A pedestrian was injured every eight minutes in the United States in 2013, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Pedestrian accidents are exceedingly dangerous because of the pedestrian’s complete lack of protection. These accidents can lead to severe or even fatal injuries. Fortunately, you may be entitled to receive compensation by filing a pedestrian accident claim.
For help filing a pedestrian accident, give the pedestrian accident attorneys at Cordisco & Saile LLC a call: 215-642-2335.
With whom do I file a claim?
Most people think that car insurance only covers them if they suffer injuries in an accident while they are driving. However, in Pennsylvania, if you are hit by a car while walking, you can use your own personal injury protection (PIP) policy to cover your medical bills.
However, if you do not carry a car insurance policy, all hope is not lost. You can use a family member’s policy or file against the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
In addition, the Unsatisfied Claim and Judgment Fund (UCJF) provides coverage to pedestrians injured in automobile accidents with uninsured motorists. UCJF is applicable if no other coverage is available. To be eligible for UCJF, you must file a Notice of Intention to Make a Claim (NOI) within 180 days of your accident.
Am I eligible to file a claim against the driver?
To be eligible to recover compensation, you must first be able to show that the person who hit you was negligent in doing so. Per Pennsylvania law, for you to prove negligence, you must establish the following elements:
- The driver owed you a duty to keep you from undue harm
- The driver breached that duty
- The driver’s breach led to your injuries
- You sustained actual damages
Let us consider that you were walking in the crosswalk when a driver ran a red light because he was texting and hit you. Due to the impact, you broke both of your legs and sustained a head injury.
In this case, the driver had a duty to drive safely to protect those around him. He breached this duty by texting and disobeying traffic signals. His breach led to your injuries and subsequent damages.
Please note that per Pennsylvania Statute § 5524(2), you have two years to file your lawsuit from the date of the accident. If you do not file within this limitations period, Pennsylvania will likely disallow you from filing a claim for compensation.
Note: In most car accident cases in Pennsylvania, the insurance you have would affect the amount of compensation you are eligible to receive; however, in Pennsylvania, regardless of whether you have limited tort or full tort insurance, you can recover your full amount of damages (i.e., both economic and noneconomic damages).
How do I prove that the driver was at fault?
While full tort means that you are eligible to recover full compensation from the driver, it does not mean you are automatically entitled to compensation. As stated above, to recover compensation, you must first prove that the driver’s negligence caused your accident and injuries.
Well, how do you prove fault? You need to gather and present evidence, such as:
- The police report
- Photographs and video surveillance
- Eyewitness testimony
- Input from a field expert, such as an accident reconstructionist (a highly trained field expert who evaluates evidence and determines how the accident occurred, down the impact speed, positions prior to collision and even the potential for crash avoidance)
Can I still recover if I was partially at fault?
Let us consider our example from above: you are walking across the crosswalk when the texting driver ran a red light and hit you. However, let us consider that in this example, you were hit because you were intoxicated and stepped into crosswalk without looking for cars.
In this case, an investigator will likely find you partially at fault for the accident; however, in Pennsylvania, your own negligence will not totally bar you from recovery. Under Pennsylvania’s comparative negligence law, as long as you are less than 51 percent at fault, you are eligible to recover compensation.
It is important to note that your percentage of fault will decrease your settlement amount (e.g., if the investigation found you 20 percent at fault, you would only be eligible to recover 80 percent of your settlement).
What compensation can I recover?
As stated above, because Pennsylvania law automatically considers a pedestrian full tort, you can recover both economic and noneconomic damages. These may include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Costs of home renovations (e.g., widened doorways, wheelchair ramps)
- Costs of in-home care
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of normal life
If the pedestrian suffered fatal injuries, his family may be able to recover expenses through a wrongful death claim.
If the driver’s conduct was malicious or egregious, you may be eligible to recover punitive damages.
When considering a settlement amount, be sure that you know the full effect of your injuries. For example, if you suffered a traumatic brain injury, the lifetime costs can top one million dollars. Make sure that you consider the future impact of your injuries.
Run your case by an attorney from Cordisco & Saile LLC before accepting any offers.
Get Help Filing Your Pedestrian Accident Claim
If you or a loved one suffered injury in a pedestrian accident, the Bucks County pedestrian accident attorneys at Cordisco & Saile LLC want to help you get the compensation you need and deserve.
We have fought for the victims of accidents in hundreds of cases in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We know how to deal with the insurance companies, and constantly earn our clients the highest possible settlements or verdict in court. Call us today to schedule a FREE consultation: 215-642-2335.