According to a study developed by the New York City Department of Transportation, left turns cause over three times as many pedestrian and cyclist serious injuries and fatalities than right turns do. Furthermore, NYC City Hall reported that between 46 and 56 pedestrians and cyclists died and between 5,577 and 5,928 pedestrians and cyclists were injured in a recent five-month period due to New York City traffic.
The issue of left turn car accidents involving pedestrians in New York City is a huge one since the City has some of the heaviest foot traffic in the entire world. Mayor de Blasio has made reducing these types of car accidents a priority, but it’s still important for New Yorkers to understand how right of way works in NYC and when it’s time to call local auto accident lawyers because of injuries sustained because of a distracted or negligent driver.
Causes of Left Turn Car Accidents Involving Pedestrians
Unlawful turning is one of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents. This is often the result of drivers and pedestrians looking in different directions and because many drivers pay more attention to other vehicles in the intersection than pedestrians on the sidewalk. Meanwhile, pedestrians may mistakenly believe that a crosswalk will always protect them and only be looking straight ahead at their destination rather than more broadly at their surroundings. This phenomenon becomes even more problematic when a driver is lawfully turning left at a green light while a pedestrian is lawfully crossing the street at a walk light – and neither individual is certain who has the right of way.
How Right of Way Works in NYC
According to Section 1141 of the New York Vehicle & Traffic Law, “The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left within an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway shall yield the right of way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction which is within the intersection or so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.” With regard to pedestrians, Section 19-190 of the NYC Administrative Code, also known as Local Law 29, makes it a misdemeanor crime when a driver does not yield to pedestrians or cyclists and injures or kills a person in a crosswalk who has the right of way.
Establishing Negligence in Left Turn Collisions
Right of way is crucial for determining negligence car accidents involving left turn collisions with pedestrians. To establish a driver’s negligence in a left turn collision, auto accident attorneys may have to prove that the driver had a duty of reasonable care, that the driver breached this duty, that the driver caused the pedestrians’ injuries, and that the pedestrian suffered because of those injuries. Contributory negligence may be established if the driver was speeding or could have reasonably slowed down before approaching the pedestrian. Yet in some of these types of cases, judges and juries are asked to make determinations as to the percentages of fault that both the driver and the pedestrian had in causing a left turn car accident.
Common Pedestrian Injuries from Left Turn Collisions
Serious injuries and even death can result from a vehicle striking a pedestrian in a NYC intersection, injuries that are devastating and put pedestrians in the hospital for long periods of time. Many pedestrians involved in these types of car accidents experience broken legs and multiple bone fractures. Concussions and traumatic brain injuries are also common, as well as severe neck and spine injuries. In less severe accidents, contusions and lacerations that require medical treatment are prevalent.
Left Turn Collision Auto Accident Lawyers
If you or someone you love has was a pedestrian involved in a left turn collision with a vehicle, the Law Office of Jeffrey K. Kestenbaum can help. We are auto accident lawyers that specialize in pedestrian injury cases, and we provide dedicated, aggressive representation to ensure you receive the fair and full compensation you are entitled to.
Contact us 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 718-237-5586 or fill out our online form for a free case review. One simple call could result in helping you pay your accident-related medical bills and getting your life back on track after an accident.