Everyone knows that you are supposed to look both ways before crossing the street. But that is not your only responsibility as a pedestrian. Even if you look both ways before stepping off a curb, and you are hit by a car, bus, or other vehicle while crossing the street, a jury may find that the accident was partially or in whole your fault.
The laws in New York are written to protect pedestrians, and to put a greater responsibility for roadway safety on drivers. In fact, the Vehicle and Traffic Law states that, "Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law to the contrary, every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any bicyclist, pedestrian or domestic animal upon any roadway and shall give warning by sounding a horn when necessary..."
The courts of New York have also continually placed the onus of safety on the operators of motor vehicles. "A motorist is negligent whenever he fails to look out for pedestrians at a crossing, or when he sees, and does not, so far as is in his power, avoid pedestrians." Linton v. Forman Family, Inc., 1961, 215 N.Y.S.2d 878. Indeed, in Shui-Kwan Lui v. Serrone, 103 AD3d 620, 621 (2nd Dept. 2013).
However, pedestrians also are responsible for safety. We all do things when crossing the street that not only put us in danger, but make us, at least in part, responsible for an accident. Who hasn't crossed a street mid-block to get to a Starbucks faster? Who hasn't crossed a street against the light when you don't see any cars coming on a rainy day? Who hasn't jay-walked through an intersection when traffic is light? Who hasn't gotten in on the driver's side of a taxi in traffic? While common place occurrences, these are all actions that not only put us in danger, but can reduce a driver's liability proportion after an accident.
By following the time-tested rules of the road, every pedestrian can enhance their own safety, and put the liability for any accident on the driver who hit them. You should always look both ways before entering the roadway. And always cross in the cross-walk.
Accidents do happen though, and at Louis Grandelli, P.C., we have obtained numerous significant recoveries for pedestrians who have been seriously injured due to a negligent driver of a car including, $1.4 Million for a woman who sustained serious neck and back injuries, and a $975,000 settlement for a delivery truck worker whose foot was run over by a garbage truck. Our firm has helped numerous other pedestrians, including children, that have been seriously injured after being struck by a car, and families of those who have had loved ones killed in pedestrian knock-down accidents. In these cases, we retain experienced investigators and experts to establish liability when it is required, and leave no stone unturned to assist us in proving your case.
If you or a loved one have been struck by a vehicle, please contact us to discuss your case.