Who Is Liable If a Pedestrian Is Hit in a Crosswalk in New York?

  • Pedestrians, drivers, and even government agencies can share pedestrian accident liability in New York.
  • When a pedestrian is hit by a car in a crosswalk, legal and evidentiary factors like the presence of traffic signals, the pedestrian’s right of way, and the seriousness of the driver’s negligence will impact the distribution of fault and the amount of money you may be entitled to.

Who's At Fault if a Pedestrian Is Hit in an NY Crosswalk?

If a pedestrian is hit in an NY crosswalk, the vehicle driver or pedestrian is usually at fault. However, government agencies responsible for road and traffic signal maintenance may also be liable in some cases. Multiple parties may share liability if they all contributed to the accident.

If you were injured as a pedestrian in New York, Chopra & Nocerino is here to help. We are a leading personal injury law firm with a strong track record of success in securing high-value case results for our clients. We are standing by to help you understand pedestrian accident liability, answer your questions, and ensure you know your legal rights. 

Driver Liability in Crosswalk Accidents

Anyone who gets behind the wheel of a vehicle owes a legal duty of care to others on the road, including pedestrians. This means drivers must exercise caution to avoid causing harm to pedestrians in crosswalks. A driver who fails to do so may be deemed negligent and held liable for any resulting injuries to a pedestrian.

Common examples of driver negligence in crosswalk accidents include:

  • Speeding – Driving faster than the posted speed limit makes it more difficult for drivers to stop in time if a pedestrian is on the road.
  • Distracted driving – A pedestrian can enter the road suddenly, and every second counts when it comes to avoiding a collision. Texting, talking on the phone, eating, or anything else that takes a driver’s attention away from the road can prevent them from seeing a pedestrian in time.
  • Failure to yield to pedestrians – Drivers must yield the right of way to pedestrians in marked and unmarked crosswalks at intersections, as well as marked crosswalks outside of intersections. Pedestrians are vulnerable to serious injuries and death when a driver fails to stop for them.
  • Driving under the influence – Drugs and alcohol impair a driver’s judgment, reaction time, and coordination. Intoxicated drivers may not see pedestrians or stop in time to avoid hitting them.
  • Failure to use headlights at night – Headlights allow drivers to see pedestrians more clearly, and they also allow pedestrians to anticipate a vehicle’s movements. Failing to use headlights at night or in low-visibility conditions can increase a driver’s risk of colliding with a pedestrian.

Pedestrian Liability Considerations

While drivers tend to get most of the blame in pedestrian accidents, pedestrians also have a duty of care when crossing the street. Pedestrians must take reasonable care and use crosswalks in a safe manner. Examples of pedestrian negligence in a car accident include:

  • Jaywalking – Pedestrians who cross the street outside of designated crosswalks or without following traffic signals may be found partially at fault for any accidents that occur.
  • Ignoring “Walk” and “Don’t Walk” signals – Similar to jaywalking, pedestrians who ignore traffic signals and attempt to cross the street when they don’t have the right of way may be held partially liable for any resulting accidents.
  • Distracted walking – Just as distracted driving can be dangerous, distracted walking can also cause accidents. Pedestrians focused on their phones or other distractions may not see vehicles or other hazards in their path.

How New York's Fault Laws Affect Cases Involving Negligent Pedestrians

New York is a no-fault insurance state. Under the state’s no-fault laws, all drivers must carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance to cover their medical expenses and lost wages in the event of a car accident, regardless of who is at fault. The driver’s coverage also covers pedestrians they hit. 

If the pedestrian suffers a “serious injury” or more than $50,000 in basic economic losses, they may then be eligible to file a claim against the driver’s auto liability insurance. They may also turn to other sources of compensation, such as health insurance, to cover their injuries and losses. 

Pedestrians at fault in an accident may share liability with another party, such as a motor vehicle driver. New York takes a “pure comparative negligence” approach to traffic accidents. This means the amount of compensation a plaintiff receives for their injuries is reduced by their percentage of fault.

However, injured pedestrians may still recover compensation even if they are primarily at fault. For example, if a pedestrian suffers $1 million in damages but is found to be 60 percent at fault for an accident, they may still receive $400,000 in compensable damages. Our skilled personal injury lawyers have what it takes to push back hard when the at-fault party tries to blame you for the accident. 

City Liability

In some cases, the municipality where a pedestrian accident occurs may share liability. For example, suppose poorly designed intersections, malfunctioning traffic signals, or inadequate crosswalk markings contributed to the accident. In that case, the injured pedestrian may be eligible to file a claim against the government entity responsible for maintaining the roadways.

Contact Chopra & Nocerino if You Need Legal Help

Unraveling the web of liability in pedestrian accidents can be challenging. Every percentage point of fault can significantly affect the amount of compensation you receive for your injuries, making it crucial to have experienced legal representation on your side. 

If you or a loved one were injured in a NYC pedestrian accident, our attorneys can help you seek maximum compensation for your damages. Contact us online or call (855) NYC-HURT to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation and discuss your legal options. Para servir mejor a todos los miembros de nuestra comunidad, ofrecemos servicios en español.

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