Sometimes, your injury case may be something that is obviously strong. All facts seem to point in your favor. However, what should you do if your case isn’t like that? What if you were hit crossing outside the crosswalk or crossing without the right of way? What if a police report says that you were hit because you weren’t paying attention? Should you just forego pursuing your case? No. You should still reach out promptly to an experienced New York car accident lawyer about your case. Depending on the other facts of your case, you may still be entitled to recover. New York is a comparative negligence state, which means that your recovery may be reduced by your percentage of fault however not necessarily eliminated.
One case from Manhattan involved a pedestrian who avoided summary judgment even though she was hit while crossing the street outside the crosswalk. The plaintiff, Jaspreet, had taken the subway to Herald Square to go shopping. Upon exiting at 34th and Broadway, she visited an H&M clothing store. After that, she decided to visit Forever 21. To get there, though, she had to cross 34th Street. The traffic was allegedly stopped, and the woman began crossing the street, even though she was not in the crosswalk. Before she reached the other side, a Metropolitan Transit Authority Access-a-Ride vehicle hit her, injuring her.
Some of the facts in Jaspreet’s case were potentially harmful to her case. It was undisputed that she had crossed the street outside the crosswalk. A police accident report described the incident this way: “Pedestrian was not paying attention and ran into Bus while trying to cross street in the middle of the block.”
Whether yours is a pedestrian case or a vehicle collision, circumstances like these may make it easy to give up. This case proves that isn’t the right approach. Despite these unfavorable facts, this pedestrian was able to defeat the MTA’s request for summary judgment and, as a result, take her case to trial.
The fact that this pedestrian wasn’t inside the crosswalk does not, under the law, mean that the driver who hit her is automatically 100% not liable. As the judge in the case explained it, the plaintiff’s positioning outside the crosswalk was only something that influenced the determination of the level of Jaspreet’s comparative fault at trial; it was not something that barred a jury from finding the bus driver liable. Even when a pedestrian is in the road outside the crosswalk, New York law requires drivers to “exercise due care to avoid colliding” with pedestrians.
In this case, the pedestrian had her testimony plus the testimony of another alleged eyewitness, who both testified that the traffic on 34th Street was stopped (due to a red light) when the pedestrian attempted to cross. This, plus the plaintiff’s other proof, was enough to persuade the trial judge that there were many disputed issues of fact (including whether the light was red or green, whether or not the plaintiff suddenly stepped in front of the bus, and whether or not the driver had ample time to see and avoid the pedestrian), all of which would need to be resolved through a trial.
Whether your case looks very strong or unnervingly weak to you, it still pays to have it analyzed by an experienced New York injury lawyer. A knowledgeable attorney may be able to spot options for success even in a case that might seem too weak. The New York City car accident attorneys at the law offices of Oresky & Associates, PLLC. have spent many years working hard to represent pedestrians and other injured people throughout the New York metro area, including in Westchester County and on Long Island. Call us to find out how we can help you.
For a free case evaluation, contact us online or call our office at 718-993-9999. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
More Blog Posts: