Can Pedestrians Sue for Injury in New York City if the Driver Did Not Stop Their Car?
As crowded as the streets of New York may seem, pedestrians outnumber drivers in the city. With so many people walking on crowded sidewalks and in a hurry to cross streets, the likelihood of a pedestrian being hit by a driver is unfortunately high.
If you have been hit and injured by a driver who did not stop, you may be able to sue the driver if their identity is discovered and your injury meets a statutory threshold. However, pedestrians in New York are prohibited from suing a driver who caused their injuries unless they suffer a “serious” injury, which is defined by law.
Our New York City car accident lawyers at The Carrion Law Firm can determine if your hit-and-run injury meets the legal standard and can pursue the financial compensation you are entitled to. Call us today at (718) 841-0083 for a free review of your case.
Serious Injuries in New York City Car Accident Lawsuits
Before suing for an injury following a car accident, you should seek compensation through insurance. New York has no-fault rules for automobile insurance, which means that who is at fault for the accident does not factor into coverage. An injured pedestrian must seek no-fault coverage from the driver’s insurance. This insurance may not cover all of the costs attributable to the accident, which is when you should consider filing a lawsuit against the driver.
N.Y. Ins. Law §5104(a) prohibits personal injury lawsuits, except in cases of serious injury. This means that in order to file a personal injury lawsuit (typically what is filed after a car accident), your injuries have to meet this statutory threshold. §5102(d) defines what a serious injury is by providing several categories, as listed below:
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent loss of a body part
- Permanent limitation of the use of a body part
- Significant limitation of the use of a body function or system
- Non-permanent injuries that disrupt daily activities for at least 90 days in the 180 days following the injury
The first few categories listed are fairly straightforward. However, the last few are more complex and confusing IF you want to sue, the facts surrounding your injury will need to be compared to the facts in other cases to figure out if your injury can be classified as serious. Our Manhattan car accident attorneys can evaluate your injury and compare it to other successful lawsuits to determine if it meets this statutory limit.
Suing For Hit and Run Pedestrian Accidents in New York City
In a city as crowded as New York, it is no surprise that there are many accidents involving pedestrians. Drivers in a rush may try to run a lingering yellow light and hit eager pedestrians who have already started to cross in a crosswalk. Many areas of New York have parking lanes between active traffic and the sidewalk, so getting into your parked car may set you on a collision course with a passing car and an inattentive driver. Unfortunately, not all drivers will stop to exchange information and see if the victim is hurt, potentially even resulting in hit and runs.
Before you sue a driver for hitting you as a pedestrian, you must know the driver’s identity. This can be challenging to ascertain in an accident where the driver does not stop. In New York City, criminal charges may be pursued against drivers who do not stop following an accident. The severity of the charges increases as the injuries suffered become more severe. Since criminal charges are possible, the police will also be motivated to identify the hit-and-run driver. Once the driver is known, you can file a lawsuit if your injuries are sufficiently serious.
As stated above, personal injury lawsuits in New York require you to suffer from a serious injury. Before you spend the time and money filing a lawsuit, it would be prudent to speak with an attorney to evaluate your injury and see if it fits the legal definition of serious. If you file a suit and your injury is not considered serious, your case will likely be thrown out. Our Long Island car accident attorneys can try to prevent this disappointment by reviewing your case prior to filing and comparing your injury to New York’s serious injury requirement.
What Are the Benefits of Suing After a Pedestrian Accident in New York City?
If your injury is serious enough for a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident in New York City, the lawsuit could provide you with a financial award that covers the full cost of your medical bills and compensate you for other harms endured.
If you were to accept a settlement from the other driver’s insurance company, it would likely only cover actual costs incurred by your injuries and a portion of lost wages. The true downside to insurance claims is that there may be a policy limit. If your injury costs exceed the policy limit, you will not be made whole. In a lawsuit, you can request all injury costs as economic damages. In cases of serious injuries that caused massive medical expenses and kept you out of work for months, a lawsuit could get you more money than an insurance settlement would.
Additionally, lawsuits allow car accident victims to request non-economic damages. Non-economic damages are intangible costs like pain and suffering, humiliation, and loss of companionship. These types of damages will not be covered in an insurance settlement. Depending on the severity of your injury and the extent that you suffered, non-economic damages could total much more than your economic damages. The financial upside of filing a lawsuit after a car accident can be massive, but only if your case is feasible. Our Queens car accident lawyers can talk to you about your case to see if a lawsuit is the right path for you.
Call Our New York Personal Injury Lawyers Today
Getting hit by a driver in New York is a traumatic experience and can create massive financial costs. The Long Island Person Injury Lawyers at The Carrion Law Firm can provide a free case review to determine if a lawsuit is appropriate for your situation. Call us today at (718) 841-0083.