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Are Drivers Always At Fault for Pedestrian Accidents?

Are Drivers Always At Fault for Pedestrian Accidents?

Statistics from the Department of Health show that more than 15,000 pedestrians are hurt across the state each year. Of the total number injured, around 300 victims end up passing away. Although you may believe the driver is always responsible for the accident, this is untrue. There are cases where the pedestrian may share liability. Our personal injury lawyer in Queens is here to explain.

Factors Contributing to Pedestrian Accidents

New York Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) establishes rules and regulations for both drivers and pedestrians. However, pedestrians generally have the right of way in crosswalks and at intersections, emphasizing the responsibility of drivers to yield.

While drivers are responsible for ensuring pedestrian safety, various factors contribute to accidents, making it unfair to always place blame solely on drivers. These factors include:

Pedestrian Behavior

Instances where pedestrians jaywalk, cross intersections against signals, or fail to use designated crosswalks can impact liability. Negligent behavior on the part of pedestrians may diminish the driver’s guilt.

Distracted Walking

With the rise of smartphones, pedestrians may become engrossed in their devices while walking, diverting their attention from traffic signals and oncoming vehicles.

Poor Visibility

New York’s often crowded streets and adverse weather conditions can impede visibility for both drivers and pedestrians. Inadequate street lighting, especially at night, can contribute to accidents.

Driver Distractions

Just as pedestrians can be distracted, drivers may engage in activities like texting, adjusting the radio, or eating while driving, diverting their attention from the road.

As a pedestrian, you still have legal options even if you somehow contributed to the accident.

Comparative Negligence in New York

New York’s comparative negligence system allows for the assignment of fault based on the percentage of responsibility each party involved bears. Even if a pedestrian is found to be partially at fault, they may still be eligible for compensation, albeit reduced based on their degree of responsibility.

The concept of comparative negligence underscores the importance of a thorough investigation into the circumstances of each accident. Witness statements, traffic camera footage, and other evidence can help establish the degree of fault for drivers and pedestrians.

Legal Recourse for Injured Pedestrians

Injured pedestrians have the right to pursue legal recourse to seek compensation for their injuries. This may involve filing a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance or, in some cases, pursuing a lawsuit.

Insurance Claims

New York is a no-fault insurance state, meaning that individuals involved in car accidents typically seek compensation from their insurance providers regardless of fault. However, if the injuries exceed certain thresholds, the injured party may have the right to file a liability claim against the at-fault driver.

Personal Injury Lawsuits

In cases where the injuries are severe, surpassing the threshold defined by New York’s insurance laws, injured pedestrians may file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver.

Third-Party Liability

Third parties, such as municipalities or property owners, may sometimes share liability for pedestrian accidents. For example, poorly maintained sidewalks or malfunctioning traffic signals could contribute to accidents.

Our Queens pedestrian accident attorney can help you demonstrate that negligence existed and that another person is responsible for your damages.

Proving Negligence and Establishing Liability

Establishing negligence is crucial for determining liability in personal injury cases arising from pedestrian accidents. Critical elements in proving negligence include:

Duty of Care

Both drivers and pedestrians must exercise reasonable care to prevent harm to others on the road. Failure to uphold this duty can be considered negligence.

Breach of Duty

A breach occurs when a party fails to meet the standard of care expected in a given situation. For example, a driver speeding through a crosswalk or a pedestrian darting into traffic without looking may be considered to have breached their duty.


There must be a direct link between the breach of duty and the injuries sustained. Establishing that the negligent actions directly led to the pedestrian’s injuries is crucial.


Finally, the injured party must demonstrate the extent of the damages suffered due to the accident. This can include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

In addition to seeking guidance from a personal injury lawyer in Queens, there are several things you should do after your accident to ensure your health, well-being, and legal rights are protected.

What to Do After a Pedestrian Accident

After a pedestrian accident, you should take a few essential steps.  As a driver, the priority is to check on the well-being of the pedestrian and call for emergency help if needed. Stay at the scene and assist within your capacity.

Exchange information with the pedestrian involved, including contact details and insurance information. Documenting the incident by taking photos of the scene and any damages or injuries sustained is essential. Notify your insurance company as soon as possible about the accident.

As a pedestrian in a vehicle accident, seek medical attention immediately, even if you initially feel fine. Collect information from the driver, such as their name, license plate number, and insurance details. If there are witnesses present, try to obtain their contact information.

Report the incident to local authorities and ensure all necessary documentation is completed accurately. You should also consult a Queens pedestrian accident attorney to determine your legal options.

Filing a Personal Injury Claim after a Pedestrian Accident

After being injured in a pedestrian accident, victims can file a personal injury claim. This legal action can help you seek compensation for some of your damages. This includes compensation for:

  • Medical Expenses
  • Lost Wages
  • Rehabilitation Costs
  • Property Damage
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Emotional Distress
  • Loss of Consortium

Contact our personal injury lawyer in Queens to ensure your rights are protected.

Let Our Queens Pedestrian Accident Attorney Help

After your accident, our Queens pedestrian accident attorney at the Law Offices of Joseph J. Perrini III is here to help. Our legal advocates are dedicated to fighting for your rights and obtaining the compensation you deserve. Let us take care of the legal process so that you can focus on healing from your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation to see how we can help you with your case.

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