As spring approaches, weather warms and the days grow longer, more pedestrians and bicyclists take to New York streets. For most New Yorkers, getting out and walking is healthy and invigorating. However, for a surprising number, walking turns out to be hazardous. Pedestrians may be injured in a variety of ways, ranging from slipping or tripping on an untended sidewalk to falling debris, collisions with other pedestrians, or being struck by a bicyclist. However, motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians are one of the most common causes of serious injury to New Yorkers traveling on foot.
Each year, about 300 New York pedestrians are accidentally killed by motor vehicles. More than 3,000 are hospitalized, and more than 12,000 visit emergency rooms. Many pedestrians struck by cars and trucks are seriously injured, and the average hospital stay lasts for eight days and costs more than $65,000. Annually, injuries to pedestrians in New York traffic accidents result in nearly $200,000,000 in medical expenses.
Nearly 80% of accidents that kill or seriously injure pedestrians involve private vehicles. Only a small percentage of such accidents are attributable to buses, commercial trucks, or taxi cabs. Though these accidents occur throughout the city, those occurring on major thoroughfares are more likely to be fatal than accidents on smaller side streets.
Over the past several years, New York officials have taken steps to improve pedestrian safety in the city. These measures include initiatives to re-engineer streets and intersections to make them safer, installation of 1,500 pedestrian countdown signals at intersections, and pilot programs involving reduced speed limits and improved visibility.
These programs have apparently seen some success. For example, between 2000 and 2014, the pedestrian-injury-related hospitalization rate dropped from 19.5/100,000 residents to 14.6/100,000 residents. Nonetheless, serious pedestrian injuries still occur regularly in New York, and recovery can be expensive and time-consuming.
When a pedestrian is hit by a car or otherwise injured in a traffic accident, contacting an attorney may not be high on his or her list of things to do. That’s understandable and it is important that medical attention comes first. However, it’s also important that pedestrian accident victims realize that they may be entitled to compensation from the driver who injured them or a third party. That compensation can help to ease the burden of large medical bills, lost work time, the need for follow-up care and rehabilitation and other losses associated with the accident.
In most cases, you have up to three years to file a lawsuit for damages associated with a New York pedestrian injury. However, it is in your best interests to act quickly. Often, after a traffic accident, witnesses scatter without anyone having had the opportunity to gather contact information. Vehicles removed from the scene may be repaired or junked in a relatively short period of time. The sooner your pedestrian accident attorney gets involved, the easier it will be to gather evidence on your behalf and build a strong case.
Just call 212-732-2929 or fill out the contact form on this page to schedule a free consultation.