According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 65,000 pedestrian accidents result in serious or fatal injuries every year. Because of the dense population in our area, residents of Pennsylvania and New Jersey are at a much higher risk of being struck by a vehicle than those in more remote parts of the country. Young people commuting to school and the elderly (particularly in urban areas) are especially vulnerable to injury. If you have been struck by a car while walking, you should seek immediate medical attention. Once your injuries have been properly documented and treated, contact an experienced Media personal injury lawyer right away so that they can begin building your case.
Pedestrians’ Rights in Pennsylvania
Every state has enacted different laws with respect to both pedestrians and drivers. In Pennsylvania, drivers must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, and at any intersection with lights. However, pedestrians crossing outside of crosswalks are required to yield to all motor vehicles. When there are no sidewalks along a road, pedestrians in Pennsylvania are legally required to walk against the flow of traffic.
What to Do Following an Accident
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, you should call the police immediately. Whenever possible, stop any possible witnesses and take their names and contact information. Seek immediate medical attention, even if your injuries do not immediately seem severe. In some cases, the adrenaline from the accident can mask any pain or problems. For this reason, you may not realize the extent of your injuries until long after the crash.
If your injury is severe, go straight to the emergency room, otherwise, see your primary care doctor right away. If you do not seek immediate medical attention, and develop a delayed onset injury that requires considerable medical expenses to treat, an insurance adjuster or jury may be less inclined to believe that you were badly injured.
It is critical to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer before making a statement to the insurance company. It is not advisable to speak to an insurance adjuster without legal representation, as you may inadvertently say something that could jeopardize the value of your claim.
Liability for Pedestrian Accidents
As a general rule, whenever a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle, the driver is usually considered to be at fault, even if the pedestrian was not in a crosswalk. However, this is not always the case. Determining who is liable in a pedestrian accident can be somewhat complicated. In most jurisdictions, a pedestrian can only recover from the driver (or their insurance carrier) if the accident was at least partially the driver’s fault. For example, in these states, if a pedestrian is texting and walks out into an intersection without looking and is struck by a driver who is following all traffic rules, it is unlikely that the pedestrian will be able to recover damages. However, if the driver was speeding, ran a red light, or was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the pedestrian may have a viable claim.
In some cases, an injured pedestrian might be able to successfully sue the city or town where the accident occurred. For example, if a crosswalk is placed after a curve on a busy street, and there is no sign to alert drivers of the crosswalk around the bend, this is a dangerous situation and negligent municipal planning. Sometimes, traffic control devices such as traffic lights or stop signs are poorly placed or poorly maintained and malfunction.
Damages in a pedestrian accident case, like in any personal injury lawsuit, are meant to compensate the injured person. If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, you may be eligible to receive compensation for current and future injury-related medical expenses, lost wages and loss of future earning potential, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and more.
Chester County Personal Injury Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Represent Victims of Pedestrian Accidents
To schedule a free consultation with an experienced West Chester personal injury lawyer at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C., call us today at 610-565-3701 or contact us online.
With offices located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we represent clients throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania, including those in Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County, as well as the communities of Ambler, Glenside, Norristown, Pottstown, Springfield, and West Chester.