Will Car Insurance Pay If I Hit a Pedestrian With My Car?
Pedestrian accidents with vehicles account for the largest share of traffic deaths in New York. Last year, 114 pedestrians were killed in car accidents, and hundreds more injured. The majority of these incidents take place in crosswalks, or when drivers make left-hand turns.
What happens if you hit a pedestrian with your vehicle in New York? Will your car insurance pay even if you were partly responsible?
Yes, New York’s No-Fault insurance laws are designed to ensure that your policy will pay pedestrians, drivers, cyclists, and passengers for legitimate expenses, regardless of who was to blame.
No-Fault insurance for pedestrian knock-downs
Pedestrians who are hit by a car, taxi, truck, or other motor vehicle are automatically eligible for No-Fault benefits. This means your own insurance policy will provide up to $50,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) for the victim’s medical expenses, as well as a portion of their lost income during their recovery. The pedestrian would be compensated up to 80% of their lost wages, or a maximum of $2,000 per month, even if the accident was entirely their fault.
No-fault benefits cover a variety of economic losses, including:
- Ambulance service
- Diagnostic tests
- Doctor’s fees
- Prescription medication
- Rehabilitation with physical therapy
- Partial wage replacement
- Out-of-pocket expenses resulting from the accident (such as transportation costs)
In order to receive No-Fault benefits from your own insurance carrier, a claim must be filed within 30 days of the accident. The pedestrian has 45 days to submit their proof of all medical expenses.
While No Fault benefits are intended to simplify the process, it’s important to work with a qualified car accident attorney in New York. This is especially true if the pedestrian was seriously injured and wants to pursue a lawsuit.
Who is eligible for No Fault?
No-Fault laws have certain criteria:
- The pedestrian accident had to take place in New York
- Your vehicle must be a passenger car, truck, taxi cab, bus, or other vehicle that is covered by No Fault laws.
- Your vehicle must be registered in New York and have a valid policy
Motorcycles and scooters are not covered by New York No-Fault insurance.
Pedestrians may pursue a bodily injury claim
If a pedestrian is seriously injured and wants to seek benefits outside of the No Fault system, they may sue for damages. No-Fault claims are different from a bodily injury or personal injury claim. Both are ultimately paid by your auto insurance company, but each action has its own set of nuances and regulations.
In order to succeed in a bodily injury claim, the pedestrian must be able to prove they have suffered harm that meets the serious injury threshold in NY, and that they have incurred more than $50,000 in economic damages.
This serious injury could include:
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent loss of use of a body organ
- Substantial disfigurement
- Limitation of use of a body function or system
Additionally, Insurance Law § 5104 states that a victim can pursue a personal injury action if:
They have a medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature that prevents them from performing all of the material acts that constitute their normal daily activities for not less than 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the accident.
Statistics on pedestrian accidents
According to the New York City Pedestrian Safety Study,
- Manhattan has far more pedestrian injuries and deaths per square mile compared to other boroughs
- Driver distraction was cited in close to 40 percent of accidents resulting in pedestrian injury or fatality
- Serious pedestrian accidents are about 70 percent more deadly on major corridors compared to smaller streets
- Seniors account for 38 percent of all pedestrian deaths
Protect your rights by contacting Douglas & London
If you were involved in a motor vehicle accident as a driver or a pedestrian, legal help is available. Douglas & London provides seasoned legal advocacy, and there are no fees unless you obtain a financial recovery. Call our New York office to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.