Each municipality is required to manage vehicle traffic and pedestrian activity to help keep the roadways safe for everyone concerned. If you have been injured as a result of a pedestrian accident, you will need to take certain steps to protect your health, and a lawsuit could be on the cards. This process can be complex and you may require the help of a Buffalo pedestrian accident lawyer.
You will be required to present evidence and have accurate testimony to show your version of the sequence of events that led up to the accident, as the insurance company and courts will want to work out who was at fault. You may need medical treatment and should get statements and records about the injuries that you sustained.
It is also important to file a police report promptly, collect contact information from those who were involved in the incident, and document the scene of the accident as well. The appropriate parties must be contacted in a timely manner to help ensure that the lawsuit is smooth and effective. The steps that you take will make a big difference in the outcome of the case. If you or a loved one have been harmed in a pedestrian accident contact Cellino Law to discuss your claim with one of our personal injury lawyers in Buffalo.
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What Should You Do After Being Injured In A Pedestrian Accident?
If you find yourself involved in a pedestrian accident you should take these steps:
Seeking Medical Care and Assistance From the Police
Any accident that involves pedestrians could lead to severe injury. The insurance policy of the vehicle that is involved in a pedestrian accident will be responsible for any medical bills in many states. This is partly because the size and weight of cars compared to that of people mean that a pedestrian or even a cyclist is likely to come off far worse than an individual in the event of an accident. For this reason, if a car driver strikes a pedestrian, it’s important that the emergency services are summoned promptly to assist the pedestrian and determine the extent of their injuries.
Ambulance responders can offer transport to the hospital should the injuries be serious and can treat some injuries on site. Police can collect evidence and put together a report which may be useful later should there be a need to determine the cause of an accident.
Getting to a Safe Location
If a victim of an accident remains on the road, then this increases the risk of there being a secondary accident. This can be especially serious on urban roadways. While anyone who was involved in the accident should remain close to the scene, moving to the side of the road helps to protect the victim of the accident from further injury and reduces the risk of later collisions.
Collecting Witness and Driver Information
One of the first things that the police will try to do is collect information about those who were involved in the accident. It is a good idea, however, for the injured person to attempt to get contact and insurance information from the motorist as well if they are able to do so. If they cannot do so, then the driver or someone else at the scene should try to collect information to make the process go more smoothly later.
It is also a good idea to gather the contact information of available witnesses. The police will be working to do this, but if you have some information yourself then that may come in handy. Witness information may be the final piece that helps to determine the sequence of events and that makes a difference in the outcome of the lawsuit.
This used to be difficult, but since almost everyone has a phone with a camera on it today it is easy to snap a photo or record a video of the accident scene. Do this as quickly as possible so that you can show the severity of the accident, and perhaps snap some permanent record of something that could show the cause of the accident too. This documentation will be used by the insurance company to determine the level of compensation awarded in any lawsuit.
Seek Legal Advice
The first thing that an accident victim will want to do is get medical attention. After that, they should seek advice from a Buffalo pedestrian accident attorney so that they can start the process of making a claim. If the accident is ruled to have been caused by driver negligence, then the victim will be eligible for compensation. Lawyers can help with the accident report, file a claim, and represent the victim in court if necessary, as well as offer advice about settlements.
If a driver was involved in a pedestrian accident, then they should call their auto insurance provider. They will be able to offer advice on coverage and will work with the pedestrian’s attorney to navigate the claim process.
At the scene of the accident, both parties should avoid discussing fault. Do not make speculative statements, or even say ‘sorry’ The driver and the pedestrian should simply exchange contact information and let their insurance companies and lawyers do the rest.
If you need advice about pedestrian accidents near Buffalo, call an attorney that knows New York traffic law.
How Does New York Determine Fault In Pedestrian Accidents?
There are many things that can lead to pedestrian accidents, so it’s not always clear who is at fault. The liability for an accident will affect who receives compensation, and both the driver and the pedestrian are going to want to make the other party appear to have been at fault. It may be obvious who was responsible, but in some cases, the circumstances will be more confusing.
When the Driver is at Fault
Driver fault is a common issue. Drivers have a duty of care to other road users as well as a requirement to follow the rules of the road. If a driver fails to yield to a pedestrian at an appropriate time or breaks the rules of the road then they were negligent and they are likely to be ruled as being at fault for any accident that results.
Drivers should take particular care in areas such as school zones or children’s play areas. Children are not fully mentally developed and may not understand the rules of the road, which means that they could behave in an unpredictable way. Drivers need to be aware of that to reduce the risk of an accident involving a child.
When the Pedestrian is Fault
Pedestrians are at the most risk in car accidents, but that doesn’t mean that they are never going to be at fault. Pedestrian laws in New York require that people use crosswalks and sidewalks when available, obey traffic signals, and yield to vehicles if they are attempting to cross the street when there is no crosswalk. Motorists should be mindful of pedestrians but pedestrians should take reasonable precautions.
Jaywalking is one of the most common kinds of at-fault accident for a pedestrian. Pedestrians are required to avoid walking on state highways unless they are required to do so because of an accident or a stalled vehicle. If they violate this, then they are likely to be considered at fault.
Shared Fault Accidents
It is possible for an accident to be shared fault. This can happen if the pedestrian fails to follow the rules, but it can also be shown that the driver was intoxicated or distracted. This would mean that both parties are at fault in such a situation.
Because New York is a comparative negligence state, it is still possible for a claim to be made when someone is at fault. The amount of compensation that the person would receive is based on how much they were at fault for the accident.
If both parties were equally at fault, then an injured party could recover 50% of their damages in compensation. IF the driver was deemed to be more at fault, then the pedestrian would be able to recover more of their damages. The courts first of all determine who was at fault, then adjust the applicable damages.
What Can a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer In Buffalo Do To Help?
When an accident happens, insurance companies act quickly to hound the involved parties for information or to pressure them to accept a settlement request. Working with Cellino Law can help you focus on your recovery and take away that stress.
We Deal With Insurance Carriers
Insurance companies exist to make money and this means they will do anything they can to reduce claims and deny benefits. They will make contact shortly after the accident, often on the same day, hoping to get the victim to agree to a low statement or to say something that will reduce the amount that they need to pay out.
Hiring a Buffalo car accident attorney means that you won’t have to talk to the insurance company alone. Retain a lawyer from Cellino Law and we will handle the communications for you.
Settlements and Trial Experience
Insurance companies have a lot of experience with going to trial and they know which firms will take cases to trial and which firms are likely to accept a settlement. At Cellino Law, we always assume that a case will be tried and prepare cases in a way that helps to maximize recovery. Our Buffalo pedestrian accident lawyers know what goes into a successful injury case.
We can put your mind at ease and answer questions about things like:
- When to file a claim
- What procedures to follow
- How to handle settlement offers
- What compensation amounts are acceptable
- How you can fight against the other company’s lawyers in court
We have personal injury attorneys on hand to answer common questions and explain the whole process to you. Our attorneys can help you decide what is a fair amount of compensation for your injuries and will fight for your rights in the courtroom. We have more than 100 years of combined experience in the courtroom and will put that experience to work to manage your case.
Our Thorough Investigations
Photos and witness investigations are important, but some cases require more information than that. We work with top investigators to gather that additional information so that you can rest, relax, and focus on recovering after your injury.
Choosing Alternate Dispute Resolution
Sometimes a case doesn’t need to go all the way to trial. Mediation and arbitration can solve a lot of issues. Our team is here to help you work out what is the right approach for your case. In some cases, it is possible to resolve the issue without going to court, which saves you emotional energy, time, and money.
Getting the Right Settlement
Settlement offers are sometimes made before or even during trial. The amount that is offered in settlement is typically less than the maximum you could get from a trial. The difference is that you are guaranteed to get the settlement money, while trials aren’t always going to go in your favor.
Whether or not you accept the settlement depends on what your priorities are. We can help you to make an informed decision based on your likelihood of winning the trial as well as whether or not the money offered in the settlement will cover the damages that you have suffered and may suffer in the future as a result of this accident.
Navigating the Legal System
The statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is three years from the date of the accident. A ‘no-fault’ application, however, must be filed within 30 days. If you do not meet that deadline then you could forfeit the ability to make claims for medical coverage and lost earnings. At Cellion Law, we file no-fault applications immediately so that you do not lose out on the right to compensation. Partner with one of our attorneys to ensure that your case will proceed smoothly.
A good Buffalo pedestrian accident lawyer increases the chances of you making a successful claim and helps you to achieve the full amount of compensation that you are entitled to. We take pride in working hard to ensure that our clients have the best chance of a positive outcome.
Compensation Claims for Pedestrian Accidents in Buffalo
When a pedestrian injury claim is made, the victim has the option of going to trial or settling with the at-fault party. Which of these options they choose will determine how long the claim takes and how much compensation they are likely to get. Compensation depends on many factors, such as:
- Loss of earnings
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Impact on day to day life
Car accident claims rely on the at-fault person’s insurance to cover any damages. Each state, including New York, requires drivers to have a minimum level of cover. If a motorist is at fault the pedestrian’s compensation will come from the driver’s auto insurance in most cases. In New York, the minimum coverage is $25,000.
Where drivers are uninsured or do not have enough coverage to compensate a person for an injury, the pedestrian that was injured has the option of recovering damages through uninsured or underinsured motorist cover. The pedestrian may not have been in a vehicle at the moment of the incident, but they can still use the cover to claim compensation. There are limits on what the injured party can recover.
Each accident is unique, and determining the exact amount of compensation that someone is entitled to, or even guessing how quickly a claim will be processed, can be a challenge. Proving fault requires investigation and takes time. Cellino Law helps pedestrians in Buffalo, NY, with their accident claims so that they can have a chance to get the full amount that they are entitled to.
What Are Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents In New York?
Common causes for pedestrian accidents include:
- Failure to yield
- Poor visibility
- Aggressive driving
- Driving while distracted
- Car failures
A pedestrian accident may be the fault of the driver, the pedestrian, or both parties. Negligence is a common issue, but it is not the only thing that causes accidents:
Driving While Distracted
Distracted driving is incredibly common in both auto accidents and pedestrian accidents. If a motorist is on the phone while driving, reading a map, or just talking to other passengers then they may not be paying enough attention to the roads. Even being slightly distracted can delay a motorist’s reaction time enough to mean that they do not have time to slow down before a collision.
Speeding while on familiar roads, running lights, or not checking paths before turning can all increase the risk of a collision with a pedestrian or another road user. Aggressive driving is common and is a major fault of the motorist.
Failing to Yield
Failure to Yield is something that both pedestrians and motorists can be considered at fault for. Both parties are expected, in certain situations, to yield the right of way to another party. A motorist should let a pedestrian cross at a crosswalk or if a traffic signal indicates that the motorist should stop.
In New York, the law says that pedestrians should yield to vehicles if they are trying to cross a road that does not have a marked crosswalk. Pedestrians should always try to make their crossings at an available crosswalk and should obey traffic signals. The right of way is what makes it safe for people to be on the road. Failure to observe the right of way in the correct fashion is a major cause of accidents.
Jaywalking and Inappropriately Walking Alongside the Road
Walking along the side of a road can be dangerous. Pedestrians should always try to walk on a sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk available, then the pedestrian should walk in the opposite direction to traffic, and stay as far towards the edge of the road as they can. Cyclists should try to follow the flow of traffic. If a pedestrian walks along a highway then they are at a significant risk of accidents. New York laws say that pedestrians should not travel along highways under any circumstances.
Accidents often occur in the dark or in low light because pedestrians are hard to spot in such conditions. Poor weather can reduce viewing distance as well. It is a good idea for pedestrians to wear light-colored or reflective clothing and to carry a flashlight so that they are easier for motorists to spot. Vehicles have headlights so that they can be seen easily, but pedestrians do not.
Driving or Being on the Road While Intoxicated
Both motorists and pedestrians can be at risk of accidents because of intoxication. Alcohol and drugs can often cause people to suffer from poor motor control and impaired decision making. Drunk drivers have slower reaction times and drunk pedestrians are more likely to wander into the road when traffic is oncoming. Intoxication increases risk-seeking behaviors and can put people in highly dangerous situations.
Some accidents are not the fault of the driver or the pedestrian. The motorist may see the pedestrian in time and attempt to slow down only to find that their brakes do not respond, or a blown tire may cause a motorist to lose control of a vehicle and swerve into a pedestrian. The fault may be pinned on the motorist for not properly maintaining their vehicle, or it could be that the manufacturer was at fault and that many vehicles have similar issues.
How Can Drivers Help Prevent Pedestrian Accidents?
When driving you can mitigate your chances of being in an accident with a pedestrian by:
- Keep your eyes on the road while driving
- Do not use your phone while driving
- Be on the alert during poor weather conditions or reduced visibility
- Slow down and be ready to come to a stop when approaching a crosswalk
- Leave ample space between yourself and other vehicles
- Do not pass other vehicles at a crosswalk
- Do not drive while intoxicated
- Always stick to the speed limit even if you cannot see people or other road users in the vicinity
- Pay extra attention when backing up or out of a driveway
- Slow down in areas where children may be present
- Always observe the speed limit at a school zone or a bus stop
How Common are Pedestrian Accidents in New York?
New York is a leader when it comes to road safety, but that has not always been the case. Up until a few years ago, pedestrian accidents were common and many were fatalities. In 2017, however, the state saw the lowest number of pedestrian fatalities since 1910, thanks to improvements made by state officials helping to make New York a safer place for pedestrians and road users alike.
Fatalities and total accident figures are both trending downwards, but it will take continuing effort from all road users to maintain those improvements. Between 2012 and 2017, pedestrian fatalities fell dramatically. 2013 was the worst year, with 343 fatalities out of 14650 accidents. In 2017, there were just 249 fatalities out of 14,912 reported accidents.
What Are the Most Common Injuries Caused By Pedestrian Accidents?
The types of injuries that can occur will depend on the speed that the vehicle was going, the position of their impact, and the health of the pedestrian. Because there are so many factors at play, pedestrian accidents can result in a wide variety of injuries. Some injuries are minor, but others may turn out to be long-lasting or life-altering.
No matter what the type of accident is, it is still important that anyone involved in the accident seeks immediate aid from a medical professional. Sometimes the injury is not immediately obvious or the extent of the injury is not completely clear. It can take days or even weeks for symptoms to manifest, so talking to a doctor early on provides a record and also gives you an idea of what to look out for so that you have peace of mind. Common injuries include:
- Fractures or broken bones
- Limb amputation
- Soft tissue injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Traumatic brain injury
- Emotional trauma
After a pedestrian accident in Buffalo, you should seek immediate medical attention, document your injuries, and take pictures of your wounds before getting treatment. No matter what the level of injury is, you have the option of seeking compensation for any required medical treatment or loss of earnings. If a Buffalo pedestrian accident attorney has shown that the vehicle was partly at fault then you may also try to claim for physical or emotional damages.
The Rights and Duties of Pedestrians in New York
Motorists are required to show that they have sufficient knowledge of the rules of the road to protect themselves and other road users. Pedestrians are not required to do this. A lot of pedestrians incorrectly assume that they automatically have right of way. Pedestrians who fail to follow the rules of the road, whether they were aware of the rules or not, may be deemed at fault for any accident they are involved in and may lose some of all of their right to recover compensation.
The Pedestrian’s Rights
In New York, pedestrians have right of way at crosswalks and on sidewalks. Motorists should be alert for pedestrians when approaching a crosswalk and slow down. Crosswalks with a traffic signal should be observed by both pedestrians and drivers. Where no traffic signal is present, pedestrians have right of way at any time.
Pedestrians are allowed to walk along roadways if there is no sidewalk. Drivers should be alert for the possibility of pedestrians on a roadway. Drivers should pay particular attention to areas where children are likely to be present.
The Duties of a Pedestrian
Pedestrians should cross at a crosswalk rather than on an unmarked point, wherever possible. Pedestrians should walk on a sidewalk whenever one is available, and if they are required to use the road instead then they should stay as far to the side of the road as possible and walk in the direction of oncoming traffic. They should not walk on highways and should not go onto toll bridges.
Pedestrians should be vigilant even in situations where they do have the right of way. If a crossing appears to be dangerous, they should wait until the danger has passed before attempting to cross. Pedestrians should never assume that an oncoming vehicle will slow down for them. While motorists have a duty of care towards pedestrians, the pedestrian also has a responsibility to try to keep themselves safe.
Pedestrians and Unsafe Behavior
If a pedestrian is deemed to have been behaving in an unsafe manner, such as by jaywalking or by ignoring warnings from traffic signals then they could be classified as being partly at fault, or even entirely at fault, for an accident. The comparative negligence rules that are used in New York mean that in some cases a pedestrian who is partly at fault may be able to make a claim for compensation for an injury that they have suffered but that they will only be entitled to partial compensation.
Pedestrian accidents are not always caused by a driver. Sometimes, a driver could demonstrate that it was not possible for them to avoid hitting a pedestrian because the pedestrian was behaving in an unsafe or unpredictable manner. There are many examples of such behavior, including:
- Walking on a highway or in a prohibited area
- Stepping out into the street without checking for nearby traffic first
- Breaking other pedestrian laws or ignoring traffic signals
If a pedestrian is deemed at fault for an accident then that will invalidate or limit their insurance claim. It is important that you know your rights and responsibilities so that you can avoid accidents while you are on the road. There are laws in place to help everyone stay safe. Pedestrians and motorists should both try to be responsible for their actions, and be observant of those around them, to reduce the risk of an accident occurring. When everyone is responsible the risk of accidents is greatly reduced.
If you have been following the rules of the road as a pedestrian, and you were still involved in an accident, then you may be able to show that it was the fault of the driver. Working with a skilled Buffalo pedestrian accident lawyer can help you to navigate the legal system successfully.
Is there a Time Limit for Making a Buffalo Pedestrian Accident Claim?
You should aim to make your claim promptly to ensure that you have the best chance of obtaining compensation. The immediate days, weeks, and even months after an accident can be a difficult time. The statute of limitations is three years for a pedestrian accident, but in no-fault cases, the deadline can be much shorter than that.
Rather than trying to guess or just hope for the best, you should contact the personal injury lawyers at Cellino Law as soon as possible after an accident, and let them handle the details of your claim to maximize the chances of you getting the compensation that you deserve. Call quickly, and save yourself the hassle of having to deal with the third party’s insurance company and any aggressive tactics. Our Buffalo injury firm can help you get back on track after a pedestrian accident.