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The city of New York presents a significant risk to pedestrians due to its bustling environment. Despite the heavy traffic, many people travel by foot because it is an environmentally friendly means of transportation. However, it’s crucial to understand that pedestrians are much more vulnerable in the event of an accident as they are afforded less protection than those in vehicles. It’s a common misconception that the motorist is always at fault in pedestrian accidents. However, this is not always the case. Pedestrians are also expected to uphold reasonable care for their safety by adhering to traffic laws. Failure to do so may render them liable for accidents that occur. Please continue reading to learn how fault is determined for pedestrian accidents in New York and how a determined New York City Pedestrian Accident Attorney can help you fight for the just compensation you deserve. 

Who Can Be Liable for a Pedestrian Accident?

In New York, there is an alarming number of pedestrian accidents that occurs each year. Unfortunately, these accidents can happen for a wide range of reasons. However, the most common cause of pedestrian accidents is driver negligence. That said, drivers are often the first party examined when determining liability in pedestrian accidents.

As mentioned above, all pedestrians are expected to exercise reasonable care for their safety by following traffic laws, including obeying traffic signals and signs. In most cases, the fault lies with the driver. In New York, drivers are required to yield to anyone using a crosswalk. Therefore, when a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle in a crosswalk, determining fault is pretty cut and dry. It’s crucial to note that even if a crosswalk wasn’t present when a pedestrian was hit, they could still bear fault for the accident as pedestrians have the right of way when crossing the street at intersections.

Can a Pedestrian Be at Fault?

Sometimes, pedestrians can be held partially at fault for an accident. Pedestrians must pay attention even at intersections before entering a road, especially when there’s oncoming traffic. Pedestrians are prohibited from jaywalking, crossing the street outside a crosswalk, or crossing an intersection diagonally. Pedestrians must yield the right of way to vehicles before crossing a street outside a crosswalk. If they illegally walk outside a crossing area, failing to follow the rules of the road, they may be found partially at fault for an accident.

New York follows the comparative negligence rule when determining fault in a personal injury case. Essentially, this doctrine allows an injured plaintiff to recover compensation for their injuries even if they were partly responsible for the cause of the accident. This means even if pedestrians engage in reckless or careless behavior, they can recover compensation for their damages. However, their award will be reduced to reflect their degree of fault for the cause of the accident.

If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident due to negligence, please don’t hesitate to contact a talented attorney from the legal team at Swerling Law, who can help you investigate the cause of the accident to help you determine liability for the accident. Allow our firm to represent your interests today to maximize your chances of the best possible outcome.


To a man who was assaulted at a restaurant and sustained a traumatic brain injury.


Settlement to a barista who slipped and fell on a defective stairwell while working for Starbucks who sustained back injuries requiring multiple surgeries in 2012.


Settlement to a woman who was assaulted and sustained back/hip injuries in 2015.


To a man who sustained back injuries when he was a passenger in the car that rear ended another car.


Verdict to a high school student who was assaulted by a school dean during her lunch period dislocating her hip in 2014.

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