Better urban planning, stronger enforcement and automobile safety features have helped reduce the numbers of deaths in car accidents over the decades, but New York has struggled to protect pedestrians, the most vulnerable people who use our streets.

According to the New York Department of Health, there are an average of 312 fatal auto-pedestrian accidents every year in our state. This number has remained fairly consistent for many years, although New York City has seen an alarming rise in pedestrian fatalities over the past decade.

The figures for non-fatal pedestrian accidents are alarming, as well. According to the Health Department, about 3,027 people are hospitalized following auto-pedestrian accidents every year.

The victims of fatal pedestrian accidents are most likely to be men aged 65 and older. Those hospitalized are more likely to be younger.

The injuries in a car-pedestrian accident are often severe. Many pedestrians who survive such an accident are permanently disabled.

When a pedestrian is injured by a negligent driver, the injured can hold the driver liable for damages. These damages can include medical expenses, lost wages and less tangible effects such as pain and suffering. In the case of a fatal accident, the victim’s family members may make a claim for compensation for their damages, including funeral expenses and the loss of their loved one’s income.

Those injured in pedestrian accidents should talk to an attorney soon after their injury. A lawyer with experience in personal injury can advise them on their legal options and how the law will likely apply to the unique facts of their accident. They can stand up to insurance companies and other powerful opponents to fight for their clients to get all the compensation they need and deserve.