August 16, 2019 • Car Accidents
New York City is a pedestrian paradise, with so many exciting places to walk around and explore. Unfortunately, walking around the City is not without its perils. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC,) approximately 6,000 pedestrians a year are killed by motorists. Another 130,000 are treated in emergency rooms for serious injuries. These statistics shouldn’t scare people away from the fun and health benefits of exploring the City on foot. There are many ways for pedestrians to decrease the likelihood of being injured in a pedestrian traffic accident. If you are a pedestrian that’s sustained a serious injury in a traffic accident, it’s important to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney that can help you collect the compensation you deserve.
Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for children in the United States. With the increasing number of families with both parents working, children are more frequently, and at younger ages, being expected to walk around on their own. This has led to increasing rates of children injured or killed by cars. Parents can help by making sure that their children are properly instructed on how to safely cross the street and by encouraging them to walk in groups that are more easily noticed by drivers. The second highest group of pedestrian injuries from car accidents are senior citizens. This statistic is due to the fact that older people are less likely to drive, but also because of their slower foot speed and diminished faculties. There is a growing awareness about pedestrian safety that suggests that walking when impaired isn’t a safe choice. New studies have shown that a large percentage of pedestrian deaths are caused by people walking under the influence of alcohol, prescription medications, and illegal drugs. If you aren’t up to walking home, taking a taxi is the safest choice.
The speed of a vehicle has a tremendous impact on how severe the injuries are when a pedestrian is hit by a car. That’s why Mayor De Blasio reduced the speed limit on city streets to 25 miles per hour in 2014. The speed limit reduction was coupled with a campaign showing pictures of children and the injuries they would sustain at the new speed limit, compared to higher speeds. Enforcement with camera tickets is increasing, with new cameras being installed all over the City. There are also new street designs and configurations specifically geared towards improving safety, and increasing penalties for dangerous drivers. The mayor calls this plan to eliminate all traffic fatalities on the city’s streets,“Vision Zero,” modeled after a successful Swedish program.
Despite these efforts, pedestrian accidents are still widespread throughout the city, so it’s important to know what to do if you are injured in a pedestrian accident. The first thing to do is assess whether or not you’re in a place of safety. If you’re in the way of traffic, it might be safer to move, than to remain in place. If you’re not in the street, it’s safest to remain still until an ambulance arrives. Once safety has been established, use your mobile phone to call 911 if somebody on the scene has not already done so. It’s also a good idea to call a Brooklyn pedestrian injury attorney to begin to establish your claim. If you are comfortable walking, take pictures of the vehicle(s) that hit you, noting any damage to the vehicles. Look for skidmarks and other markings on the scene that might explain how the accident happened. Speak to the driver of the car that hit you, and any occupants of the vehicle, and scout the scene for any witnesses that may have seen you get hit. Try to get statements on video of anybody that will agree to it. When the ambulance arrives, it’s wise to accept a ride to the emergency room to be thoroughly checked out, even if you don’t think your injuries are severe. The adrenaline spurt after an accident can mask pain and there could be life-threatening internal injuries that need to be diagnosed and treated immediately.
The days immediately following your accident are crucial for your health and establishing any claim you’re making for compensation for injuries sustained in the accident. Your Brooklyn pedestrian injury attorney will guide you, and it’s important that you take their advice seriously. You should be getting follow-up treatment for the injuries you sustained, which should always include diagnosis and oversight by medical doctors. Beware of “therapy places” that solicit your business, trying to talk you into treating with chiropractors and physical therapists 5 days a week without a doctor’s diagnosis, and without scheduling appropriate diagnostic testing. This scenario isn’t good for your health or your personal injury case! If you’re employed, you need to discuss with your doctor when you should go back to work. Ideally, your attorney’s office will be taking care of all of the paperwork and contact with the insurance companies, so all you need to do is get the medical treatment you need.
When a heavy metal machine hits flesh and blood, the injuries are usually serious. Sometimes pedestrians are flown up into the air from the force of the impact, or part of their body is run over by the vehicle. These are the most common injuries from pedestrian knockdown accidents:
When a pedestrian is hit by a car in New York, the insurance company for the car that is responsible usually pays the first-party benefits known as “no-fault” benefits. “No-fault” benefits will pay for medical treatment, lost earnings, and out-of-pocket expenses. If the person was working at the time of the accident, such a delivery-person, workers compensation will usually pay the first-party benefits. There are some situations with self-employed persons where “no-fault” will be responsible for payments, even though the person was working when they were injured. If the car that hit you doesn’t have insurance, a car owned by you, or by a relative living in the same home with you, will cover the loss. If nobody in your home has a car, a fund called MVAIC comes into play. These complicated issues are why it’s so important to hire an experienced pedestrian accident attorney, to ensure that you collect everything you are entitled to. The compensation for pain and suffering and other “liability” claims are paid by the responsible car’s insurance. If there’s no insurance, the next place to look is the “car in the household,” and if there’s no car in the home, the MVAIC fund is next in line. It’s important to know that there is always insurance coverage for pedestrians hit by cars in New York, even when the car doesn’t have insurance or it’s a hit and run.