When a 3000 pound car slams into a pedestrian you may think it’s something of a “no-brainer” for the pedestrian to win their personal injury case. Yet nothing could be further from the truth.
While the driver is almost always at-fault, insurance companies work extremely hard to shift the liability back onto the pedestrian. When that doesn’t work, they have other tricks up their sleeve.
They’ll try to accuse you of breaking traffic laws or causing an unavoidable situation.
If you broke a traffic law then the driver isn’t at fault. So if the insurance company can prove that you were jaywalking, then they won’t have to pay. If you were walking on the freeway where pedestrians aren’t supposed to be, then the driver isn’t at fault.
There are also situations where the driver can’t be expected to look for you. If, for example, you dart into the middle of the street in the dead of night wearing all black, then the driver can’t be held liable.
Even if you were only partially at-fault, the insurance company is happier. This is because New York is a pure comparative fault state. Both parties can recover even if one party is 99% at-fault. Usually parties don’t counter-sue each other, and usually drivers don’t take any damage from hitting pedestrians. But your personal injury award can be lowered by the same percentage of fault the insurance company manages to saddle you with.
Victim blaming is common in pedestrian accidents. Plenty of media pieces blame e-scooter riders, e-bike riders, and pedestrians for their own deaths. These attitudes creep into the minds of insurance adjusters and juries. There are multiple stories, like this one. And NYC doesn’t do a lot to make streets safer.
They’ll try to downplay your injuries.
While they can’t do much about the direct cost of your medical bills, they can try to downplay the pain you’re in or the amount of impact those injuries have on your life. They do this to try to slash your pain and suffering award, which is more negotiable and subjective.
As your personal injury lawyer, RLF works to help you provide concrete evidence of your pain and life changes. This can help to counteract the insurance company tactics.
Many pedestrians start at a disadvantage.
In a car accident, two drivers are usually coherent enough to exchange insurance information, take pictures, and gather contact information from witnesses. A pedestrian is often unconscious, or so hurt that it’s almost impossible for them to move or speak. They have to be rushed to the ER.
That means that we need to move fast: we need to get an accident reconstructionist to the scene. We need to subpoena camera footage. We need to try to find and contact as many witnesses as possible.
When you’re a pedestrian, the very wisest thing you can do is to involve an attorney immediately.
Get help today.
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Meet Mr. Richman
SCOTT B. RICHMAN, ESQ.
Mr. Richman is the Managing Member and Founder of Richman Law Firm PLLC. In his role as Managing Member, Mr. Richman oversees the day-to-day operations of the firm and handles the litigation of the most complex legal matters across a vast array of practice areas and disciplines.