Manhattan Case Clarifies Law Where Pedestrian Struck By Left Turning Car
Written By: Rheingold, Valet, Rheingold, Ruffo & Giuffra LLP
As a New York litigation firm who aggressively litigates cases on behalf of injured pedestrians, we wanted to educate people about court cases which affect their rights. Left turns are eminently hazardous as both the driver and a pedestrian crossing the street, may have control signals indicating it is safe for them to drive/walk in the same place. Of course, the pedestrian has the right of way, but the pedestrian cannot just sacrifice himself. The Appellate Court for Manhattan issued a Decision that will help clarify driver and pedestrian obligations in this scenario.
The Court found in Hines v. NYCTA, 2013 NY Slip Op 08527 (December 24, 2013) (http://www.nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2013/2013_08527.htm) that a driver is completely at fault where a pedestrian "looked both ways before entering the intersection and continued to look for traffic as she crossed the street, and that she could not have avoided the accident because she only noticed defendants' vehicle, which was moving quickly, a "split second" prior to being struck."
In Hines, it appears the Transit Authority's only challenge to the pedestrian's story was based on the position the pedestrian was in on the ground that the TA thought indicated the pedestrian had not been in the crosswalk. The Court indicated that such 'proof' was inadequate. This Decision has the strongest ramifications for similar matters where the driver does not sufficiently challenge the pedestrian's story, which in our experience, is rarely the case, and often times is the central battle in a pedestrian knockdown lawsuit.