A recent hit-and-run accident on Ocean Parkway serves as a stark reminder of the ever-present dangers that pedestrians face on Brooklyn’s streets. At the intersection of Avenue M, a Tesla driver lost control of his vehicle at high speed, causing it to jump up onto the sidewalk where it struck a 76-year-old pedestrian. The victim later succumbed to severe head and torso trauma. The Tesla driver continued on and collided with a traffic pole, a parked motorcycle and a bench, hitting another pedestrian who sustained leg injuries.
The June 7, 2023 incident was the latest in string of traffic accidents on Ocean Parkway over the prior six months, which led to several injuries and to one other fatality. Pedestrians are particularly vulnerable to being hit on city streets because they have so little time to react and get out of the way of a vehicle, especially one that is out of control and/or traveling at high speeds. What’s more, they have no protection against an impact, so an injury often becomes life-threatening.
When a driver violates traffic laws and hits a pedestrian, he or she is guilty of “negligence per se.” That means that the victim — or the surviving family of a fatal victim — has the right to recover money damages from the driver without having to prove actual negligence. However, recovery requires identifying the vehicle and the driver. Following an accident, injured pedestrians or their family members should take the following steps to protect their legal rights:
- Preserve evidence — If possible, take photos or videos of the accident scene, capturing relevant details such as vehicle damage, other damage, road conditions and the driver’s condition if he or she has not left the scene. Additionally, gather contact information from anyone who witnessed the accident and who may be able to identify the vehicle.
- Call 911 — Contact the police and ask for emergency medical response. Give the police officer a detailed account of the incident. Ask the officer how to obtain a copy of his or her report, which will be essential for insurance claims and for future legal actions.
- Seek medical attention — It is vital to seek medical attention promptly, not only to get the treatment and evaluation you need but also to document your injuries with medical records.
- Consult with an experienced attorney — You need skilled professional assistance in pursuing the financial compensation to which you are entitled, including medical bills, lost wages and other resulting losses.
In cases where a fatality occurs, the family member of the deceased may pursue a wrongful death action, which can make the responsible driver pay compensation to the survivors.
Goldberg, Sager & Associates in Brooklyn has experience representing victims of pedestrian accidents throughout New York City, as well as family members in cases of fatalities. Contact us online or call 718-514-9516 for a free initial consultation.