Pedestrians in Manhattan may face mortal risks from traffic. A person walking across a street has virtually no protection against a truck, taxi, bus or sedan. These dangers increase when a driver is engaged in reckless or illegal behavior such as talking on a cell phone or texting a message, speeding, drunk driving, or ignoring crosswalks or traffic lights. This behavior can cause incalculable losses to the families of these victims.
These fatal accident risks are shared by walkers, joggers, hikers or individuals who were sitting or lying down. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reported that 4,743 pedestrians were killed and an estimated 76,000 suffered injuries in pedestrian-vehicle accidents in the United States in 2012. This equals a fatality every 2 hours and an injury every 7 minutes.
The NHTSA attributed single vehicle crashes to 90 percent of pedestrian deaths in 2012. Alcohol involvement by the driver or pedestrian is also blamed for 48 percent of crashes that led to pedestrian deaths. Significantly, the NHTSA reported no figures for pedestrian deaths occurring on private property such as parking lots and driveways.
The NHTSA reported 127 pedestrian deaths in New York City in 2012. The entire state suffered 297 of these fatalities that year.
Besides reckless or illegal driving, property defects can also cause these accidents. These include poor maintenance of parking lots and sidewalks, insufficient signs or traffic lights, ongoing construction and the unavailability of crosswalks at intersections. Vehicles should be limited to reasonable speed in pedestrian areas.
Families of pedestrians killed in an accident by a negligent or reckless driver or property owner may be able to obtain compensation for the death of a loved one in a wrongful death action. Legal assistance may help determine liability for these accidents and assure that the award of damages is reasonable. It is important to act quickly because New York law restricts the time that a lawsuit may be filed.
Source: National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, “Pedestrians,” Accessed on Sept. 15, 2014