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Pedestrian accidents rack up an ominous toll in one day

Accidents tend to come in rashes, which is how it happened in New York City on Tuesday, March 7. Pedestrian accidents topped the police blotters that day with three pedestrians killed and one hospitalized in critical condition. The first event occurred in Brooklyn at about 6 a.m. when a car slammed into and killed a 71-year-old man who was crossing Greenpoint Street.

A fatal pedestrian accident followed in the Bronx at about 9 a.m. when a man operating an SUV hit and killed an 81-year-old woman who was crossing the street at E. Fordham Road. The 51-year-old operator made a left turn from Hughes Ave. onto E. Fordham Road when he struck the woman. Authorities charged him with failure to yield to a pedestrian and failure to use due care.

Later that day, a pickup truck hit and killed a woman in her 50s in Gerritsen Beach, police reported. After that, a taxi cab struck and injured an 87-year-old woman who was crossing at Grand Street. She was hospitalized in critical condition at Bellevue Hospital.

Each of these tragic mishaps may qualify for significant monetary damages. Where the victim is dead, his or her estate may file a wrongful death claim to collect monetary damages for the decedent's death. The victim who was hit and survived may make a personal injury claim. To prevail, the plaintiff must prove the operator's negligence in causing the accident. The required test is proof by a preponderance of the evidence of the defendant's negligence.

Where the New York City police have charged a driver with an improper turn and/or failure to yield to a pedestrian, the plaintiff has an easier case to prove negligence. The legal doctrine of negligence per se establishes liability if the operator is convicted of the violation. Otherwise, the preponderance of the evidence test would apply exclusively in pedestrian accidents, which is still a relatively liberal standard requiring only slightly more proof that the plaintiff's allegations are true than that they are not true.

Source: nydailynews.com, "Pedestrian-involved crashes across city leave 3 dead, 1 critical", John Annese, Andy Mai, and Graham Rayman, March 8, 2017