Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrian accidents in New York State are a very common occurrence. Slips, trips, falls, knockdowns and hit-and-run accidents have become increasingly deadly. Considering that over a 100 million Americans choose walking as their travel mode (whether for work or socially), it is absolutely vital for them to understand their pedestrian rights, regulated by both the federal law and the laws of the state of New York, in case they suffer injury or death.

According to the Tri-state Transportation Campaign Policy Coordinator Nadine Lemon, “New York State still holds the dubious distinction of having the worst record in the nation for pedestrian fatalities”. The New York State authorities claim that although only 8% of the overall traffic accidents involve pedestrians, they are much more likely to suffer serious injury or even death.

Pedestrian accidents are also one of the most unreported accidents because majority of pedestrians fail to contact the police after they have been injured in an accident. If you have been injured as a pedestrian, it is absolutely vital that you report the accident to the police, regardless of the extent of your injuries.

Pedestrian accidents usually involve snow, ice and other adverse weather conditions, wet or oily surfaces, obstructions in walking areas, potholes, cracked, broken and unleveled sidewalks, steps and street surfaces, poor lighting inside and outside of buildings, and actions caused by reckless drivers, cyclists, landlords, contractors, property owners, local and state authorities or any individual or group responsible for creating dangerous conditions for pedestrians.

Pedestrians are required to observe relevant traffic rules and safety laws like using the designated pedestrian crossing areas, obeying the ‘walk’ signal, not wearing reflective equipment at night, disturbing the usual traffic flow, observing the signs for closed or blocked sideways and footpaths, or not using clearly marked bicycle paths.

In certain cases, pedestrians living in the state of New York are entitled to compensation for their injuries even if they are partially to blame for the accident (like jaywalking). This is because New York State follows the comparative negligence system which means that an injured pedestrian can receive damages minus the percentage of damages resulting from his or hers fault.

If a pedestrian suffers an injury or is killed after being struck by a motor vehicle, he or she or their family members can obtain insurance compensation through the No-Fault system by giving specific information and filing relevant forms with proper No-Fault insurance company within thirty days from the date of the accident.

Furthermore, according to the Car Accident Law, the pedestrian has to prove the basic four elements - duty, breach, causation, and harm - in order to be eligible for compensation from the at-fault operator of a motor vehicle.
Duty refers to drivers being legally obligated to follow the traffic laws and operate their vehicles in a prudent manner (obeying the speed limits, using headlights, observing traffic signals and similar). Breach of duty involves proving the existence of actions contrary to those stated under duty. Causation in a motor vehicle accident implies that the plaintiff must prove a causal connection between the defendant’s behavior (his or hers negligence in operating a motor vehicle) and the injury or death suffered by the plaintiff which constitutes the fourth element – harm.
As always, the statutes of limitations (or the deadline by which a pedestrian accident lawsuit should be filed) should be closely observed.  In the state of New York, all accidents involving motor vehicles and resulting in personal injury, have a three-year-statute-of-limitations. However, if you were hit and injured by a municipal vehicle (a bus, for instance), the statute of limitations is 90 days after the accident during which time you need to file a Notice of Claim.


Claiming for compensation as an injured pedestrian is not as straightforward as it may seem at first glance. Bringing a lawsuit against a municipality, county, state or government bodies when accidents occur on government-owned property is more complicated that those involving a private person or company.

As seasoned pedestrian accident lawyers, Gurfein Douglas will do all the work for you – we will request a copy of the police report, deal with insurance companies on your behalf and make sure that required paperwork is filed on time.
We, at Gurfein Douglas, pride ourselves in being experienced, fastidious and not stopping until our clients get the justice and the compensation they deserve. Apart from law degrees, our firm’s principals Richard Gurfein and Preston Douglas also have degrees in engineering and biochemistry which gives them an edge over other pedestrian accident attorneys in New York.
At Gurfein Douglas you can rely on the scientific training of our two partners to uncover the often hidden technical details of your pedestrian accident lawsuit that the untrained eye might miss. Our pedestrian accident attorneys know how to make the most beneficial settlement offers and how to best prepare your case.


- $6.78 Million in a verdict in the case of Ernest Lewis against the New York City Transit Authority for being run over by the BX19 bus at 145th Street and Convent Avenue on November 19, 2005. The jury awarded the plaintiff $2,500,000.00 for past pain and suffering, $283,202.09 for past medical expenses and $4,000,000 over 10 years for future pain and suffering.
- $900,000 settlement for a 54 year old doorman who was struck by a police car as he crossed Second Ave in a heavy rain storm.
- $950,000 verdict for an 11 year old boy who’s facial scarring from the accident made him turn to a life of crime.

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