Right-of-way violations, including the pedestrian or driver ignoring a traffic control signal, are a major cause of pedestrian accidents. Failing to stop at an unmarked crosswalk, failing to come to a complete stop and turning right at a red light with a pedestrian in the crosswalk are all examples of right-of-way violations too. Other possible causes of pedestrian accidents include driving under the influence, distracted driving and speeding.
Some trends are noticeable when looking at statistical reports of pedestrian accidents. In 2012, alcohol was involved in 48% of fatal pedestrian accidents, either for the driver of a pedestrian, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Further, NHTSA reports that 32% of pedestrian fatalities occur at night between 8 p.m. and 12 a.m.
Understanding the contributing factors can help Newtown, PA drivers and pedestrians alike become more aware of the risks and act accordingly to avoid accidents.
When are motorists at fault in pedestrian accidents?
Unless there is a traffic signal controlling an intersection, the motorist has to stop at a crosswalk or unmarked intersection to allow pedestrians to cross. If the motorist violated the traffic control signal or blew through an uncontrolled walkway, he or she is at fault for the accident. Generally, motorists also have an obligation to be cautious of all hazards in the roadways, including pedestrians, so they could be at fault in other types of accidents as well.
According to Pennsylvania law, pedestrians need to exercise care when crossing the street. They cannot suddenly run out into oncoming traffic and cannot cross when a car does not have ample time to stop or avoid the pedestrian. Generally, the obligation to act with reasonable care to the other party applies to both pedestrians and drivers.
How can I obtain compensation after a pedestrian accident?
Pennsylvania is a choice no-fault insurance state, meaning those with full tort policies can file a tort claim against another driver; those with limited tort policies may file a tort claim if they suffer serious injuries. But pedestrians are automatically full tort, meaning they can file a tort claim against a driver who hits them. Pedestrians may also be able to pursue a claim with their own personal injury protection (PIP) if they carry it. Injured pedestrians should review all of their options to recover compensation with an attorney.
How do I prove negligence in a pedestrian accident lawsuit?
To show fault in a pedestrian accident claim, an attorney can use the following:
- accident reports;
- medical bills;
- witness testimony; and
- expert testimony.
Additionally, the plaintiff in the lawsuit needs to show direct causality between the damages they claim and the accident.
Pennsylvania has a 51% modified comparative fault bar. This means that plaintiffs need to be 50 or less at fault in the accident in order to file a claim. Any proportion of fault they have for the accident will reduce their settlement or judgment proportionally. For example, if a pedestrian is 30% to blame for the accident and suffered $10,000 in damages, he or she would only recover $7,000.
Pedestrians thinking of filing a lawsuit should contact an attorney to present a case and meet procedural requirements for legal action. Cordisco & Saile LLC can provide legal assistance to injured pedestrians in and around Newtown, PA, so contact our office at 215-642-2335 or set up a consultation online.