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Lessons from the Case of a New York City Pedestrian Hit while Crossing the Street Without the Right-of-Way

A well-worn catch phrase that warns against the perils of making assumptions was originally brought into pop culture by Hollywood writer, producer, and director Jerry Belson, who included the “Never ASSUME” admonition in an episode of The Odd Couple entitled “My Strife in Court.” Your accident case can work like that. Never assume anything about your case, especially if it means assuming you don’t have a case. Doing so could mean hardship not in court but outside court as a result of potentially missing out on an award of damages to which the law says you are entitled. Always consult a New York injury attorney first.

Take, for example, the recent case of a pedestrian in New York City. George was crossing the street within the crosswalk when a vehicle driven by Emilio struck him. George, by his own admission, did not have the right-of-way when he attempted crossing the street and got hit.

Well, since Emilio had the right-of-way, and George didn’t, George clearly couldn’t have a case against Emilio for the damages he suffered, right? Wrong. Depending on the other facts of the case, it is entirely possible that, even though George didn’t have the right-of-way when he was crossing that street, he may still have a winning case at trial.

Crossing the street against the light (or without the right-of-way) is a violation of Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1112, and that is an impediment to your success, but it is not an automatic “showstopper.” Instead, the law looks at much more than just who did and who did not have the right-of-way. The law also looks at the relative positions of the driver and the pedestrian, whether the driver could have seen the pedestrian, and whether the collision was a result of the driver’s failure to exercise due care in attempting to avoid the accident.

One of the cases the Appellate Division cited in ruling for George and reversing the court’s decision in favor of Emilio was a 2015 case from the Bronx. In that case, like George’s, the pedestrian crossed the street in a manner that violated the Vehicle and Traffic Law. (The 2015 Bronx pedestrian crossed outside the crosswalk, as opposed to crossing against the light as George did.) The Appellate Division ruled for that pedestrian and allowed him to continue pursuing his case. The driver in that case testified that he saw the pedestrian far enough in advance that he had time to sound his car horn “and move his vehicle to the double line before reducing his speed by half.” That evidence was enough to go to trial on the question of whether the driver saw the pedestrian early enough so that his failure to avoid hitting the pedestrian demonstrated a failure of reasonable care.

George’s case was similar. While there was proof that George crossed without the right-of-way, there was also enough evidence to raise an issue regarding how soon Emilio saw George and whether his failure to avoid George was evidence of a lack of due care and proof of negligence that would trigger liability.

When you are injured in an auto accident in New York, your case may present you with many options and avenues for seeking recovery for the damages you’ve suffered. Your injury attorney can help you navigate the system and select a wise path forward. The knowledgeable Queens pedestrian accident attorneys at Newman, Anzalone & Newman have been helping injured people for many years pursue recovery for the harm they suffered. To schedule a free consultation with one of our qualified attorneys, contact us toll-free at 718-896-2700 or through our website.

More Blog Posts:

Overcoming Lost Records To Win Your New York Accident Case in Spite of Missing Evidence, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, June 16, 2017

New York City Pedestrian With Right of Way Was Entitled to Summary Judgment on Liability, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, April 12, 2017

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