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How to File a Pedestrian Accident Lawsuit in New York

a Pedestrian is lying over the road after a car hit him
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Nobody wants to be involved in a car accident, especially as a pedestrian. Unfortunately, accidents happen and it is important to know what to do to protect your rights. If you were injured by a negligent driver while you were crossing the street or walking on the sidewalk, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. After the accident, the most important thing to do is to seek medical attention if you are hurt.

It is also very important to contact an experienced pedestrian accident attorney as soon as possible. If you notify an attorney about the accident right after it occurred, they can start gathering evidence immediately while it is still intact. This evidence can be very valuable in the future when you pursue compensation. Here are some very important steps you should take following a pedestrian accident.

6 Steps to File a Pedestrian Accident Lawsuit

Step 1: Call Your Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

Calling a pedestrian accident lawyer comes next after you have made sure you are not hurt. To help them better comprehend the case, you must provide your attorney with all of the accident’s specifics. Your attorney will attend the accident location to try to obtain as much evidence as is required, whether you are at the accident scene or in the hospital. They must assess the condition of the street. They would have to snap pictures rapidly if there was water or ice before any of these conditions disappear. Every detail is important and you want your lawyer to have as much evidence as possible. Your lawyer may even find some eyewitnesses and ask them for their contact information. A statement from a witness can help you in court. 

Step 2: Get All The Evidence Together

Photos and videos of the accident scene are not all the evidence you need. They are definitely very important but medical bills, medical reports, and medical test results are just as important. These documents will prove that your injuries were serious enough to require medical attention. Every expense that is related to the accident should be included with the rest of the evidence. This way your attorney will have proof of all the expenses you had to incur due to the mishap.

Step 3: Negotiating Settlement With Insurance Company

This is probably one of the hardest parts of a claim process. Insurance companies, like any other business, seek to make money. This means that they will not make things easy for you to recover compensation. Most of the time, insurance companies will make low offers to take advantage of the claimant’s anxiety, inexperience, or lack of understanding of their case’s worth. Fortunately, pedestrian accident attorneys have vast experience negotiating with insurance companies. They know their tactics and they can help you get the compensation you deserve. Most claims are settled outside of court through negotiation. Just keep in mind that negotiation can be a lengthy process until both parties reach an agreement. 

Step 4: Filing a Lawsuit In Court

New York is a no-fault state. This means that you are required to file a claim with the driver’s insurance company to recover compensation for your injuries before filing a lawsuit. However, it is possible to step out of the no-fault system if you suffered a “serious injury”. To meet the serious injury threshold you must prove that you suffered any of these injuries:

  • Dismemberment.
  • Significant disfigurement.
  • A fracture.
  • Loss of a fetus.
  • Permanent loss of the use of a body organ, member, function or system.
  • Permanent consequential limitation of the use of a body organ or member.
  • Significant limitation of the use of a body function or system.
  • Death
  • A medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents the injured party from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than ninety (90) days during the one hundred and eighty days (180) immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.

Or if your expenses are greater than $50,000.

If you do not meet the serious injury threshold, you are not allowed to file a lawsuit. 

If you meet any of the conditions mentioned, your attorney can initiate the lawsuit by filing a complaint with the court and the defendant. After serving the defendant they will have some time to respond to the complaint and then a hearing date will be set. 

Step 5: Discovery Process

During the discovery process, both parties will exchange information and evidence to support their claims. The attorney who is representing you will request information from the other party in the form of written questions. During the discovery phase, it is possible to take statements from the witnesses. These statements are taken under oath and they may be recorded to be used in court. Your attorney can also call other experts that may help provide some clarity about the incident. During the discovery process, both parties can negotiate to try to reach an agreement. In some cases, a mediator can meet with both parties to try to reach a fair agreement for both the plaintiff and the defendant.

Step 6: Going to Trial

If the case is not settled through negotiation, the last option is to go to trial. In a trial, both parties will show the evidence they have to the jury to support their claims. It may take several weeks for the jury to make a decision. If the plaintiff wins the case, they would not be able to pursue further compensation in the future. 

Lawyers reviewing a client's case
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Pedestrian Accident Statute of Limitation

Pedestrian accident victims have three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit if the liable party is a natural person or a private institution. If the other party is a government entity, the accident victim has to file a notice of claim within ninety days from the date of the accident and after the ninety days have passed they need to start the lawsuit within one year. In cases involving wrongful death, the estate can file a lawsuit within two years from the date of the accident. Three years may seem like a lot of time. However, it is advisable to start a lawsuit as soon as possible. It’s possible that the witnesses’ memories will fade, the evidence will disappear, and your injuries will not be taken as seriously as they should have been.

Greenberg & Stein Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

Greenberg and Stein P.C. is a law firm that is dedicated to helping people who have gotten injured due to someone else’s negligence. Our legal team has aided numerous New Yorkers to get the compensation they deserve for their injuries. Our pedestrian accident attorneys are ready to assist you. They will help you get the evidence necessary to build a solid case, negotiate with the insurance company and represent you in court if necessary. Contact us at 888-716-3843 to schedule a free consultation to review your case.