Pedestrian and Auto Accidents
The Law Firm of Dominick J. Robustelli has handled hundreds of pedestrian knockdown or bicycle victim cases involving negligent drivers of automobiles, taxi cabs, trucks and vans. A pedestrian or cyclist does not stand up against a motor vehicle when the drivers’ reckless acts of hitting a pedestrian or cyclist include excessive rate of speed; lack of attention; or failing to stop at a stop sign and/or traffic control device. Such accidents cause devastating injuries, dismemberment, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, lost limbs, devastating fractures, head injuries and death. It is in many of the pedestrian/cyclist cases, since the injuries are so severe or deadly, that the Law Firm of Dominick J. Robustelli & Associates, PLLC investigates all aspects of the accident including hit and run accidents; accident reconstruction; witness statements; obtaining insurance coverage to determine if it is adequate to compensate for devastating injuries or to find out there is no insurance coverage at all. When it is determined that there is not adequate insurance or no insurance coverage at all, The Law Firm of Dominick J. Robustelli & Associates, PLLC is experienced in handling Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist cases through an arbitration procedure with the injured parties’ insurance company. The victim can be compensated fully for their injuries above the limited policy of the wrongdoer who has hit them.
Many times pedestrian knockdowns or bicycle accidents are as a result of sun glare where the driver is blinded by the sun. They continue driving and are unable to see the pedestrian or bicyclist, and a collision occurs. Many times the police report will indicate if sun glare was involved. These accidents also occur when the auto makes a turn into a street and the pedestrian or bicyclist is already half way across the road. At this point, the pedestrian or bicyclist is a sitting duck and if the driver does not see them, a collision occurs.
A defense to these cases is that the pedestrian or bicyclist was not in the cross-walk. This fact goes to the comparative negligence of the injured party. The automobile driver still has the responsibility of seeing the pedestrian or bicyclist in the roadway.
All medical bills of the pedestrian or bicyclist are paid by the automobile that struck them through the driver’s no-fault policy. Our firm sues the driver for your pain and suffering, and the value of your injury.
There are times when the pedestrian, or bicyclist, are hit by a car that leaves the scene of the accident (hit and run accident). This leaves the injured party without anyone to sue and no no-fault benefits to cover their medical bills. These victims are left with two choices: The first choice is to go back to their own insurance policy, if they own a car, and put in a claim for uninsured motorist benefits. The victim has to prove contact was made (near miss doesn’t qualify), with the vehicle and the vehicle left the scene. At this point you have an uninsured motorist claim against the victim’s own insurance company up to the amount of uninsured motorist policy limit. (By law the minimum uninsured coverage if $25,000). We always advise our clients to keep (for such occasions) uninsured motorist coverage the same as their liability coverage. In this way, you protect yourself up to the amount that you cover people you may injure in an accident. The uninsured motorist proceeding is an arbitration procedure (not held in court) with your own insurance company. The second choice is for the unfortunate people who do not own a car and are injured in a hit and run accident. They must resort to the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation (MVAIC) which is an entity created by New York State that will pay your medical bills. The victim of the hit and run accident must get permission in the New York State Supreme Court to sue them before any bills will be paid. Then, unfortunately, the liability coverage is only $25,000 so even if your injuries exceed that amount, you will only receive up to the $25,000 coverage.
These cases can be very confusing and any accident victim should consult a personal injury attorney before talking to any insurance company, especially the wrong doer’s insurance company. His insurance company will attempt to make a quick settlement offer before you consult an attorney to low ball the case and get it settled without compensating the victim for the full value of the injury. So before you speak to an insurance company, please call our office at the White Plains office (914) 288-0800; the Monroe office (845) 782-9571; or the toll free number (800) 727-7084.