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Who pays after a hit-and-run accident injures or kills a pedestrian?

Crossing or walking along busy New York roads can be extremely hazardous. Our bodies are no match for two-ton vehicles that, even at low speeds, can cause traumatic and life-changing injuries. More disturbing are statistics showing double-digit percentage increases in pedestrian deaths in each of the last two years. The Empire State consistently ranks fourth in pedestrian deaths annually.

A common complicating factor in the recovery for victims and their families is motorists who flee the scene of an accident. Recently, an Albany man was struck and killed by an alleged drunk driver without a valid license who left the victim on the sidewalk without calling for an ambulance. The driver was eventually arrested and charged with several crimes.

Causes of pedestrian accidents

Pedestrian injuries and fatalities happen more frequently in urban areas. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lists some of the common reasons:

  • Three out of four accidents occur when a pedestrian is crossing the street
  • Drunk drivers cause nearly half of all fatal accidents
  • More pedestrians are injured by drivers turning left instead of right

Pedestrians can find themselves in harms way by jaywalking, having too much to drink or not using the sidewalk. But motorists are still responsible, especially if they are speeding, driving recklessly, being distracted, ignoring traffic lights and signs or excessively drinking.

Who pays if I am a pedestrian and am injured?

In the aftermath of a serious accident, you will need financial help fast. Medical expenses and lost wages can add up far faster than you can heal and get back to work. Also, the minimum level of auto insurance required in New York and purchased by many drivers is often insufficient to cover every loss.

If you are injured by a negligent driver in New York, that driver may be held responsible for your losses through a personal injury lawsuit. However, in a hit-and-run accident, law enforcement may not be able to find the driver. If this is the case, you may still have options.

This is why it is so important to contact a legal professional. Filing a lawsuit against the responsible person may help you recover those expenses as well as pain and suffering and other noneconomic damages.

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