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Tort recoveries for pedestrian accidents may be a deterrence

Pedestrians are unintended targets for New York City drivers who think that they have to drive faster, smarter and tougher than their competitors on the roads. This sometimes makes the city look like a bumper car game at a local amusement park. But games do not end in death, whereas careless and reckless operating of motor vehicles within the city has resulted in many pedestrian accidents and deaths.

Public transportation, including buses, maintenance vehicles and taxi cabs are generally in the spotlight for knocking down their fair share of pedestrians trying to cross the street in crosswalks that do not always deter improper driving. A good example is a recent accident on the Upper East Side involving a taxi driver whose vehicle ran over and killed a 50-year-old man on April 22 at about 9:30 p.m.  The cab driver had been making a turn onto the street where the man was crossing.

The circumstances described indicate possible negligence by the driver. He should have been making the turn slowly enough to see pedestrians in the crosswalk, and he should have had better control of the vehicle in order to bring it to a quick stop. The collision was so violent that the victim flew into the air and came down on the hood of the car; his body then slid down and went under the car, while the driver continued to run over the body.

One remedy to deter such incidents that is often overlooked by New York City officials and residents is the right of the decedent's estate to file a wrongful death claim in civil court for monetary damages. Such claims arising out of pedestrian accidents can demand reimbursement of medical expenses, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and pain and suffering where appropriate. In this case, the estate's claim for lost earning capacity for a 50-year-old man can be substantial. The knowledge of such consequences may be able to keep bus and taxi drivers from getting careless, especially where they may have to pay increased fees, penalties or a share of insurance costs in the process.

Source: CBS New York, "Man Struck, Killed By Taxi At Upper East Side Intersection", April 23, 2017

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