With over two million vehicles and more than 8.5 million people in New York, it’s no surprise that that there a lot of pedestrian-involved accidents in the city. Unfortunately, these accidents often result in more than just a broken leg or bruised body. In fact, all too often when pedestrians are hit, they end up dying.
If another party is at fault for the accident and subsequent death that followed, the victim’s family may be able to file a wrongful death suit.
Exactly how bad are things for pedestrians in the city?
A Deadly Year for New York Pedestrians
In New York City through August 8th of this year, there were 67 pedestrian deaths. This is a 15.5% increase from last year during the same time period. There doesn’t really seem to be a consistent pattern to the accidents, either – other than responsible parties often fleeing the scene.
Want a few examples?
On a recent Sunday morning, a 31-year-old man was hit and killed and left to lie in the street. The driver fled the scene without stopping to offer aid, and the victim remained there until another pedestrian happened to find him and call 911. Authorities were left with no leads and no suspect.
Another man was killed by a bicyclist, who also fled the scene. The 60-year-old man was crossing the street at 23rd Avenue and Sixth Street when the cyclist struck him in the bike lane. He suffered severe head trauma and died six days after the crash due to these injuries. Although the crash happened in broad daylight just before noon on July 31st, authorities are still without a suspect or any identifying information about the cyclist who killed this man.
Back in August, two more pedestrians were hit and killed in Brooklyn in the same week. First, a 66-year-old woman was struck shortly before 9:00 a.m. on a Monday morning. After the driver of the vehicle fled the scene, the victim was taken to a nearby hospital, where she died shortly thereafter. The second pedestrian was hit near Cortelyou and Rugby as he crossed the street around 9:30 p.m. In this case, the driver did stay at the scene, but the pedestrian still died as a result of his injuries.
Pedestrian-Involved Accidents and Wrongful Death Claims in NY
In many of these pedestrian-involved accidents, the person at-fault for the accident is not the victim who dies. Instead, they are due to a driver failing to appropriately yield to foot traffic.
According to the Department of Transportation, driver inattention caused 36% of accidents in which a pedestrian was seriously injured or killed. In these situations, the family of the deceased may be able to bring a wrongful death suit to court.
How does that work?
The State of New York allows the decedent’s spouse, children, or parents, to file a wrongful death suit. Additionally, an individual that is not the spouse, parent, or child of the deceased may file a claim if they are the personal representative for the decedent’s estate.
In order to file a wrongful death lawsuit, one must show that:
- the person did in fact die and that his or her death was caused by the negligence or wrongful conduct of another
- the negligence or wrongful conduct would qualify as the subject of a lawsuit where the decedent could have recovered damages had they not died
- there are survivors of the deceased victim who have suffered specific damages as a result of the individual’s death
Recoverable damages could include lost earnings, medical expenses, loss of financial support, and funeral and burial costs. Damages may also be recovered due to pain and suffering endured by the deceased as a result of the injury.
Although New York state law does not allow for the recovery of damages due to pain and suffering of the victim’s survivors, damages could be collected for the lost value of support and services the deceased provided to the family, as well as the value of parental care and guidance. Surviving children may also collect damages for lost inheritance.
For anyone considering filing a wrongful death claim, it’s important to note that this must be done within two years of the deceased person’s date of death. This statute of limitations applies even if the decedent’s only survivors are children. In this case, the legal guardian of the child(ren) would be expected to file a claim within the two-year period.
Deciding to File a Wrongful Death Claim in New York
Although a monetary reward can never bring back your loved one, it will help you deal with the costs of a funeral and medical expenses, as well as adjust financially to life without them.
If you’re considering filing a wrongful death claim, be sure that you meet the qualifications as discussed above. Not quite sure? Consult an experienced wrongful death lawyer.
Additionally, it is important you understand that this would be a civil case, and not a criminal one. Justice in these types of cases comes in the form of financial remuneration.
Finally, it could very well be a lengthy process, and certainly an emotional one, so be sure that you have adequate support.