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Elderly woman hit by cab, succumbs to pedestrian injury

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The toll of pedestrians being mowed down on New York City's streets continued on the afternoon of May 9 with the occurrence of a fatal accident in the middle of 60th Street and Madison Avenue. A woman in her 70s succumbed to pedestrian injury after being hit by a cab while she crossed the street in the crosswalk. The cab, which was making a left turn, appears to have been operated in a negligent manner, and if so, would be civilly liable for damages to the woman's estate.

When making a turn onto another street that contains a crosswalk, the driver must be on the lookout for pedestrians crossing the street. Anytime, a vehicle strikes a pedestrian in plain view ahead on the road, the driver will likely be found to be negligent and liable, unless an emergency or highly extraordinary circumstances prevented stopping the vehicle in time. When the pedestrian is also appropriately crossing in a crosswalk, the driver faces an even higher standard of care to not strike the crossing pedestrian.

If the rules were otherwise, there would be no purpose of providing crosswalks for pedestrians to use in crossing roadways. Thus, in New York the driver of a vehicle must yield the right of way to a pedestrian crossing within a crosswalk, and the driver must slow down or stop as necessary. That rule may be trumped to some extent if the pedestrian is in the crosswalk in violation of signals instructing the pedestrian to wait.

The cab driver stayed at the scene and answered questions. The police have not charged him at this point. However, it appears that the driver may have violated the New York traffic law that requires him to slow down or stop when someone is in a crosswalk. If there was a violation, the cab's actions may have been negligence per se, or what is called negligence as a matter of law. Based solely on the facts reported and currently available, the driver and his employer are probably liable to compensate the decedent's estate for her losses from this fatal pedestrian injury.

Source: 7online.com, "Woman dies after being struck by cab on the Upper East Side", Renee Stoll, May 10, 2015

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