Pedestrians have virtually no protection from the dangers of traffic other than the law. Rules about sharing the road can reduce the likelihood of someone getting hit by a motor vehicle while walking to the store or starting out for an afternoon jog.
If every person out walking or jogging and every motorist perfectly followed traffic laws consistently, pedestrian crashes would occur less often. Unfortunately, such crashes are much more common than people may realize. In fact, in 2022, the number of fatal pedestrian crashes surged to the highest point in 40 years, about 20 pedestrian deaths each day on average.
There haven’t been this many reported pedestrian fatalities in the United States since 1981. Thousands of families must adjust to the unexpected loss of a loved one in a traffic collision on an annual basis. Many families hope to pursue justice against those responsible. Thankfully, there are ways those who are grieving can seek justice from the New York civil courts.
Wrongful death claims after fatal crashes
The law in New York allows those affected by the bad behavior of others to ask the courts for justice. The early death of an individual due to the negligence or illegal behavior of another party may provide the legal grounds necessary for a wrongful death lawsuit. Although New York law does require liability insurance, the average driver doesn’t have nearly enough insurance coverage to fully compensate surviving family members when someone dies. Not only can medical expenses soar far beyond what insurance would cover, but the surviving family members will also need to replace a lifetime of lost wages and household services.
Wrongful death lawsuits create financial consequences for individuals and businesses who cause the death of others in pedestrian collisions. They can also provide surviving family members with a very important form of closure. In cases where a crash did not meet the standards for criminal prosecution, having the courts declare one party responsible for the loss of a family member may give people a sense of justice and allow them to move forward with their lives.