While Long Island roads are among the deadliest for bicyclists and pedestrians in New York State, few drivers involved in these fatal crashes face criminal charges, a data analysis by Newsday has found. An analysis of preliminary data from the Albany-based Institute for Traffic Management and Research shows at least 135 pedestrians and bicyclists were killed in fatal collisions in Nassau and Suffolk counties in 2019 and 2020. The two counties’ district attorneys have prosecuted 20 of the drivers according to their offices making a combined prosecution rate of about 15%.
Bar to Prosecute Cases Very High
The Newsday report points out that these low prosecution rates often reflect the high bar state law and judicial rulings have set to prove that drivers involved in fatal crashes committed crimes. Transportation safety advocates maintain officials should do more to curb fatal crashes on Long Island roadways by changing traffic laws, redesigning streets and by prosecuting drivers aggressively.
Nassau had the third-most pedestrian and bicyclist deaths of counties statewide in 2019, the latest year for which the complete data set is available, after Brooklyn and Queens. Suffolk was fourth. The data also showed that driver negligence (carelessness) or wrongdoing such as distracted driving, speeding and failure to yield the right of way were factors in nearly half of these fatal bicycle and pedestrian accidents in Nassau and Suffolk counties.
While New York State law charges drivers with aggravated vehicular homicide or vehicular manslaughter, those only apply to drivers who were under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Courts have required prosecutors who bring other charges against drivers such as criminally negligent (careless) homicide, manslaughter and reckless driving to prove higher levels of culpability to win convictions. Essentially, courts are making it more and more difficult to bring charges, prosecutors say.
Holding Parties Liable
While the burden of proof in criminal cases is on the prosecution and may be a heavy burden, that is not the case when it comes to personal injury law. Victims in pedestrian and bicycle accident cases or families that have lost loved ones in these tragic situations, can file a civil personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault parties, even if no criminal charges are filed.
The process and the burden of proof is different in criminal and civil cases. While the prosecutor must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in criminal cases, the plaintiff’s lawyer in a civil trial must show liability through a preponderance (majority) of the evidence. This means that if you can show the driver was negligent (careless) at the time of the accident, you will be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries, damages and losses.
Injured victims of speeding or reckless drivers can seek compensation from at-fault parties for damages including, but not limited to, medical expenses, lost wages and benefits, hospitalization, rehabilitation, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc. Families that have lost loved ones in pedestrian accidents can seek compensation for damages such as lost future income, medical and funeral costs, pain and suffering, etc.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, or if you have lost a loved one in an auto accident caused by a negligent (careless) driver, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you.
Pedestrian accident victims and their families should remember that they may be able to seek compensation for injuries or losses in collisions even if the victim was not walking in a marked crosswalk and even if the driver involved in collision was not charged. Our law firm recovered the full one million dollar insurance policy for a girl who was not in the crosswalk when a motor vehicle hit her.
For nearly 50 years, our skilled accident attorneys have established a proven track record of helping injured victims get fair compensation for their losses. Our law firm recently recovered $5,600,000 for a bicyclist who was hit by a van, and $2,550,000 for another victim of a truck accident, and $3,000,000 for a pedestrian who was hit by a car, and the full $1,000,000 insurance policy for a pedestrian who was hit by a truck, and $4,625,000 for a driver who was in a car and was hit by a van, and $2,500,000 for a man who fell through an improperly secured hole. Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury and/or medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
Other TOLL FREE phone numbers for us are:
1-800-RADIO-LAW, 1-888-WYPADEK, OR 1-800-LAS-LEYES
Please visit us at: www.WORK4YOULAW.com