New York City Personal Injury Law Blog
Filing a Pedestrian Accident Lawsuit
According to the Traffic Safety Facts from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 5,376 pedestrians and 818 bicyclists died in crashes with automobiles in 2015.
These deaths accounted for 17.7% of the 35,092 total fatalities in the United States that year. If 5,376 pedestrian deaths occurred in 2015, it means that nearly 15 pedestrians were killed every day in pedestrian/motor vehicle crashes and is the highest number of pedestrian deaths in just one year since 1996.
The NHTSA also reported that the estimated number of pedestrian injuries in accidents with motor vehicles in 2015 was 70,000 – an estimated 14.8% increase since 2006.
Needless to say, being hit by a vehicle is one of the most traumatic experiences that any person can have. And in the chaotic aftermath following an auto accident, the furthest thing from your mind is a lawsuit. However, if the accident was caused by another person’s negligence and you have suffered serious injuries, it is a prudent idea to keep all your legal options open.
Couple Awarded $9 Million after a Pedestrian Accident
A jury awarded a Hampton woman and her husband $9 million as part of a verdict in a civil lawsuit over a 2014 pedestrian accident that left the woman with permanent injuries. After a two-week trial in Rockingham County Superior Court, the jury announced its verdict in favor of the couple, Chuck and Karen Weinhold.
Weinhold filed the lawsuit against the state, R.S. Audley Inc. and Remo Gross-Santos, who dozed off while at the wheel while he was driving home after an all-night party just a day before graduating from high school. He struck Lisa Beaudry and Weinhold while they were strolling along Ocean Boulevard in Hampton in the year 2015. Lisa Beaudry also filed a lawsuit and went in for an out of court settlement.
At the time of the crash, Gross-Santos was 17 years old and he was convicted for second-degree assault for the part he played in the accident. However, Weinhold filed suit with the claim that he was not the only person to blame for the crash.
Weinhold argued that by closing down a protected walkway on the east side of Ocean Boulevard, R.S. Audley created a danger and forced pedestrians across the west side of the street which is unprotected. The change was made while construction work was being done on the sea wall at North Beach.
In her lawsuit, Weinhold maintained that the state was also liable as it gave its approval to the plan. Scott Harris, her attorney, said that R.S. Audley – which put blame on Gross-Santos for the accident – and the state had without increased danger to pedestrians.
The jury awarded the plaintiff $8.5 million in damages towards her medical bills, pain, and suffering. Her husband was awarded an additional $500,000 for the damages he suffered.
According to Harris, R.S. Audley was responsible for 30% of the damages, the state 40%, and Gross-Santos 30%. He also said that the Weinholds suffered catastrophic harm and losses due to the crash and that Karen Weinhold suffered permanent injuries that impacted her ability to eat and swallow as a result of damage to her esophagus as well as her ability to speak.
Fault for Pedestrian Accidents
The first thing you should consider when deciding whether you should sue after having been hit by a motor vehicle is fault, i.e. who is responsible for the accident. There are important questions to ask when determining fault in pedestrian accident case, including:
- Did the driver of the car that hit the pedestrian run a red light?
- Was the driver speeding?
- Was the driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs?
- Was the pedestrian texting when wandering out into traffic?
- Could the accident have been avoided by either person?
In most states, a pedestrian can only sue and recover damages from a driver when the driver was at least partially at fault for the accident. If the pedestrian was texting while literally walking into traffic and there was nothing that the driver could do to avoid crashing into them, it is unlikely that the pedestrian would have a successful lawsuit.
Assuming that a person other than the pedestrian is at fault, it is possible for a pedestrian accident to be caused by more than one person. For example, one driver ran a red light and another driver, who had a green light, had to swerve to avoid crashing into the other car. However, the second driver loses control due to the sudden swerve and hits a pedestrian on the sidewalk.
In this case, the pedestrian could file a lawsuit against the first driver even though their vehicle did not actually hit the pedestrian. Since the second driver might share a part of the fault for the accident as they were unable to control their vehicle after the swerve, the pedestrian might want to file a lawsuit against them as well. However, it is likely that the first driver would pay most of the damages as they were primarily at fault for the crash.
If you are involved in a situation like this you need RMFW Law. We know the law in New York better than anyone and our sparkling case results are indicative of this. We know the games insurance companies like to employ and we know which legal buttons to press and when to press them.
If someone hits you out there on the road or on the sidewalk, call RMFW Law as soon as you can! Call us using our number which is 212 697 9280.
$1.5 Million Settlement from City for Pedestrian Accident
A pedestrian sustained severe injuries when a minivan struck him as it crashed in a Bridgeport intersection in 2014. He settled his lawsuit for nearly $1.5 million.
Henry Cartagena’s council argued sole proximate cause, which means 100% fault, on Bridgeport’s part in securing the settlement of $1.49 million, citing reports indicating that the cause of the accident was a malfunctioning traffic light.
The attorney for the city, which decided to forgo a trail, said that it was an extraordinarily complicated case that came with many different questions as to causation. He also added that the settlement was a rightful resolution and that all parties were satisfied.
Now 50 years old, Cartagena suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI), a broken jaw, a fractured skull, broken ribs, and spinal injuries when he was hit on the sidewalk and pinned against a building by a minivan that had crashed with a pickup truck in a 5-way intersection that connects Pixlee Street and Barnum Avenue.
In 2016, Cartagena and his attorney, Donald Papcsy filed an amended complaint in Bridgeport Superior Court, arguing “sole direct and proximate result of a breach of the statutory duty of the defendant under C.G.S. 13a-149”.
Cartagena filed a lawsuit against Bridgeport under the state’s Highway Defect Statute in which it must be proven that the defendants were aware that there was a defect before the accident occurred. Papscy said that discovery and depositions established that the traffic light had not been working properly for at least 3 days before the crash. According to witnesses, the light at Pixlee and Barnum was either malfunctioning or completely disabled – they all agreed that the signal would not turn green.
Papcsy said that the Ford F-150 pickup driven by Felix Toledo crashed into the Nissan minivan driven by Mariano Nieves as a result of the malfunctioning signal.
According to the lawsuit, Toledo was facing the malfunctioning light on Pixlee Street and waited about one minute before he slowly proceeded through the intersection and edged into traffic as the green light failed to blink. At the same time, Nieves had the green light as he was traveling east on Barnum Avenue through the intersection.
The vehicles crashed into each other, with Nieves’ vehicle careening onto the sidewalk on Barnum and crashing into and pinning Cartagena against a building. The speed the vehicles were traveling at was not indicated in the lawsuit, but neither driver was ticketed.
According to Papcsy, neither Toledo or Nieves was at fault as they both acted with reason and caution under conditions created by the city, which Cartagena’s party was able to show at mediation with the attorneys from Bridgeport and the judge. Judge Robin Wilson of New Haven Superior Court oversaw the mediation.
Papcsy said that he accessed alert-system logs and codes through the discovery process and found indications that a traffic box at the intersection was opened by someone from the city two days before the accident. While it is not known who opened the traffic box, it is known that access was given to only three people. During deposition, all three said that they had no recollection of being there at that time.
Papcsy said that Bridgeport did not keep adequate records of who goes where to maintain the city’s traffic lights and that anyone who went to the intersection two days before the accident could not have failed to see the defect in the traffic light. He also added that during the deposition, witnesses reported that the light had not been working at least four days before the accident.
In the lawsuit, Papcsy argued that apart from ongoing medical expenses and loss of ability to work, Cartagena suffered and will continue to suffer anxiety, frustration, and mental anguish over his injuries. The lawsuit claimed both economic and non-economic damages and compensation for pain and suffering.
Various Damages that can be claimed for in a Pedestrian Accident Lawsuit
Damages in a personal injury lawsuit help compensate the injured person for all the harm they suffered as a result of an accident caused by another person’s fault or negligence. Equating money with injuries is difficult, but the system works this way: damages consist of multiple categories, including:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future loss of income
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
When it comes to damages in a pedestrian accident lawsuit, the more simple categories are medical expenses and loss of income. All medical expenses resulting from an accident can be reimbursed as part of the damages in the lawsuit. Additionally, if the pedestrian missed work as a result of injuries from the accident, the driver will usually have to pay for the lost wages.
The other two categories are a little more difficult to calculate. How do you calculate the value of pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life? This is left to the jury.
The closest example would be if a pedestrian sustains a few bruises and scrapes and a backache for about one week, they would receive less than $1,000 for pain and suffering. If they suffer a broken collar bone, a broken hip, and a severe concussion that results in permanent severe pain in the neck and shoulder area and permanent headaches, pain and suffering might be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Loss of enjoyment, or loss of normal life, refers to the negative impact that the accident has on the pedestrian’s life. So, if they are paralyzed from the waist down due to the accident and they used to be an avid rock climber or a surfer, the damages that the pedestrian recovers would be higher than if they did not spend much time outdoors before the accident.
If the injured person’s life has been dramatically changed due to the injuries sustained in the accident, keeping them from engaging in activities that they loved before the accident, they would recover a larger amount of money in damages.
RMFW Law Knows Pedestrian Accident Lawsuits Through and Through
It is vital to have the best legal counsel to handle your pedestrian accident lawsuit as there are several procedures that require the knowledge and skill that only successful and reliable personal injury attorneys have.
Before taking on your case, a legal pro will evaluate your case in a free consultation to determine if you have a viable case. If you do, they will go ahead and begin the steps to file a pedestrian accident lawsuit so you can recover damages from the party at fault.
If you or someone you know is grievously injured in a pedestrian accident caused by a driver’s recklessness or negligence, you should immediately seek the help of a reliable personal injury lawyer at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff, & Wolff, of RMFW Law at 212 697 9280 to find a stellar legal pro to handle your case.
Make sure that you protect your rights and obtain fair compensation for your injuries and other damages by filing a pedestrian accident lawsuit against the at-fault party. Your legal counselor will make sure that you are treated fairly and that you receive the compensation you are entitled to by law and no one is better in this game than RMFW Law.
We have won millions of dollars for past clients you too can be on this amazing list. Call us today! If someone violated your right to a healthy and happy life they should pay and there is laws in the books that will force them to pay which can help you financially for the rest of your life.