Pedestrian accidents are an unfortunate reality that many people face, and understanding the legal aspects of these incidents is crucial. In Philadelphia, the number of pedestrian accidents has been on the rise, making it more important than ever to understand terms like “negligence” and “liability.” Whether you’re a pedestrian who has been injured or a driver involved in an accident, knowing these terms can significantly impact the outcome of your case.
What is Negligence?
In the context of pedestrian accidents, negligence refers to the failure to exercise the level of care that a reasonable person would under similar circumstances. Drivers owe a duty of care to pedestrians, just as they do to other drivers. This means following traffic rules, being aware of one’s surroundings, and taking reasonable steps to avoid accidents. At Munley Law, we have extensive experience in handling cases that hinge on proving negligence, helping our clients secure the compensation they deserve.
Types of Negligence
Negligence can manifest in various forms, each with its own legal implications:
Contributory Negligence: This occurs when the pedestrian is also partly at fault for the accident. In some jurisdictions, even a small degree of fault on the part of the pedestrian can prevent them from receiving any compensation.
Comparative Negligence: Here, both parties share some degree of fault. The compensation is usually adjusted based on the percentage of fault attributed to each party.
Gross Negligence: This is an extreme form of negligence where the driver’s actions are reckless and show a complete disregard for the safety of others.
What is Liability?
Liability, in legal terms, refers to the state of being responsible for something, especially in the context of legal obligations. In pedestrian personal injury cases, determining who is liable is crucial for the settlement process. At Munley Law, we specialize in establishing liability through meticulous investigation and evidence gathering.
Proving Negligence and Liability
To successfully prove negligence and liability, several elements must be established:
Duty of Care: It must be shown that the driver owed a duty of care to the pedestrian.
Breach of Duty: The driver failed to meet that duty of care.
Causation: The breach of duty directly resulted in the accident.
Damages: The pedestrian suffered injuries or losses as a result.
Evidence such as police reports, eyewitness accounts, and expert testimonies can be invaluable in proving these elements. Our team of Philadelphia pedestrian accident lawyers at Munley Law excels in gathering and presenting this evidence to build a strong case for our clients.
Who is at Fault When a Car Hits a Pedestrian in Philadelphia?
Determining who is at fault in a pedestrian accident in Philadelphia can be a complex process that often depends on a variety of factors. Generally speaking, if the driver was negligent—perhaps they were speeding, distracted, or failed to yield the right of way—they would likely be at fault. However, the situation can become more nuanced depending on the circumstances.
Drivers have a legal obligation to exercise reasonable care on the road. This includes obeying traffic laws, being vigilant of their surroundings, and taking necessary precautions to avoid accidents. Failure to do so can result in them being held liable for any accidents that occur. For example, if a driver runs a red light and hits a pedestrian who was legally crossing the street, the driver would most likely be found at fault.
Pedestrians also have a duty to exercise reasonable care when crossing streets or walking alongside them. If a pedestrian is found to have been jaywalking, crossing against a traffic signal, or entering the road suddenly without giving the driver a chance to stop, they may be considered partially or fully at fault.
Pennsylvania follows a modified comparative negligence rule, which means that a pedestrian can still recover damages even if they are partially at fault, as long as their fault is not greater than that of the driver. However, their compensation will be reduced by the percentage of their fault. For example, if a pedestrian is found to be 20% at fault and the driver 80%, the pedestrian’s compensation would be reduced by 20%.
Role of Witnesses and Evidence
Eyewitness accounts, surveillance footage, and police reports play a crucial role in establishing fault. These pieces of evidence can provide a clearer picture of what happened and who failed to exercise reasonable care.
Legal Expertise Matters
Given the complexities involved in determining fault, consulting a qualified Philadelphia pedestrian accident lawyer is crucial. At Munley Law, we specialize in dissecting the intricacies of each case to establish fault and secure the compensation our clients deserve.
Pennsylvania Statistics on Pedestrian Accidents: A Rising Concern
According to a report by The Center Square, pedestrian deaths in Pennsylvania have seen a concerning 21% rise since 2019. Preliminary data for 2021, published by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), shows that while non-pedestrian traffic deaths increased by 13% between 2010 and 2020, pedestrian deaths surged by a staggering 54%. In 2019, Pennsylvania recorded 154 pedestrian fatalities, which slightly decreased to 146 in 2020 but then rose to 186 in 2021. Additionally, 4,100 pedestrians were injured in crashes in 2019, and 2,788 were injured in 2020, according to a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation crash report.
The article also highlights that 44% of these fatalities occurred when pedestrians were in a crosswalk. Most deaths happened in cities (47%), followed by 40% in townships. State highways were identified as the most dangerous places for pedestrians, accounting for 74% of fatalities.
These alarming statistics emphasize the importance of understanding negligence and liability in pedestrian accidents, as well as the need for effective legal representation.
How Munley Law Can Help
With over 60 years of experience in personal injury law, we at Munley Law are well-equipped to handle your pedestrian accident case. Our team has received numerous accolades, including being named among the Best Lawyers in America and selected to Pennsylvania Super Lawyers. We are also board-certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, affirming our commitment to the highest standards of legal practice. Our approach is client-centric; we promise to bear all upfront costs and only collect fees if we win your case. This showcases our confidence in our ability to deliver justice for our clients.
Contact a Philadelphia Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Understanding the concepts of negligence and liability is crucial for anyone involved in a pedestrian accident. These terms not only help you comprehend the legal landscape but also empower you to take informed actions. A qualified Philadelphia pedestrian accident lawyer, like those at Munley Law, can provide the expertise needed to navigate these complexities.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian accident, don’t hesitate to seek professional legal advice. Contact Munley Law today for a free consultation. Your trusted Philadelphia pedestrian accident lawyer is here to help.