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Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrian accidents in New York state are very common occurrences. Slips, trips, falls, knockdowns and hit-and-run accidents have become increasingly deadly. With over 100 million Americans choosing to walk as their preferred mode of travel, to work or social events, it is vital to understand pedestrian rights, regulated by both the federal law and the laws of the state of New York, in case they suffer injury or death.

As per Nadine Lemon, a Tri-State Transportation Campaign Policy Coordinator, “New York State still holds the dubious distinction of having the worst record in the nation for pedestrian fatalities”. While the New York State authorities claim only 8% of the overall traffic accidents involve pedestrians, their likelihood is greater to suffer serious injury or even death.

Pedestrians tend to fail to contact the police after they have been injured in an accident, thus, pedestrian accidents are also among the most unreported accidents. If you have been injured as a pedestrian, it is critical that you report the accident to the police, regardless of the extent of your injuries.

The most common causes of accidents are 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.

New York state pedestrians, in some situations, 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 allowing an injured pedestrian to receive damages minus the percentage of damages resulting from his or her 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 the duty. Causation in a motor vehicle accident implies that the plaintiff must prove a causal connection between the defendant’s behavior (his or her negligence in operating a motor vehicle) and the injury or death suffered by the plaintiff which constitutes the fourth element – harm.

The statutes of limitations (or the deadline by which a pedestrian accident lawsuit should be filed) should be closely observed.  In New York state, all accidents involving motor vehicles that result 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 one must file a Notice of Claim.


Claiming for compensation as an injured pedestrian is not as straightforward as it may seem. Bringing a lawsuit against a municipality, county, state or government body when accidents occur on a government-owned property is more complicated than 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 committed to getting the justice and compensation our clients deserve. In addition to 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 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 Avenue in a heavy rain storm.

- $950,000 verdict for an 11-year-old boy whose facial scarring from the accident made him turn to a life of crime 


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Don't Lose Your Rights!


We, at Gurfein Douglas, are here to provide you with answers to all questions about your legal rights regarding pedestrian accident claims in the state of New York. Protecting your rights is the essence of our job. We fight earnestly for our clients’ interests and have skills and experience necessary to protect your rights both inside and outside of the courtroom.

We will carefully review your case and give you a straightforward, honest assessment of it. Let our expertise and a proven track record of success speak for us. Our attorneys have extensive experience with pedestrian accident lawsuits. Because of this, we often get you the largest possible settlement before trial. Not pennies on a dollar, but a meaningful settlement! If a fair settlement can’t be reached, we are the medical malpractice advocates you want in the courtroom. You won’t have to pay any fees or expenses until we win.

Gurfein Douglas LLP — New York
11 Park Place, 11th Floor
New York City, NY 10007
Phone: (212) 406-1600
Toll-Free (866) 699-EDGE

Gurfein Douglas LLP — New Jersey
175 Rock Road, Bldg. 2
Glen Rock, NJ 07452
Phone: (201) 477-0094
Toll-Free (866) 699-EDGE

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