“How much will my pedestrian accident settlement be?” is one of our client’s most common questions. The answer is: it depends. How much your settlement will be depends on a few things. We know this is frustrating when you’re facing a lot of medical bills or worried about missing more time at work.
Our New York City pedestrian accident lawyers have decades of combined experience properly valuing pedestrian accident cases. Today, they’re providing specifics about the average settlement for pedestrians hit by cars.
Factors influencing settlement amounts
The purpose of a pedestrian accident lawsuit is to restore you to the financial state you were in before the accident. This includes paying you back for all your financial losses, like:
- Emergency room treatment and hospital stays
- Physical therapy and surgery
- Covering lost wages from time missed at work
- Property damage, like a phone or watch that broke when you were struck
- Legal fees
The higher these actual damages are, the higher your settlement should be, to cover all of them. If you’re hurt to the point of permanent disability, your compensation will be higher, especially if you’re unable to work anymore, in any kind of job.
Your settlement award also includes payment for non-calculable losses, like pain and suffering from injuries and the psychological trauma of being struck by a car. Although you can’t put a dollar amount on these losses, they still have value to you. Non-economic losses are calculated as a percentage of your total economic losses.
Your case circumstances influence your settlement amount
How your accident happened will affect your settlement recovery. New York is a pure comparative negligence state for personal injury cases. This means that you, the plaintiff, can recover damages even if you contributed more than 50% of the fault for the accident.
Let’s say you were looking at your phone and crossed into the crosswalk when the “don’t walk” sign was flashing. A judge may determine you are 75% responsible for the accident through carelessness. This means your award will be reduced by 75%, or your share of the blame.
The average pedestrian accident injury settlement ranges from $15,000 to $75,000 for minor injuries like a neck strain or broken bone and up to $500,000 or even $1 million for more serious or permanent injuries like traumatic brain injury or spinal cord damage.
New York City pedestrian accident settlement stats
Although pedestrian fatalities have reached a 40-year high across the country, New York, by contrast, seems to be getting safer.
NYC’s Vision Zero, implemented in 2013, is an initiative to increase pedestrian accessibility and end traffic fatalities through camera enforcement of traffic laws. The year Vision Zero began, NYC recorded 184 pedestrian deaths; in 2021, there were 126, and in 2022, just 118.
- An average of 15,000 pedestrian injuries occur each year in New York City
- More than 3,000 pedestrians are admitted to the hospital annually
Punitive damages – what they mean for your case
One other thing that affects your total pedestrian accident settlement award – punitive damages.
Punitive damages are intended as a financial punishment for defendants whose actions and behavior constitute an exceptional disregard for the safety of others. They’re rarely part of an out-of-court settlement, although when your New York City personal injury attorney files your case, they may tack on punitive damages.
In a trial, your lawyer may show that the defendant was extremely reckless, like running a red light into a school crossing zone or drinking and driving. In cases where the other driver showed gross negligence, the judge may feel they need punishment for their actions and will add punitive damages to your award.
Punitive damages deter others who may be tempted to act recklessly, thus reducing the chances that another person will be harmed.
A skilled NYC pedestrian accident lawyer can help
Can you get a settlement from the driver that hit you without a lawyer? Yes, don’t be surprised to get a phone call from the driver’s insurance company soon after the accident. They may offer you what looks like a lot of money, hoping to settle your claim quickly for as little as possible.
An experienced New York City pedestrian accident attorney knows how much your case is worth, considering your current medical care cost and how much you may need to accommodate your changed abilities.
For example, you may need modifications in your home because of a new disability. Or, if your injuries mean you can’t work your current job, you may need vocational training to learn skills to get a job that accommodates your disability.