Walking can be a great way to get in some moderate exercise and also a wallet-friendly—and Eco-friendly—way to commute. However, pedestrians are arguably the most vulnerable people on the roads of our country. While motor vehicles have airbag technology keeping them safe in the event of a car accident and sturdy metal frames encasing them within the vehicle, pedestrians do not have such protections, and few people go for walks wearing helmets. If everyone drove in safe and considerate ways, pedestrian accidents might be a rarity. Sadly, this is not the case, and many pedestrians are injured or even killed each year in the United States due to the negligence of car and truck drivers. If you were injured as a pedestrian when a car hit you, contact Shenderovich, Shenderovich & Fishman to discuss your legal options under civil law.
The first thing you need to do after being injured in a pedestrian vs. car crash is to get immediate medical care so any injuries can be treated. After your condition is stable, make sure to document your injuries (take photos of injuries, keep copies of medical bills, and get contact information from accident witnesses). You can then bring this documentation to a pedestrian accident injury attorney so you can work together to craft your legal case.
According to a report published by the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration, more than 5,300 pedestrians lost their lives in vehicle collisions in 2015. As many as 70,000 are estimated to have been injured in car crashes that same year. Although trip-and-fall accidents were cited as the most common cause of pedestrian accident injuries, 12 percent of all pedestrian injuries are caused by vehicle collisions.
Pedestrians are rarely liable for damages incurred due to car accidents. In most cases, the driver of the car or truck is responsible for the crash and the damages that resulted. For example, if a pedestrian is crossing within a crosswalk and a driver fails to yield to the pedestrian and collides with them, that driver can be held accountable in civil court for the injuries that the pedestrian suffers as a result of the crash. The pedestrian may then seek to recover those damages in the form of financial compensation that the courts can compel the negligent driver to pay out, because the driver is liable—or legally responsible—for the pain and suffering the pedestrian experienced.
It may not be necessary for a case to be brought before a jury when you are seeking compensation after being harmed in a pedestrian accident. You can typically seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and related losses by filing a claim to collect from the insurance of the negligent party who is responsible for your injuries.
However, insurance companies often attempt to deny claims. When this is not possible, an insurer may offer less compensation than a victim deserves. Their goal is to minimize the amount of money they pay out.
This is one of many reasons it is wise for a pedestrian to enlist the help of a qualified lawyer when seeking compensation. Attorneys who handle pedestrian accident cases understand how insurance companies attempt to convince claimants to settle for less than their claims may be worth. Thus, they are prepared to reject unreasonably low settlement offers and negotiate for more appropriate settlements.
Again, it may be rare for a pedestrian to be found liable when a pedestrian accident occurs. That said, sometimes pedestrians are harmed because they are careless. When walking anywhere, you must still obey the law and generally make an effort to keep yourself out of harm’s way. This involves using a crosswalk to cross the street whenever one is available, paying attention to your surroundings, etc.
Be aware that failing to exercise caution or obey all applicable laws as a pedestrian can negatively impact how much compensation you may recover if you ever file a claim or lawsuit after being harmed in a pedestrian accident.
Pennsylvania, like many other states, has a “comparative negligence” statute. Under this law, the degree to which an accident victim contributed to their own accident occurring can be accounted for when the amount of compensation they are eligible to recover is determined.
For example, perhaps you were legally crossing the street when you were struck by a speeding driver. It’s obvious the driver’s negligence caused you to harm in this scenario.
However, maybe nearby security cameras captured footage showing you were texting when you crossed the street and did not look both ways before exiting the sidewalk. It might just be determined that you are 20% to blame for your accident occurring.
This means that if you originally would have been eligible to recover $100,000 in compensation, the most you would actually be able to recover is $80,000.
Just be aware that sometimes an insurance company or negligent party will try to minimize the amount of money they need to pay you by suggesting that your own negligence played a role in your accident when this is not actually true. In these circumstances, a pedestrian accident attorney can defend you against these false accusations.
Don’t underestimate the importance of having proper legal representation when there is a question over whether your accident resulted from your own carelessness. In Pennsylvania, if an accident victim is deemed to be 51% or more to blame for their accident happening, they are barred completely from recovering compensation.
If you were hurt in a motor vehicle collision while you were walking, you need a Pittsburgh car accident attorney who can advocate for you in civil court. The attorneys at Shenderovich, Shenderovich & Fishman are dedicated to helping injured pedestrians recover damages via the legal system. We put our clients first—so you pay no fees until your case has been won or settled, and we charge the lowest legal fees of any law firm in the region. We will fight to get you the financial compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering. Contact us today for a free case assessment