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Does New York Need a ‘Crash Victims Bill of Rights’?

Late last month, a seven year old Brooklyn boy was walking to school with his mother when a Jeep made an illegal right turn and ran him over in a crosswalk, killing the child. The boy’s death was the sixth New York City pedestrian death in five days and twenty-second of the year.

Two days earlier, a ten year old girl was struck and killed by a yellow city school bus at the intersection of Wortman Ave. and Crescent St. in Brooklyn. On February 6, a driver crashed into a woman near her Queens apartment. She died three days later from her injuries. In January, a man was fatally struck by an SUV driver while attempting to cross a Chinatown street. The incident occurred roughly one month after a deadly string of NYC crashes that claimed the lives of six pedestrians in three days.

While New York traffic fatalities have fallen significantly, from more than 700 in 1990 to 219 in 2019, the city still has a long way to go towards protecting pedestrians from motor vehicles. One advocacy group believes New York should be the first state to adopt a first-in-the-nation “Crash Victims Bill of Rights” that would provide financial assistance to traffic violence victims and their families.

Pedestrians hurt in a motor vehicle accident should know that they already have rights under New York’s no-fault insurance laws. In addition, they may be able to recover compensation by filing a car accident lawsuit. The Sanders Law Firm handles all injury claims on a contingency-fee basis, which means you pay nothing unless we recover money on your behalf. Receive a free case review.

Assembly Member Could Introduce Bill This Session

The so-called Crash Victims Bill of Rights was created by Families For Safe Streets, an organization started by the family members of people  killed in NYC traffic crashes. They say that crash victims are not entitled to the same benefits that crime victims receive, such as information on crash investigations from police, financial help for medical expenses and counseling, and the right to attend and give statements at crash-related hearings. Their proposal would establish protections for traffic victims similar to those covered by the federal Crime Victims Bill of Rights.

“I can’t tell you how many times I hear from family members, ‘Can you help me? I can’t afford to bury my child.’ And I have to tell them the only way to do it is to do a GoFundMe page,” said Families for Safe Streets’ Co-Founder Amy Cohen, whose twelve year old son was killed in traffic.

New York State Assembly Member Deborah Glick will carry the Assembly version of the bill, according to Streetsblog NYC. Glick stands behind a package of street safety legislation recently introduced following the deaths of six pedestrians in five days. The legislation, like the citywide Vision Zero initiative, is part of an ongoing effort to protect New Yorkers from traffic injuries and deaths.

How to Obtain Compensation for a Pedestrian Injury

Pedestrians always bear the worst of a collision with a car, but they fortunately have recourse beyond relying on a GoFundMe page or other forms of charity.

When a pedestrian is injured in a motor vehicle accident, their first recourse is New York’s no-fault insurance, which covers up to $50,000 of medical expenses and lost wages for up to three years—regardless of who was at fault. No-fault insurance also provides up to $2,000 for funeral bills.

Pedestrians who are struck by the driver of a motor vehicle are entitled to no-fault coverage from the driver’s insurance policy. If the driver does not have insurance or the accident was a hit-and-run, coverage may be available through the pedestrian’s own auto insurance, or from an insured member of their household. When no other insurance is available, a claim of last resort can be made through the New York State Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation (MVAIC).

Normally, New York’s no-fault system does not allow car accident lawsuits, but exceptions are made for serious injuries. To qualify for a lawsuit, you must prove that you have a qualifying injury, including death, disfigurement, fractures, dismemberment, the permanent loss of a body organ or body function, or significant limitation of the use of a body function or system for at least three out of the first six months after an accident.

Free Case Reviews for NYC Pedestrian Accident Victims

If you were hurt as a pedestrian in a vehicle accident, or you lost a loved one to a reckless driver, the injuries may be serious enough to allow you to sue the driver. Our team of NY car accident attorneys is well-versed in litigation involving New York no-fault auto insurance law and can advise you on how to meet lawsuit standards.

The Sanders Firm has served residents of Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island, and Long Island for more than 50 years. We offer complimentary consultations to help answer any questions you have, and once you become a client, you pay nothing unless and until we make a recovery on your behalf. Call us at 347.652.2711 or contact us to get started.

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