Walking can be hazardous, especially in major metropolitan areas. Vehicular and foot traffic congestion are just a way of life in many big cities. Unfortunately, greater foot traffic means more pedestrians being hit by vehicles. When that happens, the injured walker can obtain benefits from the car driver’s insurance without having to prove fault.
Pedestrians get hit by motor vehicles for a variety of reasons. Some drivers are inattentive or careless, putting walkers in great peril by speeding, running red lights or ignoring crosswalks. Pedestrians may cause accidents by jaywalking, crossing against a light, crossing in the absence of a crosswalk or walking in the roadway. In some instances, both a driver and a pedestrian share responsibility for a collision.
While each party’s degree of fault is relevant in a traditional lawsuit, New York’s no-fault auto insurance law covers pedestrian injuries. This means that a pedestrian who’s been hit can recover medical expenses from their own personal injury protection (“PIP”) insurance or from the driver’s policy for medical bills and lost wages regardless of who was mostly to blame for the accident.
Vehicle liability insurers in New York are required to include PIP coverage in their policies. If the pedestrian who was hit has PIP insurance, he or she can recover from that policy even though they were not driving at the time of the accident. If the injured pedestrian has no PIP coverage, he or she may claim benefits from a household member’s PIP coverage. If the pedestrian and household members have no auto policies, the pedestrian can recover from the PIP provision of the driver’s policy.
In some cases, recovery from the other driver may be frustrated by that driver fleeing the scene — as in a hit and run — or illegally driving without insurance. However, other sources of recovery may be available, including uninsured/underinsured motorists (UM/UIM) coverage under the pedestrian’s policy or that of a household member.
PIP and other insurance benefits may not be adequate remedies. The minimum PIP insurance in New York is $50,000. However, in today’s environment, medical expenses can reach that minimum very quickly. If PIP coverage is insufficient because the pedestrian has suffered serious injuries, he or she may seek compensation from the driver in a lawsuit alleging fault. A qualified pedestrian accident lawyer can provide valuable advice and assistance in this type of litigation.
If you have been hit by a vehicle while walking, call Goldberg Sager & Associates in Brooklyn at ln::phone] or contact us online for a free initial consultation. We serve people in all five boroughs and throughout the New York metropolitan area, including Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk counties.