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Injured in a Pedestrian Traffic Accident? What's Next?

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Car vs. pedestrian – everyone knows who wins this "battle," – but there are multiple new reports of Philadelphia pedestrian traffic accidents year after year. This begs the question, are these pedestrian traffic accidents on the rise in Philadelphia? Statistically, car accidents involving pedestrians only account for 3% of all traffic accident injuries. However, pedestrians involved in these types of accidents account for an astounding 14% of all traffic accident fatalities (See: U.S. DOT 2012 Traffic Safety Facts). 

However, as recently as May of 2014, a University of Pennsylvania student was walking on an overpass along Walnut Street when he tried to jump out of the way of a traffic accident but was thrown from the overpass to the ground 38 feet below. Unfortunately, this young man passed away shortly after this pedestrian traffic accident (See: NBC Philadelphia Report – Pedestrian Tossed from Overpass After Car Crash).

Why People Get Hit: Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

In Pennsylvania, pedestrian accidents represent only 3.2 percent of the total number of reported traffic crashes. But, they account for 12.8 percent of all traffic accident deaths. Pedestrians have zero protection as they walk around, and this means that if they are struck, even by a slow-moving vehicle, they could suffer catastrophic or fatal injuries.

Many cities in Pennsylvania, including Bethlehem and Philadelphia, have adopted what is known as the "Vision Zero" plan to reduce traffic deaths, especially pedestrian traffic accident deaths. As Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers, we believe that it is essential that each of us properly understands and becomes aware of what causes pedestrian accidents to prevent these tragic accidents. Both pedestrians and motorists need to become mindful of how pedestrian traffic accidents occur.

What Causes Pedestrian Accidents?

Here are some of the most common causes of pedestrian traffic accidents in Pennsylvania:

Unmarked crosswalks: According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, in 2015, 40.6 percent of pedestrian accidents occurred as pedestrians were crossing the road. When you have unmarked crosswalks, pedestrians are more of a risk. Using signaled crosswalks reduces that risk significantly. Cities should design roadways where crosswalks are marked and lighted when necessary. Motorists are more likely to see pedestrians when crosswalks are marked and illuminated.

Failure to yield: Under Pennsylvania law, motorists are required to stop and deliver the right of way to pedestrians walking in crosswalks or intersections. Motorists must operate with caution where pedestrians are walking. Some of the common reasons drivers fail to yield include distracted driving, inattention, excessive speed, and failure to obey the road rules. 

Distracted pedestrians: It's not just drivers who are distracted. According to several recent studies, pedestrians who are distracted by cell phones and electronics are at increased risk of being involved in crashes. For example, the Governors Highway Safety Association recently released a study showing the 5,984 people were killed in 2017 nationwide due to pedestrian accidents. This is the second straight year that pedestrian accident deaths have added up to nearly 6,000, and experts attribute the increase to more pedestrians walking while distracted.

Dark Clothes – 70% of pedestrian traffic accidents happen at night. In addition, dark clothing is harder to see at night.

Alcohol and drugs: Driving while impaired is another common cause of pedestrian accidents. This occurs when drivers operate under the influence of alcohol and drugs and when pedestrians are walking while impaired.

Cars that don't make noise: Hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles have an increased likelihood of striking pedestrians (by up to 40 percent) because they are so quiet compared to cars that run on gas or diesel. When pedestrians don't hear the cars, they are less likely to pay attention. This makes it all the more important for drivers of these vehicles to pay extra attention, particularly when driving through residential areas or school zones.

Excessive speed: Going over the speed limit or driving at a dangerous rate can be extremely dangerous for pedestrians. Several studies have shown that the greater the vehicle speed, the more severe the injuries suffered by struck pedestrians. However, it is essential to remember those grave injuries may occur even in low-speed crashes.

Hit by a Car in Pennsylvania? Here Are the Damages You Could Receive

When a vehicle strikes a pedestrian, the pedestrian will likely suffer serious, catastrophic, or even fatal injuries. The higher the vehicle's speed at the time of the collision, the greater the damage to the pedestrian. In Pennsylvania, pedestrian accidents are, unfortunately, widespread. We see them occur at street intersections, crosswalks, and even sidewalks when out-of-control vehicles climb curbs and strike them.

Damages in a Pennsylvania Pedestrian Accident

When you are hurt in a pedestrian accident, the consequences are physical and financial because of mounting medical expenses and wages you may lose due to not returning to work due to your injuries. Here are some of the types of damages injured pedestrians can expect to receive:

Medical expenses: When a negligent driver strikes and injures a pedestrian, the driver should pay for any medical expenses that may arise from the incident. This includes emergency transportation, hospital costs, expenditures relating to surgeries, medications and medical equipment, cost of drugs, etc.

Lost wages: The at-fault driver must compensate the injured victims for workdays they may have missed due to sustained injuries. Again, these damages may be higher or lower depending on the type of job the victim had at the time of the accident and how much they were earning.

Lost future income/loss of livelihood: Often, the injuries in a pedestrian accident are permanent, leading to life-changing disabilities. This could cause the victim to lose their livelihood or capacity to earn a living. In such cases, they may seek compensation for the loss of income that might have been made had the accident not occurred.

Pain and suffering: There is usually no precise amount for "pain and suffering" as you might have for medical expenses or lost income. Courts often define these damages by awarding them as part of the personal injury lawsuit. This is monetary compensation awarded for the physical pain and mental suffering the victim underwent due to the injury.

Loss of enjoyment: This is compensation awarded for the victim's inability to pursue activities they indulged in before the accident. For example, suppose the injured pedestrian was a triathlete and couldn't participate in those activities due to a permanent injury such as limb amputation. In that case, they may receive compensation for this change in lifestyle or loss of enjoyment of specific actions.

What Should I Do if I am Involved in a Pedestrian Traffic Accident?

Always get medical attention first, then contact the Philadelphia Personal Injury Law Firm of KaplunMarx immediately at (214) 939-4895. Traffic accidents involving pedestrians require a quick response. We need to investigate the accident scene, talk to witnesses, and preserve all evidence – do not hesitate to contact us 24/7.

Pedestrian Accident Lawsuit

After a pedestrian traffic accident, pretty much everything — including how you're compensated — is determined by who is at fault. If any of the following situations apply to your case, the driver will usually be deemed responsible for the accident:

  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Failure to yield
  • Disobeying traffic signs or signals
  • Failure to signal
  • Disregarding weather or traffic conditions
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol

Drivers are also expected to exercise more outstanding care in areas where children are commonly present, including near schools, parks, and residential areas. In addition, there are certain situations in which the pedestrian is considered responsible for the accident, including:

  • Ignoring the "walk" signal at an intersection
  • Entering and disrupting the flow of traffic
  • Failing to use marked crosswalks

Making An Insurance Claim

If you've determined that the driver is at fault, the next step is to open an insurance claim. When opening an insurance claim, it is essential to be aware of potential tricks the driver's insurance company might try to play on you.

Some common tricks from insurance companies include attempts to convince you to settle immediately, the three D'sD's (delay, deny, and defend), and bully tactics like threatening to close the file or pressuring you to give them a complete narrative of what happened. It is essential to avoid this last one — until you have a lawyer, you should only provide the insurance company with the cursory details of the accident.

Document Everything

After you open an insurance claim, you should also start documenting expenses related to the accident. Some of the documents you should save include:

  • Medical bills
  • Expected medical bills
  • Receipts for taxis
  • Charges for fixing your bike
  • Lost wages

Factors That Affect Your Settlement

There are a lot of factors that can affect the size of the settlement you receive from a pedestrian traffic accident lawsuit, such as:

  • The severity of your injuries
  • Amount of time you've missed work
  • Nature and extent of your medical treatment
  • Impact of injuries on your daily life
  • Prospects for a full recovery
  • Presence or absence of apparent fault
  • Lost opportunities that can be attributed to your injuries
  • Impact of injuries on future earning potential

Finding A Lawyer

A lawyer will help you navigate the tricky waters of a pedestrian traffic accident lawsuit and ensure that you get what you deserve. If possible, get a recommendation for a lawyer from a friend or family member. If no one can refer you, check online and find a few attorneys with good reviews or testimonials.

Set up a time to discuss your situation, either by phone or in-person, once you have found a few prospective lawyers. Some questions you might want to ask them to include:

  • What is the statute of limitations for my case?
  • What are your areas of specialization?
  • Have you taken on issues like mine before?
  • How long do you expect this case to take before it is resolved?
  • What is your fee structure?
  • Do you think I have a good point?

Let Us Help With Your Pedestrian Accident Lawsuit

If you live in Pennsylvania or New Jersey and have been injured in a pedestrian accident, we're here to help.

Contact us at KaplunMarx today (214) 939-4895. Our firm comprises experienced trial lawyers who have gotten millions of dollars for our injury clients. When you work with us, you can trust that we'll be with you every step of the way.

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