Pedestrian-Motor Vehicle Accidents: What are Your Rights if You’ve Been Injured?

Earlier this week, Governor Cuomo announced a $15 million investment for improvements to Route 787 in Cohoes that will enhance safety while creating a pedestrian-friendly gateway to the city.

jeep driving on 787 ramp

This is an important step in helping make one of our busiest Capital Region roadways safer. And these improvements are desperately needed. On average, New Yorkers make more than 12,000 trips to the emergency room each year because of motor vehicle traffic-related pedestrian injuries.[1] Nationally, the number of injured pedestrians has increased nearly 15% in the past decade.[2]

If you’ve been the victim of a car crash while out walking, the impact can be devastating. But you do have rights, and you are not alone.

You are entitled to seek no-fault coverage and bodily injury compensation through the driver’s insurance company. New York state’s No-Fault Law allows for compensation to drivers, passengers, and pedestrians for basic economic loss up to $50,000. Legitimate expenses could include medical costs, lost wages, and all reasonable and necessary expenses incurred, up to $25 dollars per day. A no-fault claim must be filed within 30 days of the accident.

If the motorist has no insurance or inadequate coverage, you can turn to your own policy to submit a claim. If neither you nor anyone in your household has insurance, you may still be eligible in New York state for uninsured motorist protection from the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation (MVAIC).

Pedestrians crossing a city street

To pursue a lawsuit in New York state for non-economic loss (i.e., pain and suffering), because of injuries from a car accident, you must meet the New York State Insurance Law’s definition of a “serious injury.” A serious injury means a personal injury which results in the following:

  • death
  • dismemberment
  • significant disfigurement
  • a fracture
  • loss of a fetus
  • permanent loss or use of a body organ, member, function or system
  • permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member
  • significant limitation of use of a body function or system
  • a medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.

Regarding timeframes for filing a lawsuit, generally, the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit for a car accident is three years from the date of the accident. However, if a death occurs, the statute of limitations is two years. In addition, shorter times may be applicable if the vehicle that caused the accident is owned by a municipality or public authority.

If you have a serious injury, you have a right to sue the driver for the harms, losses and damages the driver has caused you. It is important to get a lawyer involved if the extent of the injuries is serious and the damages and expenses may exceed those typically covered by automatic protections within the law. LaMarche Safranko Law has experienced personal injury attorneys who understand the devastating impact a crash can have, and know how to help you. Contact us for a free consultation at (518) 982-0770 or online.

[1] New York State Department of Health

[2] National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

 

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