Approximately 70,000 pedestrians are injured and more than 4,000 are killed each year in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). And unfortunately that figure is on the rise. NHTSA reported in November 2013 that for the third consecutive year, pedestrian fatalities have risen.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Both pedestrian and driver negligence contribute to the injuries and loss of life in pedestrian motor vehicle accidents. Some of the common contributing factors for these accidents include:
- unmarked crosswalks;
- cars not yielding to pedestrians;
- walking or driving while texting;
- listening to music while walking;
- driver intoxication; and
- congested areas.
Establishing the cause of and contributing factors for an accident is important to demonstrate that a negligent driver is responsible for the accident.
Comparative Negligence in Pedestrian Accidents
When a pedestrian is hit by a car, he or she may be able to file a claim for compensation even if he or she was partly at fault. This is because Pennsylvania follows what’s known as the modified comparative negligence rule, which essentially allows injured parties to recover damages so long as they were less than 51 percent at fault.
The courts or insurance company will examine the facts of the case and determine what degree of fault each party had, and adjust the settlement in exact proportion to the fault. For instance, if a pedestrian was 30 percent at fault in an accident in which he or she suffered $1 million in damages, the settlement award would be reduced by $300,000.
This is one of the key reasons it’s important to take your case to an attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can begin collecting evidence, discussing the case with expert witnesses, finding key statutes and case studies that support your case, and developing strategies that demonstrate the other party’s negligence.
Calculating the Full Extent of Your Damages
Injured pedestrians or the family of fatally injured pedestrians should be aware of all damages that might be compensable for them. Your attorney can help you account for all of your damages in your claim or lawsuit. Keep in mind you may first recover damages from your PIP insurance or that of a family member in your household. You may also collect from the at-fault driver’s PIP if you don’t have other coverage available.
Pedestrians may be able to pursue a lawsuit against at-fault drivers. Typically, drivers choose limited or full tort; the former limits ability to pursue a lawsuit for pain and suffering. But pedestrians are automatically full tort, meaning that pedestrians are not limited in their right to pursue pain and suffering damages.
Depending upon the specifics of the case, you might be entitled to receive financial remuneration for:
- medical bills – both current and future;
- physical therapy and rehabilitation;
- property damage;
- loss of wages;
- disability and disfigurement;
- emotional and physical pain and suffering;
- loss of capacity to work;
- damaged relationships and loss of consortium;
- the injury’s impact on your career and personal life; and
- funeral expenses.
Consult a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one was injured in a pedestrian accident in Pennsylvania, call ARM Lawyers for help. Contact us today at one of our offices in Stroudsburg, Palmerton or Bethlehem to schedule a free, no-obligation legal consultation.