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New York Wheelchair Injury Compensation Amounts

New York Wheelchair Injury Compensation Amounts

Although all New York City pedestrians should constantly scan their surroundings and the sidewalk and street surfaces they’re crossing, people traveling in wheelchairs must be even more vigilant. If they even briefly fail to keep checking traffic signs and signals, they’re far more likely to get hit while trying to cross busy streets or congested intersections.

And if they are struck and injured, these disabled New Yorkers often face greater hurdles to receiving fair settlement or compensation amounts. For example, if you’ve been hurt badly in a wheelchair accident, recovering the lower wages often paid to the disabled may not go very far in helping you quickly regain the better health and productivity you had before your injuries.

Every effort will still be made to win as complete a compensation package as possible

Besides seeking full recovery for all your past and future medical expenses, we will also fight hard to win a generous pain and suffering amount, as well as monies owed for loss of consortium and other accident-related sums lost.

Further information will now be presented about the unique lawsuit recovery issues faced by disabled wheelchair users – and how we try to overcome them while settling cases or taking them to trial. However, before addressing those topics, this article will briefly review some of the key facts and statistics about America’s disabled population.

Far more Americans daily struggle with physical limitations than most people realize

At present, roughly 42 million, non-institutionalized Americans must plan their daily lives around various disabilities. These can include visual, hearing, mobility, cognitive and other limitations. Stated differently, close to thirteen percent (13%) of our country’s population have these types of special needs. And while assistive device estimates can vary, about five million disabled Americans require the regular use of a wheelchair.

Sadly, these same Americans are more likely to be hurt in motor vehicle accidents than nondisabled pedestrians. And although the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 has helped improve the lives of many disabled people, they must often cope with added problems in securing safe and adequate housing, reliable transportation, and educational and training opportunities. When a careless driver hits one of these hardworking citizens, it can take them far longer than others to recover the quality of life they once knew.

What additional statistics reveal about America’s wheelchair users & their accidents

  • Wheelchair accident victims often require longer treatment periods for some of their injuries. The CDC says this is true because unlike the nondisabled population, wheelchair users are far more likely to be obese, have a smoking problem, and ongoing struggles with either diabetes or heart conditions.
  • Nearly half of all fatal wheelchair collisions occur at intersections
  • When sidewalk surfaces are not promptly repaired, wheelchair users are often forced to travel down poorly paved roads and streets — greatly increasing their chances of being hit or killed by passing motor vehicle owners.
  • Men riding in wheelchairs are five times more likely to die in collisions than women using wheelchairs (this fact is especially true for men over the age of 50).
  • Wheelchair users have about a 36% higher chance of dying in a collision than those who do not require assistive transportation devices.
  • As might be obvious, older Americans are much more likely to be wheelchair users since

they usually have far greater chances of having serious physical disabilities.

  • Wheelchair accidents often lead to major repair headaches. Frequently, the disabled must wait many months to get their damaged wheelchairs properly repaired. While rentals can be obtained, they may not be fully affordable – or they may not offer all the same, special features already understood and required by the injured user.
  • Too many wheelchair accidents involve the user’s own caregivers. Emergency room staff see too many patients who’ve incurred their serious injuries because a family member or hired caregiver improperly moved the wheelchair — causing the rider to fall out. Better training must be sought and provided to all potential helpers. In many of these cases, the injuries are caused by the misuse of a wheelchair vehicle entry ramp or lift.

Some wheelchair accident defenses can decrease plaintiff settlement amounts

Fortunately, New York is one of 13 states that follow a pure comparative negligence law. This means that a New York plaintiff can usually recover damages from a negligent defendant without regard to the degree of fault attributed to the plaintiff. Of course, cases that provide plenty of evidence showing that the defendant was solely – or mainly — at fault offer the best chances for a plaintiff to receive a substantial settlement amount or jury verdict.

  • A comparative negligence argument. These types of defenses can take many forms. For example, the defendant may claim that the plaintiff crossed the street against a red light – or failed to use a safe, nearby crosswalk. Likewise, the plaintiff may be told that he should have worn brighter or reflective clothing so he could have been more readily visible to all drivers. In other cases, the defendant may claim that the wheelchair user should have used the nearby sidewalk instead of being out in the street. Our accident investigation files may contain photos that can help refute this type of defense.
  • Failure to request proper assistance. While all adults have the right to travel on their own, a defendant might assert that the wheelchair-bound plaintiff should have requested help from a traffic cop or stranger while trying to cross a busy intersection under construction. Although this is not required, some disabled people do choose to carry preprinted cards indicating their need for special help in dangerous situations.
  • Poor maintenance of the wheelchair played a direct role in causing the accident. While this is unlikely to succeed, it could if witnesses saw the wheelchair-bound individual try to apply their brakes, only to see them fail.
  • Failure to avoid crossing dangerous sidewalk or roadway areas. While riding in a wheelchair, it’s important to constantly keep looking for broken sidewalk slabs, uneven street surfaces — or piled up trash or other large forms of debris.
  • The plaintiff was distracted because he was trying to walk a dog while also crossing the street. A defendant might even try to fault the injured person in the wheelchair if she was wearing headphones or otherwise not paying immediate attention to her environment.

Key wheelchair product liability issues that can directly affect settlement amounts

If your accident was partially due to a malfunctioning wheelchair, you may not only have a cause of action against the party who struck you with their car or truck — you may also be able to recover damages from the wheelchair manufacturer. Here are the four basic grounds or arguments that wheelchair product liability claims are often based upon.

  1. We may be able to claim that the wheelchair’s construction or composition was unreasonably dangerous, based on established rules or regulations.
  2. We might also be able to prove that the wheelchair’s basic design was unreasonably


  1. Our firm may be able to provide evidence that when sold, the wheelchair came with inadequate warnings – rendering the product unreasonably dangerous.
  2. Finally, our firm may be able to prove that the wheelchair failed to conform to the manufacturer’s express warranty – thereby creating an unreasonable or dangerous risk for you as the purchaser or user.

In some wheelchair accident cases, a separate products liability claim can prove highly successful and help the plaintiff win a large damages award from the manufacturer or designer. However, in a small percentage of cases — especially if the wheelchair was badly damaged during the collision – or dragged under a vehicle for a long distance – there may not be adequate evidence to support the claim.

What compensation can you expect in wheelchair injury cases?

As is true in most personal injury accident cases, the main controlling factor involves the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries and the various types of surgeries or treatments that had to be obtained during the recovery process. Our wheelchair accident victims frequently suffer one or more of the following types of physical harm.

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Severe cuts, lacerations, and skin abrasions
  • Spinal cord injuries (SCIs)
  • Amputation of limbs or digits
  • Fractured and broken bones
  • Internal organ damage
  • Crush injuries
  • Soft tissue damage
  • Painful and varied fall injuries directly due to the improper use of vehicle ramps and lifts. While these types of accidents can occur when using forms of public transit, they’re much more common when wheelchair users are trying to enter or exit private vehicles.
  • Wrongful death

Specific wheelchair accident injury compensation amounts

Personal injury (PI) experts often claim that the average PI settlement amount is about $75,000.00.  However, as noted above, nearly everything depends on the extent of the personal harm you’ve suffered, the various surgeries and treatments you’ve had to undergo — and whether you’ll just be briefly sidelined by your injuries – or permanently and totally disabled. Yet, there may always be that very rare plaintiff who is awarded over a million dollars – most likely because some form of extreme negligence was involved.

Some legal scholars even group injuries into different tiers, indicating that plaintiffs who suffer permanent bodily disfigurement may be able to win the highest level of compensation – along with wheelchair accident survivors who must forever live with traumatic brain or spinal cord injuries. However, falling into this category is rarely a true blessing for anyone.

Your New York City wheelchair accident attorney can usually provide you with a reasonable, or ballpark estimate of what you might recover – after you have completed all your initial or main medical treatments.

If you have suffered serious injuries after an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you need to contact our New York City wheelchair accident law firm. We will carefully investigate all the facts of your case, review all your medical records, and then fight hard to win the maximum compensation available to you. We want every client to fully recover for all lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses, and other losses.

Here is an FAQ section with 8 questions and answers and associated FAQPage schema based on the document:

Frequently Asked Questions

About Wheelchair Accidents

Why are wheelchair users more likely to be hit by cars?

Answer: They have difficulty seeing hazards and are less visible to drivers.

What causes many wheelchair accidents at intersections?

Answer: Failing to check traffic signs and signals in congested intersections.

How do uneven sidewalks and roads contribute to wheelchair accidents?

Answer: They force wheelchair users into dangerous roads and increase chances of getting hit.

About Legal Action

What defenses might a defendant make in a wheelchair injury case?

Answer: Comparative negligence, failing to request help, wheelchair defects, or unsafe crossing.

Can I sue the wheelchair manufacturer if there was a defect?

Answer: Yes, on grounds of unsafe design, inadequate warnings, failure to meet warranty.

What types of injuries are common in wheelchair accidents?

Answer: Spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, broken bones, organ damage.

What factors determine the compensation amount?

Answer: Extent of injuries, treatments required, disabilities caused.