recovering Damages After a Bronx Pedestrian Accident
While you can take the above precautions, accidents still happen—no matter how careful you are. As a pedestrian, accidents can be particularly damaging. Being struck by a vehicle can cause life-altering injuries and even death. New York law allows both those who were injured in a pedestrian accident and the family members of pedestrians killed by vehicles to recover damages through two types of legal claims.
Filing a Bronx Pedestrian Accident Lawsuit
In New York, an individual injured by a vehicle while walking can pursue compensation through a Bronx pedestrian accident lawsuit. This is a legal claim filed in civil court within three years of the date of the accident. The purpose of this claim is to show who is liable for your accident and present evidence and testimony to prove the expenses and impacts you have suffered as a result of your injury.
To prove that someone is liable for the accident that caused your injury, you must show:
- You were owed a duty of care by the at-fault party. The duty of care is the way that a reasonable person in similar circumstances would respond. Drivers owe a duty of care to pedestrians and other users of the roadway.
- There was a breach in the duty of care. The breach refers to the actions that the at-fault party took that were contrary to the duty of care that was owed.
- This breach resulted in the accident that caused your injury and subjected you to expenses and impacts on your life.
The term “damages” refers to the compensation that you are given as payment by the person who caused you harm. New York allows the recovery of both economic and non-economic damages through the Bronx pedestrian accident claims process. Economic damages are the out-of-pocket expenses that you have incurred due to your injury.
Examples of this type of damage include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
The injuries commonly suffered in a pedestrian accident are often extraordinarily costly, not just in terms of the expense of your treatment but the various ways that the injury alters your life.
- Non-economic damages include these impacts from your injury:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of the enjoyment of life
Filing a Bronx Wrongful Death Claim
Losing a loved one to an accident is devastating both emotionally and financially. In New York, the family members of an individual killed in a pedestrian accident can also recover damages. Like a Bronx pedestrian accident claim, a wrongful death lawsuit is a legal claim filed in civil court.
The time limit for filing this type of claim is two years from the date in which the death occurred. Wrongful death claims in New York must be filed by a personal representative of the deceased's estate and can collect compensation on behalf of family members that include the deceased's spouse, children, and parents.
The compensation from a wrongful death claim may include:
- Medical expenses incurred during the treatment of the deceased's final injury.
- Funeral and burial or cremation expenses.
- Wages and benefits lost between the time of the deceased's final injury and death.
- The value of support and services that were provided by the deceased to his or her family members.
- The value of nurturing, guidance, and care that was provided by the deceased to his or her surviving children.
- Loss of inheritance suffered by surviving children.
- Physical pain and suffering experienced by the deceased between the suffering of his or her final injury and death.
Time Limitations for Filing a Lawsuit Could Affect Your Pedestrian Accident Case
Per CVP § 124, you have a limited amount of time to file your injury lawsuit. While the statute of limitations may seem long, your Bronx injury attorney will need time to compile evidence to support your claim, including medical bills and records, witness statements, and expert testimony. They will attempt to negotiate with the opposing party or the insurance company outside the courtroom.
Most cases settle out of court. If a settlement cannot be reached, your attorney will need time to file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations. For this reason, you should retain an attorney as soon as possible after the accident. THis way, they have time to build a strong case on your behalf.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bronx Pedestrian Accidents
Because of the size of a vehicle relative to a human body, accidents involving pedestrians often result in catastrophic damages for the pedestrian. If you were injured or have lost a loved one due to a pedestrian accident, you likely have a lot of questions about how you are going to handle the expenses and impacts of your injury.
Here are some of the questions our Bronx pedestrian accident clients most frequently ask about the process of recovering damages.
Will My PIP Policy Cover Expenses Related to the Injuries I Suffered in a Bronx Pedestrian Accident?
The personal injury protection (PIP) policy you were required to purchase to register your vehicle in New York will also provide coverage for you or your household members if you are injured in a different type of motor vehicle collision, such as a pedestrian accident.
These policies are a great resource for the early medical and wage loss expenses you suffer after an accident of this type. However, these policies often limit out before the expenses are all paid and do not provide coverage for the non-economic impacts of your injury.
Why Are Buses and Trucks More Likely to be Involved in a Fatal Bronx Pedestrian Crash than Other Vehicles?
Buses and trucks are massive when compared to most vehicles on the road. The large size of the vehicle creates risks to pedestrians, including:
- Significant blind spots that prevent the driver from readily seeing someone who is walking or standing in front of, behind, or alongside the bus or truck
- A lack of maneuverability that makes it hard for a bus or truck driver to take evasive action if he or she spots a hazard in the roadway
- An increased distance from the time the driver sees a hazard and responds to it by depressing the brakes and the brakes can stop the bus or truck (a higher traveling speed or inclement weather can increase the stopping distance of the bus or truck as well)
- Narrow roadways that are often difficult for bus or truck drivers to navigate around obstacles
- The taller, longer vehicle makes it difficult for other drivers to see if the crosswalk is clear when approaching an intersection behind a bus or truck (this causes many drivers to attempt to pass the bus or truck, which can lead to injury to a pedestrian crossing the street in the crosswalk)
The Driver Who Hit Me Said He Was Fatigued at the Time of the Crash. Does that Make them Liable for My Bronx Pedestrian Accident Injuries?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration describes driver fatigue as the result of mental or physical exertion that impairs performance. Lack of restful sleep can cause impacts to an individual's ability to drive safe. This is very similar to the impacts of alcohol on imparied drivers. These include slowed response times, difficulty maintaining a lane, tracking moving objects, or exercising good judgment.
While any driver can suffer driver fatigue, it is particularly common for commercial drivers, such as those who drive a taxi, truck, rideshare, or bus. Driving is mentally exhausting, and these drivers work many hours at a time.
In fact, the administration which oversees the federal regulations pertaining to commercial drivers has been concerned enough in the past about the issue of driver fatigue to regulate how long drivers can be on-duty before they need to take a break. It is estimated that approximately 13 percent of all accidents involving a commercial vehicle are the result of driver fatigue.
If it was discovered that the driver's fatigue contributed to the accident, then the driver would face liability and—depending on the circumstances of the accident—the driver's employer as well.
Another Driver Caused an Accident with the Vehicle that hit me. Who Is Liable?
Liability occurs through the following elements:
- The at-fault party owed you a duty of care.
- There was a breach in the duty of care.
- The breach caused the accident, which resulted in your injuries.
If the other driver caused the accident that resulted in the vehicle hitting you, then the driver would be liable for your injuries. If the driver's own actions contributed to the initial accident and/or contributed to the vehicle hitting you, both drivers can bear liability to you, along with various other entities involved in the safety of the vehicle (like a taxi or bus company). Your attorney would review your case to determine all sources of liability.
What Happens If I Am Partially Responsible for the Bronx Pedestrian Accident? Can I Still File a Lawsuit?
In New York, a person can be partially responsible for an accident that results in their own injuries and still seek compensation from other liable parties.
How Are Non-Economic Damages in Bronx Pedestrian Accidents Calculated?
Non-economic damages are compensation that is obtained through a Bronx pedestrian accident claim for the impacts that the injury has on a person's life. Common examples of non-economic damages include compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, or loss of the enjoyment of life.
None of these items come with an easy price tag but are considered when determining damages. The severity of your injuries can increase the amount you could receive.
I Was a Child When I Was Injured By in a Bronx Pedestrian Accident Five Years Ago. Am I Too Late to File a Lawsuit?
Generally, the statute of limitations in a Bronx pedestrian accident case involving a pedestrian accident in New York is three years after the date of the crash. However, in some circumstances, the state will extend, or toll, this time limit.
A child plaintiff is often a reason for the court to toll the time limit, extending it to three years after the child reaches 18 years old. Your attorney would tell you if the time limit for filing will toll in your case.
Is the Settlement I Receive for My Bronx Pedestrian Accident Taxable?
According to the Internal Revenue Service, settlements and awards obtained through Bronx pedestrian accident claims are not taxable because they are not considered income. However, there are some exceptions to this. New York allows plaintiffs in Bronx pedestrian accident cases to seek punitive damages.
Punitive damages are not awarded based on the expenses you faced or the impacts that your injury has had on your life. Instead, this compensation punishes the defendant for particularly reckless behavior. Because punitive damages are not related to specific expenses or impacts, they can be considered income and subject to tax.
Additionally, if you claimed medical expenses as a deduction on your taxes and then later received an award of compensation for medical expenses, you will be required to pay the amount you deducted back.
The Insurance Provider Has Already Offered Me a Settlement for My Bronx Pedestrian Accident. Should I Accept?
It is generally best to speak with a pedestrian accident attorney first. The problem with early settlements in accident cases is that they often are lower than the insurance company knows the case is worth. They also have little bearing on the severity of the injury, the expenses, and the impacts it will create for the person.
Insurance companies are in the business to make money, and they may try to pay out as little as possible for injuries caused by their insured.
An attorney would evaluate your case based on the expenses you have incurred and will likely face as a result of your injury. This can help you to understand whether a settlement offer is fair and can help you avoid accepting a settlement that is too low to cover your expenses.
Remember, if the settlement you accept is not enough to cover your expenses, you will not be permitted to go back and ask for more money later.
I Cannot Afford a Bronx Pedestrian Accident Attorney. Can't I Just File a Claim on My Own?
Many people hesitate to hire an attorney to help them with a Bronx pedestrian accident claim because they fear they cannot afford it. But you can afford our Bronx pedestrian accident lawyers.
Our Bronx pedestrian accident lawyers provide two special services to help you:
- A free case evaluation: The case evaluation is a conversation between you and an attorney that is provided without charge so that you can obtain answers to some of your preliminary legal questions, share details about your case, and determine if the attorney can help you with your claim.
- Contingency-fee payment: Contingency-fee payment schemes mean that you will not have to pay for your lawyer's services upfront before getting legal help. This allows you to wait for an outcome first.
In addition to these services, our Bronx personal injury lawyers can provide other services to help you with your claim, including:
- A thorough consideration of the details of your case to identify all sources of liability and all insurance resources that can be used to compensate you
Call Dolman Law Group Today for a Bronx Pedestrian Accident Attorney
When the insurance company ghosts or confuses you, let us help you understand the complexities of Bronx pedestrian accidents and the legal options you have for recovering damages. Contact Dolman Law Group today.
Bronx Office Location
3250 Westchester Ave, suite 200A/B
Bronx, NY 10461
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