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What Should I Do If I Get Hit by a Car While Walking?

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What to do to ensure that you are compensated for your pedestrian accident appropriately

Pedestrian accidents can be very serious, and possibly fatal, as pedestrians often are more prone to being injured, as they have no protective barrier as they travel; vehicle occupants typically do. Especially in urban areas, machines, and bodies coexist and move in organized efforts, coordinated by laws. Should there be an accident where a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle, the pedestrian victim may be eligible for compensation to cover medical bills, lost income, and enduring pain and suffering. Regardless of who was at fault for the accident, victims deserve to be compensated for the pain and suffering they have endured. Experienced pedestrian accident attorneys with a winning track record, like those at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, can help to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation that you deserve and that you are entitled to.

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What Are the Current Pedestrian Accident Statistics in the United States?

  • 17% of all motor vehicle accident deaths result in pedestrian fatalities; a walking pedestrian is most vulnerable to being killed or to suffering catastrophic injuries in collisions.
  • In 2021, nearly 7,500 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle accidents, and thousands more were left injured (ForbesAdvisor).
  • Approximately 20% of pedestrian accidents occur when a person is crossing in a defined location, typically crossing a crosswalk, by walking, jogging, or playing.
  • Approximately half of all fatal pedestrian accidents are due to being a victim of a drunk driver.
  • While 13% of pedestrians deaths involved a driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 grams per deciliter (g/dL), 32% involved a pedestrian with a BAC of at least 0.08 g/dL.
  • About 20% of pedestrian accidents are victims of hit-and-run accidents.
  • 75% of all pedestrian accidents that result in death take place at night.
  • Data shows that people 65 and older accounted for 20% of all pedestrian deaths in 2020. This is followed by 20.4% of children under the age of 15 and 17% of all pedestrian deaths were people aged 15 and older.
  • In 2020 eighty-nine percent of pedestrian deaths occurred in single-vehicle crashes.
  • Far more pedestrians are struck and killed by vehicles at night – almost 71 percent – than during daylight hours, according to crash statistics from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

What Are the Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?

  • Distracted drivers
  • Distracted pedestrians
  • Impaired driving
  • Speeding when driving
  • Rolling stops
  • Failure to yield
  • Left-hand turns made without extra care for acknowledging pedestrians
  • Unmarked crosswalks
  • Faulty traffic lights
  • Failure to abide by traffic laws

people walking on the street

What Do I Do If I Was Hit in a Car Accident as a Pedestrian?

  1. Call the police; inform the operator of injuries and care that may be needed. A police report will be compiled including the accident particulars, witness statements, accident diagrams, and investigators’ indications of fault.
  2. Get contact information from the driver(s)and any possible witnesses. Take notes if you can.
  3. Be sure to get the driver’s insurance provider information.
  4. Document the accident by taking videos and pictures; take pictures of injuries, too. If someone makes a statement, and if you are able to record, do so with your phone.
  5. Call your insurance company and report the accident. Take notes of who you spoke with and when you called. Do not express blame, fault, or any particulars other than the event specifics.
  6. Seek medical care or go to see your doctor as soon as you can after the accident; although you may not feel any symptoms immediately, you may develop symptoms several days after. It is also crucial that you document your doctor’s care and visits on your claim.

Can I Receive Compensation if I Have Been Injured in a Pedestrian Accident?

Once fault has been established, pedestrian accident victims can receive economic and non-economic damages. In a nutshell, this means damages that have a monetary value and receipt to them (economic) and/or damages that are qualified as being worthy of a compensatory amount (non-economic) due to the physical and mental trauma endured:

  • Compensation for economic damages: This would include any compensation you can recover for financial losses endured from the pedestrian accident. Current and future medical expenses, lost income, and loss of future earning potential are all-inclusive and part of the victim’s “economic damage.”
  • Non-economic damages: These types of damages are more subjective. They refer to any non-monetary losses you may have, such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and emotional anguish.

Full tort lawsuits can occur here because pedestrians are not restricted to only seeking monetary losses.

How Do I Go About Initiating My Claim to Receive Compensation?

If you have been injured as a pedestrian you can use your own health, car, or Personal Injury Insurance (PIP) to pay your bills from the pedestrian accident. If you do not have insurance of your own or are not covered by someone else’s policy, the vehicle owner involved in the pedestrian accident will cover the claim and be accountable.

If the driver flees the scene after hitting the pedestrian, then the pedestrian does have the option to use their uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to pay for their expenses.

Ultimately, fault will have to be established to determine who is responsible for the expenses that have resulted from their negligence.

Do I Have to Report My Pedestrian Accident Claim Within a Certain Window of Time?

Yes. The statute of limitations for pedestrian-involved accidents varies from state to state. In Pennsylvania, you have two years from the date of the pedestrian accident to file a pedestrian accident claim. The sooner, the better — witness testimonies can become critical and memories become much more distant as time passes.

Who is at fault in a pedestrian accident?

Multiple parties can be at fault, depending on what transpired. Probable parties are:

  • The driver: If the driver failed to follow the rules of the road, they could be held responsible for your accident.
  • The vehicle manufacturer: If there was a defect in the car that caused the accident, such as faulty brakes, the manufacturer may be liable for the accident.
  • The government: If there is a problem with the crosswalk or the lighting system, the responsible party may be a government agency.
  • The pedestrian: In some cases, the pedestrian may be held responsible for the accident. An example would be a pedestrian darting between two parked cars without looking for ongoing traffic.

How is fault established in a pedestrian accident? How does “duty of care” apply here?

In Pennsylvania, drivers are required to exercise reasonable caution and to exhibit a “duty of care” when governing a vehicle; and pedestrians are to do the same when crossing intersections and roadways.  Both pedestrians and drivers have laws that are regulated and to abide by, and proving fault may mean heavily examining photos, witness testimonies, and police and medical reports. This is why having a personal injury lawyer is ideal, as they will need to exhibit proofs that the negligent party had breached their “duty of care,” which caused your injuries and created a loss to the injured pedestrian:

  • The negligent party breaches their duty of care. Duty of care means you are responsible for not causing harm to another individual when partaking in a situation that could bring harm to that person. Drivers have the responsibility to do no harm when driving. Pedestrians are responsible for following the law when crossing the street. Drivers and pedestrians have a duty of care for one another. Since the negligent party is breaking the law, they were in breach of their duty of care. If the alternate party was following the law, they did not breach their duty of care.
  • The breach in their commitment to duty of care caused an accident and injuries. Because the negligent party caused an accident and injuries.
  • The injury resulted in damages. Damages refer to any losses you experienced in the accident. This includes your medical bills, any ongoing care, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, and more.

Discovery is made by reviewing police reports, testimonies, physical damages, and reconstructing the scene of the crime; this will help to pinpoint who is at fault, and how to pursue the claim accordingly. This is when a personal injury attorney is one of your greatest assets.

How can the pedestrian be at fault?

Pedestrians can be victims of their own negligence. Distracted pedestrian behavior includes ignorance and/or disregard of the pre-existing laws and guidelines that are put forth to protect drivers and pedestrians, and to encourage harmonious behaviors:

  • Distracted pedestrian behavior can be crossing at locations that are not defined as crosswalks or intersections.
  • Distracted pedestrian behavior can include transversing through common spaces shared with vehicles while intoxicated; pedestrians’ judgments can become altered when intoxicated (just like a driver’s can, too).
  • Distracted pedestrian behavior can include texting while walking and crossing a street.
  • Distracted pedestrian behavior can include talking on the phone while crossing intersections and crosswalks.
  • Distracted pedestrian behavior can include listening to music while walking.
  • Distracted pedestrian behavior can include running into traffic unexpectedly, and/or ignoring traffic laws and guidelines.
  • Distracted pedestrian behavior can include jogging with earbuds in, or jogging and disregarding traffic rules and regulations.

How can the driver be at fault in a pedestrian accident?

A pedestrian accident may involve one driver, or there can be a traffic accident, and the pedestrian can be the victim of more than one car. Ultimately, the driver who causes the accident can be held liable — and yes, this means they can be found guilty, although their car may not have ever made contact with the pedestrian. If a driver caused other cars to harm a pedestrian, they are often deemed as the negligent and liable party. Car accident lawyers have found that common distracted driver behaviors that cause pedestrian accidents can be classified into three different categories:

Visual distractions: When a driver takes their eyes off the road to engage in an activity such as:

  • Texting (sending or receiving)
  • Consuming food
  • Applying makeup
  • Tending to child passengers
  • Talking to passengers
  • Review navigation

Any activity that requires that you take your gaze off the road to engage in it is a visual distraction. Planning can help to negate some of these distractions, including having navigation plans accessed and readily available for safely viewing prior to driving; using the auditory feature for voice command can be another option.

Manual distractions: When a driver takes their hands off the wheel to engage in an activity to multi-task, this is a tactile manual distraction. This qualifies as multitasking because anything other than driving in the car is a multi-tasking effort. This includes:

  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Adjusting the radio
  • Adjusting the temperature controls
  • Smoking
  • Using navigational devices
  • Reaching for anything in the car is a distraction

Cognitive distractions: These are activities that take the driver’s mind off the driving task. This type of distraction happens when a driver diverts their attention and concentration to another mentally-demanding task such as daydreaming or talking on the phone.

Visual, manual, and cognitive distracted driver behaviors can cause pedestrian accidents. Disregard for critical considerations and protocols meant to regulate and provide safe scenarios can demonstrate fault:

  • Speeding and Aggressive Driving: Exceeding speed limits can lead to an accident.
  • Weather conditions compounded with speeding can exacerbate an already precarious situation.
  • Erratic driving including racing, challenging others on the road, illegal lane passing, “weaving” in and out of traffic, and deliberately braking are all examples of recipes for a dangerous accident.
  • Disregard for signage and signals: Running red lights, driving in and out of traffic lanes, not using turn signals when necessary, and not stopping or yielding when necessary are all examples of ignoring laws set forth for protective measures
  • Inclement weather: Depending on the weather, roads can become slippery, and/or drivers’ can find that the weather conditions impede their ability to see the road effectively.
  • Drowsy Driving: Not getting adequate sleep can cause drivers to drift off to sleep behind the wheel. Overworked truck drivers, medical workers, and Uber drivers can be prone to such scenarios.
  • Drunk Driving: is completely preventable, yet there are still 52 deaths per minute attributed to driving while intoxicated.

What Types of Injuries do Pedestrians Typically Sustain in Pedestrian Accidents?

Pedestrians are likely to endure significant injuries if they should endure the impact of a vehicle. The variables of speed and areas of contact are determinants of the magnitude of the injuries and sometimes can be beyond the capacity of what the human body can withstand. People hit by cars frequently suffer very serious accident-related injuries such as:

  • Internal bleeding
  • Broken ribs
  • Head injuries such as concussions
  • Shoulder displacement
  • Vertebrae injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Jaw Fractures
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Skull damage
  • Lacerations and scarring
  • Injuries leading to death

What is Bodily Injury Liability (BIL)?

In Pennsylvania, every car owner must have bodily injury liability coverage on their car insurance policy. This coverage applies to any injuries to the pedestrian that the insured driver causes. The minimum amount for bodily injury liability coverage is $15,000/person and a maximum of $30,000/accident.

Contact Munley Law Today

Munley Law Pedestrian Accident Attorneys can get you the compensation for your accident that you deserve and we take a lesser portion of the accident settlement to cover our expenses for the accident case. If we cannot get results for you, you owe us nothing. We incur all of the risks and cover all of the upfront costs so that you never pay anything upfront or out of your own pocket.

For more than 60 years, the pedestrian accident lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys have represented pedestrian accident victims and their families across Pennsylvania. We understand your concerns and are ready to do whatever it takes to make sure you are properly compensated for your injuries or the loss of your loved one. Our award-winning team of pedestrian accident lawyers won’t rest until you get the justice you deserve; don’t hesitate to contact Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys — remember, there is a difference when it comes to personal injury lawyers. Choose carefully.

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If you think you may have a personal injury case, contact us now for a FREE consultation.

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