A woman was run over by a dump truck while bicycling on a Lower East Side street earlier this month. According to reports of the November 15 accident, the truck crushed both legs of the victim, a fifty-year-old nurse.
She may have been pinned under the wheels for a time, and the injuries are so severe that she might lose a leg. She was fortunate in one respect, as a medical student witnessed the crash and was able to administer first aid immediately.
Driver Previously Suspended
The driver remained at the scene after the crash at Stanton Street and Ridge Street and was arrested when he was found to have been operating with a suspended license.
Driving with an invalid license—which broadly covers expired, suspended, revoked, and no license at all—is a serious problem. A few years back it was estimated that more than one in six fatal crashes were caused by invalid drivers. An analysis by AAA also found that in late-night crashes, drunk driving crashes, and hit-and-run crashes the chance of an invalid driver causing the crash was increased.
But these studies couldn’t get a handle on how many drivers are out there with invalid licenses. It’s difficult to pin down the total, but rough numbers suggest that at least one in eight drivers nationally is driving on a suspended, revoked, or expired license—or never earned a license to begin with.
Cyclist at Fault . . . Does It Matter?
News reports of the Stanton Street crash have noted that the cyclist may have been traveling in the wrong direction on a one-way street. Does that make any difference?
In some places it might. It depends on whether a state’s legal system uses contributory negligence or comparative negligence to determine fault.
A handful of states still use the legal doctrine of pure contributory negligence, which blocks an injured party from receiving any compensation if they were in any way responsible for the damage, even if their responsibility was tiny. For example, if you stepped off the curb into a crosswalk without looking both ways, even though you had the walk signal, and were then hit by a speeding driver who ran a red light while fleeing the scene of a crime, it’s possible (although not likely) that a court would find that you contributed to your injury by not checking the street.
States with less archaic legal codes allow victims to make a claim for damages even when they’re partially to blame. Using comparative negligence, most states allow victims to make claims as long as they’re judged to be 50 percent or less responsible, although the damage amount will be adjusted based on the assignment of blame.
New York (with eleven others) is a pure comparative negligence state. Here, an injured person can recover some fraction of the damage even if they were more responsible for it than anyone else. In theory, even if the victim is 99 percent responsible, a victim can still collect one percent of the damage amount from other parties.
New York Truck Accident Lawyer
Whether you’ve been the victim of a truck accident, a car accident, or a bus accident; whether you were another driver, a bicyclist, or a pedestrian; Greenstein & Milbauer, LLP understands all forms of motor vehicle accident law and we can help.
Our attorneys have years of experience helping the victims of truck accidents and other crashes, and we’re ready to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. Give us a call today at 1-800-VICTIM2 (842-8462) or contact us online through the form below to learn more.