Were You Hurt in a Pedestrian Accident?
Get an experienced attorney on your side right away
Buffalo is a highly walkable city, and when you’re getting around on foot, you should be able to get where you’re going safely. Too many drivers don’t share the road with pedestrians, though, and the consequences can be devastating. If you were hit by a car, whether on a main road like Niagara Falls Boulevard or a residential side street, you have legal rights under New York law. We can help.
The Law Offices of James Morris has extensive experience helping injured pedestrians recover in Buffalo and throughout western New York. If you’ve been injured, don’t go up against the insurance company alone. Discuss your legal options with an experienced Buffalo pedestrian accident lawyer in a free consultation.
What to do if you’re hit by a car in Buffalo
There are a few steps you should take immediately after a pedestrian accident in Buffalo:
- Remain at the scene and call 911. Wait for medical assistance, the Buffalo Police, or other law enforcement to arrive.
- If you are healthy enough to do so, get contact information and insurance information from the driver who hit you.
- If the driver flees the scene, get as much information as you can (vehicle color, make and model, license plate, etc.) and let the police do the rest.
- If it is safe to do so, take pictures of the scene and any visible injuries.
- Get the names and contact information for witnesses who saw your accident.
- See a doctor as soon as possible, whether at a local hospital like ECMC Hospital, an urgent care center, or your primary care doctor. Do this even if you don’t think your injuries are serious – you may have a hidden or delayed injury. Your health should always come first.
- Contact a pedestrian accident attorney as soon as possible, ideally before you talk to the insurance company.
How New York’s “no-fault” system works for pedestrians
New York uses a no-fault system for car accidents, and that includes accidents involving a motor vehicle and a pedestrian. If you were hit by a car, truck, or motorcycle, you can file a no-fault claim:
- Typically, you can file with the insurance policy for the vehicle that hit you.
- If the vehicle that hit you was uninsured or unknown (i.e., a hit and run), you can file a claim with the policy that covers you (your own insurance or a household family member’s insurance).
- If you are not covered under any policy (e.g., you were hit by an uninsured driver and no one in your household has a car), then you can file a claim with the New York Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation (MVAIC), a state agency.
No-fault insurance pays for your medical expenses, 80% of your lost wages (up to $2,000 a month), and $25 a day in reimbursement for other accident-related expenses like transportation or childcare, up to the applicable policy limit. To get compensation above and beyond what no-fault pays for, you must file a third-party claim or lawsuit with the at-fault driver’s liability insurance.
In New York, to file a third-party claim or a civil lawsuit, you need to have a “serious injury” – a broken bone, a disfiguring or disabling injury, loss of a fetus, or any injury that made you unable to perform your daily activities for at least 90 of the 180 days following the accident. When a car hits a pedestrian’s unprotected body, serious injuries are the rule, not the exception, so this usually isn’t a high bar to clear. What can be more difficult is proving that the motorist was at fault for the accident.
We hold negligent drivers accountable
Pedestrians are exceptionally vulnerable because they don’t have the enclosed body of a vehicle protecting them. They are also smaller and quieter than cars, and motorists often overlook them. For instance, a distracted driver may fail to notice a pedestrian entering a crosswalk in their peripheral vision, and the closer the driver gets to the crosswalk, the narrower their visual cone becomes – meaning they may not see the pedestrian at all until it’s too late to stop.
Drunk drivers and fatigued drivers also cause pedestrian accidents. So do reckless and aggressive drivers: they drive too fast in areas with heavy pedestrian traffic and refuse to yield the right of way to pedestrians legally crossing the street.
Pedestrians, too, have a responsibility to share the road, but the greater responsibility falls on the operator of a vehicle weighing thousands of pounds. When motorists fail to meet those responsibilities, lives can be permanently changed. We fight hard to hold them accountable.
Let our legal team be your voice throughout the process
Holding a negligent driver accountable for a pedestrian accident can be a long and involved process. The insurance companies know that these are high-stakes cases because of the severity of the injuries sustained. Their goal is to protect their bottom line, and they will put their most experienced attorneys and adjusters on the case. They may dispute the cause of the accident or even try to convince you that it was your fault. They may ask for burdensome amounts of paperwork, or pressure you to accept a “lowball” settlement offer before the full cost of your injuries becomes clear.
We have the resources, experience, and legal knowledge needed to fight back. We will investigate your accident and look for the evidence that the driver who hit you was at fault. We talk to witnesses, review physical evidence, and cross-reference information to reconstruct what happened. Just as importantly, we will listen to your story and seek to understand the full effect your injuries have had on your health and quality of life. Our job is to pursue the full compensation you need for the long-term cost of the injury – not just the immediate medical treatment, but future procedures, lost wages, and other costs.
Often, we’re able to resolve pedestrian accident cases through a negotiated settlement with the insurance company, but we are always prepared to go to trial if that’s what it takes to get a fair outcome for our clients. We’ve been winning cases in western New York for decades, and we know what it takes to win: thorough preparation, experience, and a hard-hitting, no-nonsense approach.
Talk to an experienced pedestrian accident attorney today
If you’re worried about the cost of hiring an attorney, don’t be. We represent injured pedestrians on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay us a cent out of pocket. If we win your case, our fee is a percentage of the money we recover on your behalf; if we don’t win, we don’t get paid at all. In other words, you have nothing to lose and potentially much to gain.
The key is to act quickly so that we can start building your case before evidence disappears and important legal deadlines expire. The road to recovery is long, but we are with you every step of the way. Contact us today to discuss your legal options with an experienced Buffalo pedestrian accident lawyer.