Who Can Be Held Liable After a New York City Pedestrian Accident?

In New York, it is generally the insurance company of the driver of the vehicle who must pay for an injured pedestrian’s bills. However, this does not necessarily mean that the driver is always liable, which would require a finding that they were legally at fault. The no-fault laws mean the driver’s auto insurance policy will pay for certain economic losses no matter who is to blame.

Liability comes into play in fault-based lawsuits. To be liable, one must have caused the accident through carelessness or by otherwise breaching a duty. If you were injured as a pedestrian and your injuries are serious, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against those who were at fault for the accident. New York City pedestrian accident lawyers analyze cases like these to determine who may be liable for a crash and how to hold them responsible.

Obtaining compensation after a New York City pedestrian accident

Because of New York’s no-fault laws, even if you were at fault, you can collect economic damages from the driver’s insurance policy. Covered losses include medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages, up to the $50,000 limit. For losses that exceed the limit or otherwise meet the “serious injury” threshold, you can file a personal injury lawsuit.

You may also be able to sue non-motorists if they were negligent in causing your injury. There can be additional coverage available as well, either under another insurance policy or fund. New York City personal injury lawyers can determine what is available based on your specific situation.

Serious injury threshold

In a New York pedestrian accident, you cannot file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver unless your injury is deemed “serious” under state statute. There are several ways to meet the “serious injury” threshold, including:

  • Economic loss greater than $50,000
  • Death
  • Fracture
  • Certain limitations to parts of the body
  • 90 days of disability

If you were hurt as a pedestrian, discuss the details of your injury with a personal injury attorney, who can determine whether you qualify to file a lawsuit.

Liability for an NYC pedestrian accident

Liability is relevant whenever your injury may be headed for a lawsuit or when insurance other than a no-fault policy may offer coverage. A lawsuit or insurance settlement can open up additional avenues of compensation, allowing you to recover for pain and suffering and other non-economic losses.

If the accident is “serious,” you may recover from the driver of the vehicle involved by proving that he was liable, which usually means that they were negligent. This usually requires showing that he breached a duty, such as by driving unsafely or breaking a traffic law, and that by doing so, caused the accident and resulting injuries. 

When the pedestrian is at fault

Sometimes it is not the driver whose fault caused the accident. If you as the pedestrian were partly or fully to blame, that will make a difference to a lawsuit.

A driver is not responsible for the careless actions of a pedestrian; if the driver was careful, but the pedestrian simply walked into traffic outside a crosswalk, the no-fault policy would still afford benefits, but the pedestrian would not be entitled to file a lawsuit. If the driver and pedestrian were each partly to blame, they would share liability, and the pedestrian could only recover part of the damages that correspond to the driver’s degree of fault.

If the injured party shares some of the blame, insurance companies will often use this as an excuse to settle the claim for an unfairly low amount. Discuss any settlement offers with a personal injury lawyer before committing, or better yet, let an attorney handle all conversations with insurance adjusters and defense counsel for you.

Other parties who may be liable for a pedestrian accident

Less commonly, another person or entity may be liable for an accident. For example, sometimes government entities share some blame. Some ways this can happen are the driver was a municipal employee, a traffic control device was not functioning properly, or the roadway was poorly designed. In these situations, there are special notice and claim rules that you must follow in order to receive compensation.

Private entities may also be to blame. For instance, the manufacturer of a car part may be to blame if a malfunction caused the accident. The requirements for proving liability for other parties will be dependent on the factors specific to their role in the accident.

Discuss liability with a NY pedestrian accident lawyer

Many factors can affect liability for a pedestrian accident. Talk with a NY accident lawyer at Douglas & London to find out who may be at fault for your injuries. Our attorneys are committed to helping injury victims receive full compensation. Call today to schedule a free initial consultation.