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Few drivers charged in New York City pedestrian accidents

Among the United States' largest metropolitan areas, none rival New York City when it comes to the number of pedestrians and bicyclists. Unlike sprawling Los Angeles, where everyone drives and walkers look almost out of place, New York's multiple public transportation systems and concentrated business and retail districts make driving or owning a car less desirable for most people. Instead, many of the city's residents opt for a combination of walking, biking and public transportation.

This culture comes with a cost, however. With more people on the streets traveling on two wheels or by foot, there may be a higher number of bicycle and pedestrian accidents. Recently the statistics for 2012 were released, and for some boroughs, the numbers are somewhat dismal. According to preliminary data from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, 11,621 walkers and 3,844 bikers were injured in accidents last year. Another 155 pedestrians and cyclists lost their lives (including 136 pedestrians and 19 people on bikes).

Brooklyn turned out to have the highest number of injuries, with 5,377. Manhattan was next with 3,959, followed by Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island. The boroughs rank in the same order for the number of fatal pedestrian and cycling accidents.

Although 60 percent of vehicle-pedestrian and vehicle-bicyclist accidents are the result of illegal driving behavior -- such as driving under the influence or other negligent behavior -- a report of New York City accidents in 2012 found that only one sober driver who caused an accident with a pedestrian was charged with murder. In fact, no drivers were charged for any accidents that happened in December.

But just because a driver isn't hit with a criminal charge after causing an accident with a pedestrian doesn't mean he or she will always avoid legal trouble. In cases where negligent driving was involved, accident victims or their families need not wait for a criminal conviction to seek compensation for a serious injury or death. A civil lawsuit that proves a driver didn't exercise due care and subsequently caused a pedestrian's injuries can help the injured person recover financially from a devastating accident, even if the driver never faced criminal charges or so much as a citation.

Source: Gothamist, "Brooklyn Had The Most Pedestrian And Cyclist Fatalities in 2012," Feb. 2, 2013

  • Our firm represents New York and New Jersey pedestrians who have been injured in accidents with cars. To learn more about our practice, please visit our pedestrian accident page.

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