New York City Personal Injury Law Blog

Safety Considerations at Intersections

Posted on Aug 5, 2015 in Personal Injury

We tend to think of pedestrian intersection accidents in very simple and specific ways: If a driver operates a motor vehicle in an irresponsible way and hits a pedestrian because he or she wasn’t looking out for people crossing the intersection, the driver is responsible for the injuries sustained by the pedestrian.

However, in reality, most injury lawyers know that the above simplified statement often doesn’t tell the entire story and a number of other factors can play into such accidents. One such factor concerns the issue of infrastructure maintenance and how well a municipality and its business partners provide safe passage for large numbers of travelers in urban areas.

Traffic Lights – Effective Traffic Controls

Traffic lights have become a top priority for urban planners and other officials who deal with busy intersections because they have been proven to be a more effective means of traffic control than other installations such as stop signs. But many times, the cost of traffic signals is either prohibitive or a large burden to a municipality. This can result in the use of obsolete equipment, as well as traffic signal systems that don’t really have the most modern bells and whistles that provide an additional layer of protection.

Traffic Signal Conditions

Go to a street where new traffic signal infrastructure has been installed and you’ll see excellent examples of safe and proper roadway installations. You’ll see brightly painted crosswalks and lane markers, along with new equipment, such as yellow button boxes where pedestrians can signal crossing. Even more importantly, you’ll see display monitors positioned at the corners of the intersection with prominent “walk” and “don’t walk” signals. The newest ones even have time indicators in seconds to help pedestrians understand how long they have to cross the street.

This type of installation provides a real level of safety for drivers and pedestrians alike.

By contrast, when you look at some older traffic signal installations, you may see just a red and green light that is void of any type of “walk” and “don’t walk” signage. Turning lanes may not be well marked, and old buildings or other structures can impair one’s sight distance.

In such cases, pedestrians and drivers have to take extra precautions. Walkers have to determine when they can actually cross safely. All of this can be challenging and it can contribute to some types of injuries.

Protecting Injury Victims

Pedestrians often face a number of other risks as well. For instance, when buses and trucks turn at intersections, there are times when pedestrians get caught under the wheels of the vehicles and sustain severe injuries or even lose their lives as a result. Similarly, pedestrians may be harmed by automobiles that are entering the intersection from the left to turn into oncoming traffic.

As soon as a personal injury lawyer hears about such incidents, he or she will get started doing the proper fact-finding to determine what contributed to the accident. The injury lawyer will be looking at any indication of third-party responsibility, to include looking at whether any type of negligence or inattention to public safety made the accident more likely and whether any other parties have responsibility to compensate the victim.

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If you or someone in your family was injured in an accident in New York City, call the local personal injury attorneys at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff. Our attorneys have experience helping NYC families handle personal injury cases. Let us help you through every step of what can be a complex process. Call us today.


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