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The Rights of Partially At-Fault Pedestrians: Know Your Legal Stand in NY

 In Blog, Law

Fault in Brooklyn Pedestrian Accidents and Comparative Negligence

When a pedestrian accident occurs in the bustling streets of NY, determining fault is often more complex than a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. The State of New York operates under a concept known as ‘comparative negligence.’ This means both parties involved in an accident can potentially share the fault; the responsibility isn’t always squarely on one party.

As a pedestrian, you might believe that your minor infraction, such as crossing the road when the pedestrian signal was red, might prevent you from seeking damages. However, the legal landscape is more nuanced. Even if you bear some responsibility for the accident, you might still be entitled to compensation.

Understanding the laws of New York concerning pedestrian accidents is crucial to ensure you’re not deprived of rightful compensation. It’s equally vital to grasp the concept of ‘partial fault’ and how it influences potential lawsuit outcomes.

Understanding Comparative Negligence in NY

New York’s comparative negligence system allows injured parties, like pedestrians, to recover damages even if they were partially at fault. The catch is that your compensation will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to you. So, if you were found to be 20% responsible for the accident, any awarded damages would be reduced by that percentage.

Imagine Sarah, a pedestrian, was crossing a Brooklyn street against the light when a driver, speeding and distracted by their phone, struck her. In court, it’s determined Sarah was 30% at fault for the accident and the driver 70%. If Sarah’s damages amounted to $100,000, her recovery would be reduced by her fault percentage, awarding her $70,000.

It’s noteworthy to mention that New York doesn’t impose a threshold of fault. Meaning, even if you’re found 90% at fault, you can still recover 10% of your damages.

Factors That Influence Fault Determination

When determining fault, a series of factors come into play. In the context of a pedestrian accident, the behavior of both the pedestrian and the driver are scrutinized. Did the pedestrian heed traffic signals? Was the driver adhering to speed limits or distracted in any way?

Environmental factors can also be considered. For instance, if a streetlight was out in Brooklyn, NY, leading to decreased visibility, it might be taken into account. Moreover, witness accounts, video footage, police reports, and even expert testimonies can play pivotal roles in fault determination.

Each pedestrian accident is unique, and the specific circumstances surrounding the incident can significantly influence the fault percentage assigned to each party.

Steps to Take Following a Pedestrian Accident

Immediately after a pedestrian accident, ensure your safety and seek medical attention, even if injuries seem minor. Shock and adrenaline can mask the severity of injuries. Next, report the accident to the police, ensuring they document the scene accurately. This will prove invaluable if you decide to pursue a lawsuit.

Gather as much evidence as possible. Take photographs of the scene, any visible injuries, vehicle damages, and other relevant details. Secure witness accounts and their contact information. Furthermore, refrain from admitting fault at the scene or discussing specifics. Anything said can be used against you during legal proceedings.

Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney in NY can clarify your rights, potential fault percentage, and the viability of your case.

The Role of Insurance Companies

Insurance companies play a significant role in pedestrian accidents. Often, they aim to settle the claim as quickly and cheaply as possible. As a pedestrian, it’s vital to approach these companies with caution. They might try to pin more blame on you, reducing your compensation or denying your claim altogether.

It’s advisable not to sign any documents or give recorded statements to insurance adjusters without consulting an attorney. They possess the knowledge to navigate the intricate pathways of insurance claims, ensuring you aren’t unduly taken advantage of.

Remember, insurance companies operate to protect their interests, which might not align with your rightful compensation.

The Impact of Shared Fault on Compensation

As earlier discussed, the comparative negligence system in NY adjusts compensation based on fault. The financial implications can be significant. If you’re seeking damages for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, the final amount you receive will directly correlate with your fault percentage.

It’s crucial to comprehensively understand your injuries’ economic and non-economic value. An attorney can assist in calculating potential compensation, considering all nuances like future medical expenses or diminished earning capacity.

In pedestrian injury cases, the more you can prove the other party’s negligence, the higher your potential compensation.

Legal Representation: The Key to Fair Compensation

Legal proceedings can be daunting, especially those entangled with shared fault. A skilled attorney will understand the nuances of NY law and fiercely advocate for your rights. Their expertise can be instrumental in ensuring that the fault is distributed fairly and that you secure maximum compensation.

Furthermore, our attorneys can assist in gathering evidence, negotiating with insurance companies, and presenting a robust case in court if necessary. With the high stakes, legal representation becomes not just advisable but essential.

Common Misconceptions about Partial Fault in New York

Many pedestrians refrain from seeking legal action due to misconceptions surrounding partial fault. They believe they forfeit their right to sue if they bear any responsibility. This misconception can lead to potential victims being left without the compensation they deserve.

The truth is, even with partial fault, you might be entitled to significant compensation. The key is comprehending the specifics of the comparative negligence system in NY and being represented by a proficient attorney who can navigate its intricacies.

Pedestrian Safety Tips to Minimize Fault

While understanding your rights post-accident is vital, adopting safe pedestrian practices is equally crucial to reduce the chances of an accident. Adhering to traffic signals, using crosswalks, wearing visible clothing during nighttime, and avoiding distractions like smartphones can significantly reduce potential fault in the event of an accident.

By taking proactive measures and being aware of your surroundings, you safeguard yourself and position yourself favorably should an unfortunate incident occur.

Contact Irene Gabo Today and Seek What’s Rightfully Yours

In the bustling streets of NY, pedestrian accidents can happen even to the most cautious individuals. If you are in such a predicament, remember that being partially at fault does not strip you of your right to seek compensation. Understand the legal landscape, ensure you’re adequately represented, and, most importantly, don’t let misconceptions or insurance companies deter you from pursuing what’s rightfully yours.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian accident in NY, don’t navigate the complex legal waters alone. Reach out to the Law Office of Irene H. Gabo, P.C. at (800) 560-0214 and let our team champion your cause.