What Happens When Your Walkways Are Not Safe?
Over the most recent decade from 2010 to 2019, the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reports that the number of U.S. pedestrian fatalities increased by 46%. The 2010 fatalities amounted to 4,302 and increased by almost 2,000 by 2019. Interestingly, overall traffic fatalities only amounted to a 5% increase in that same time period.
Pedestrian accidents can be devastating. It goes without saying that in a pedestrian vs motor vehicle collision, pedestrians can incur serious life-changing injuries. If you were in a pedestrian accident, you need a Pennsylvania pedestrian accident lawyer who understands your needs and the best strategy to get you the compensation you deserve.
Causes Of Pedestrian Accidents In Pennsylvania
There are countless reasons that pedestrian accidents occur. Knowing some of the more risky activities, times, and conditions can help promote awareness.
According to the GHSA report, darkness poses an especially high risk for pedestrians traveling by foot. Nationwide, three out of every four pedestrian fatalities in 2019 occurred after dark. Of the remaining accident totals, 20% occurred during the day, and the rest at dawn or dusk.
Nearly 50% of 2019 traffic incidents resulting in pedestrian fatalities involved alcohol on the part of either the driver or pedestrian. A blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher can diminish a pedestrian or driver’s ability to make decisions, slow reaction time, and impact judgment. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, approximately one-third of all U.S. car crash fatalities involve drunk drivers.
Passenger cars account for the largest portion of the total number of passenger vs pedestrian accidents. Fatalities increased over time for SUVs through 2019, according to the GHSA.
Speed Of Vehicle
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the average risk of severe injury in a pedestrian accident reaches 10% at an impact speed of 16 mph and increases accordingly as speed of the vehicle increases:
- 25% at 23 mph
- 50% at 31 mph
- 75% at 39 mph
- 90% at 46 mph
These numbers are similar for fatality averages by speed.
Texting While Driving Or Walking
Though texting is commonly associated with injuries caused by the driver, pedestrians can also be distracted by texting. Numerous studies have found that people texting while walking often fail to look both ways before crossing the street and take up to 2 seconds longer to cross. Texting and driving is illegal in most states because of its impact on accident propensity.
Do You Have a Valid Pedestrian Accident Case?
If you were struck by a vehicle while walking, you may have a pedestrian accident personal injury case and should seek legal counsel from a Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer. The primary element of proving a personal injury pedestrian accident case is demonstrating that the party responsible for the injuries was negligent. There are four elements to proving negligence.
- The driver or responsible party owed a duty of care to the victim. All drivers have the inherent duty to drive safely and according to the law.
- The driver or responsible party breached this duty. Failing to obey traffic laws, not looking both ways before going through an intersection, not stopping a pedestrian crosswalk, or acting in a way a reasonable driver would not act constitutes a breach.
- The actions of the driver or negligent party caused the injuries.
- The victim suffered actual damages or injuries that are compensable.
If the action frightened the pedestrian but did not cause harm, there is no cause of action. As long as there was actual damage, such as property damage or expenses because of the accident, you may have a pedestrian accident case.
What Happens If You Were Partially At Fault?
Pennsylvania has a modified comparative negligence rule. Under Section 7102 of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, this means that you may still recover compensation as long as you were not more than 50% responsible for the accident. In a pedestrian accident case, crossing the street in an undesignated area could be viewed as a contribution to the cause of the accident. Pedestrians do have the duty to follow traffic laws and behave as a reasonable person to ensure the safety of themselves and others. Here are some noteworthy Pennsylvania pedestrian laws according to Title 75 of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, Section 3542.
- Pedestrians have the right of way at crosswalks and intersections that do not have traffic signals.
- Pedestrians must walk on the sidewalk rather than the road when a sidewalk is present.
- If there is no sidewalk and it is a two-lane road, the pedestrian should walk on the left side.
- Pedestrians cannot cross the street in urban areas without the use of a marked crosswalk.
- Crossing the street diagonally is illegal and considered jay-walking unless authorized by traffic control personnel.
- Pedestrians have the right of way when sidewalks extend across roads, driveways or alleys.
- Even if there is no sidewalk, pedestrians must stay on the shoulder or edge of the road, as far as possible from vehicle traffic.
Contributing to the accident does not bar you from compensation for your injuries. Your settlement or case award will be reduced by the percentage that you were deemed at fault. Experienced Pennsylvania accident lawyers can help determine your percentage of negligence (if any) and fight for you to receive maximum compensation.
How Much Compensation Can You Receive In A Pedestrian Accident?
The amount of compensation you can receive for your pedestrian accident depends on your unique circumstances. Monetary awards and settlements can cover both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages pertain to tangible expenses incurred such as property damage, medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses related to the accident that you would not have incurred if the accident hadn’t happened.
Noneconomic damages are harder to prove but just as relevant depending on the severity of your injuries and associated trauma. This form of compensation may cover pain and suffering, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, loss of enjoyment of life, embarrassment, and other factors that are life-changing but more difficult to monetize.
Experienced Pennsylvania Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Pedestrian accident lawyers can help you determine what your case is worth and what you deserve to receive. Insurance companies will always try to pay you less than what you are owed. I am attorney Bill Mansour, a seasoned Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer with years of experience getting my injured clients the compensation they deserve for pedestrian accidents. The team at Mansour Law, LLC, is ready to fight for what you need to make it right. Contact my firm today for your case consultation.