The sidewalks of Philadelphia are often full of people walking to work, shop, or explore the city. It’s an easy way to get around if you don’t want to worry about traffic, paying for a ride, or parking your vehicle. While there are traffic signs and designated crosswalks to keep pedestrians safe, there are cases where drivers of motor vehicles like cars and trucks don’t pay attention and cause an accident. If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian vs. motorized vehicle accident, you don’t need to go through this on your own. A Philadelphia pedestrian accident lawyer from Shrager & Sachs can help you potentially get compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical expenses.
We understand how traumatic an accident involving a motor vehicle and pedestrian can be, especially if you feel that the driver was acting wrongfully, recklessly, or negligently. Your injuries and recovery plan are what you need to be focusing on. We’re here to take care of any legal issues that may arise, as well as take care of any insurance complications. With us at your side, we can do the heavy lifting and alleviate much of the stress this situation has caused.
Philadelphia Pedestrian Accident Statistics
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 73 percent of pedestrian fatalities happen in urban settings. In 2010, nearly 70,000 people traveling on foot were injured in traffic accidents and 4,280 people lost their lives.
The Pedestrian and Bicycle Crash Report from 2009-2013 breaks down how often pedestrians are involved in crashes and what influences the number of accidents in Philadelphia.
The report shows the following statistics for the city:
- 2013 had 1,842 pedestrian crashes.
- 2013 had 37 pedestrian fatalities.
- More accidents involving people traveling on foot occur on Fridays.
- Accidents involving pedestrians are more likely to occur at 8 a.m. and from 3 to 7 p.m.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported that accidents involving SUVs that result in pedestrian fatality have increased. Some causes for this increase can be that there are more SUVs on the road. When SUVs collide with people, they can possibly cause more fatalities for a number of reasons. They’re taller and wider than other cars. So, when there’s a collision, it’s more of an impact because the pedestrian can’t roll off, which can reduce injuries.
How Do Pedestrian Accidents Happen?
In a city with sidewalks, crosswalks, and traffic signals, you may be wondering how a pedestrian accident could occur. Many of these accidents happen because of driver error or recklessness, meaning that the accidents were preventable. Just because you’re following the traffic rules while walking through city streets doesn’t mean the drivers will also follow them.
Preventable causes include:
- Distracted Driving. More people are driving while trying to use their cell phones simultaneously. A person attempting to text won’t see if they have a red light and people are crossing the street ahead of them.
- Failure to Yield Right of Way. Drivers may not know that they’re supposed to yield right of way to pedestrians or may drive aggressively and not stop for people traveling on foot. Both situations can result in collisions.
- Speeding. Drivers trying to beat city traffic or not get caught at a light may disregard the speed limit to get past the intersection. But speeding in tight areas gives drivers less time and space to react if someone steps into the road.
- Not Stopping at Red Lights or Stop Signs. Drivers who ignore traffic signals are a danger to everyone in the city, including pedestrians, cyclists, and other motorists.
- Driving While Intoxicated. Drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs lessens reaction time, judgment, and ability to control the vehicle.
These aren’t the only ways a pedestrian vs. car accident can occur. If you were in an accident and have questions about whether the cause merits a claim, you should seek the advice of a skilled pedestrian accident lawyer.
Pedestrian Accident Injuries
In a pedestrian vs. car crash, the person traveling on foot usually receives devastating injuries because there’s nothing to protect them from the vehicle. These injuries can often hospitalize victims and require surgery and long treatment plans. It’s likely the victim will probably miss work for a considerable amount of time, as well.
When people traveling on foot are involved in accidents, they are at risk of sustaining the following injuries:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries. Injuries to the head and brain can cause issues with memory, thought processes, mobility, and function. People can also get concussions, which will need to be evaluated by a medical professional.
- Broken Bones. The impact of the crash can cause fractures, breaks, or even the loss of a limb. People may not recover full use of their arms or legs after an accident.
- Spinal Cord Injuries. A severe injury to the spine could potentially cause paralysis.
- Burn Injuries. Friction can tear skin in an accident. Injuries can reach down to the bone and possibly damage nerves or become infected with debris from the road. Burn injuries usually need immediate hospital treatment.
- Psychological Illnesses. Accident victims may develop depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that could require professional help and medication to treat.
A full recovery isn’t a guarantee, and some of these injuries have the potential to cause lifelong issues. There may even be a situation where your injury will prevent you from doing your job. Your pedestrian accident attorney will fight for you to get compensation, so you’re not constantly worrying about financial hardship brought on by the accident.
Safety Tips for Walking
While it’s not always possible to avoid a pedestrian accident because you can’t control the actions of a negligent driver, there are several ways you can increase your safety as a pedestrian. Following these tips could potentially help you reduce your chances of being in a collision.
- Make Sure You’re Visible. Drivers don’t always see you and it’s unsafe to assume that they know where you are. To make yourself more visible, make sure you’re walking in a well-lit area or are wearing bright and reflective clothing. If you’re walking at night, consider bringing a flashlight with you.
- Obey Traffic Laws. Always follow the traffic laws. If the pedestrian signs say you shouldn’t walk, then stay on the sidewalk until it indicates that it’s safe for you to go. There may not be any cars coming that you can see, but there may be a car with the right-of-way coming around the corner and collide with the pedestrian.
- Use the Sidewalk. Whenever a sidewalk is available, you should use it. However, there are times where a sidewalk isn’t provided in the area where you need to walk. In these situations, you can do a few things to increase your safety. You should walk facing traffic and make sure you’re as far to the side of the road as possible.
- Look Both Ways. While this was always told to us when we were younger, you may not follow it now. No matter if there are signs that indicate that you can walk or you think that the road is clear, always take the time to look both ways. There may be a vehicle you didn’t see before or there could be a car that you thought would stop but ends up running a stop sign or red light.
It’s also important to know that while there are responsible ways you can make yourself safer when walking, there are also ways that you could potentially put yourself at risk. These risky actions may be used against you and could put your claim at risk.
How Can You Jeopardize Your Claim?
You may be depending on your settlement to help cover medical expenses and other damages. However, it’s important that you know the ways you could put your claim in jeopardy.
If you were walking while intoxicated and stumbled into the street, the other car may not have had ample time to see you and stop. Or there could be instances where you were listening to music or were on your phone and weren’t looking where you were going and walked off the sidewalk and into busy traffic. Some pedestrians may have crossed illegally, like in the middle of the street or without paying attention to the traffic light. There could be a few cases where a pedestrian is walking where they aren’t allowed, like on a highway or bridge.
However, you should also know that if you didn’t do anything wrong, you can still negatively affect your claim if you do any of the following:
- Make Official Statements. Insurance adjusters will try to get you to make an official statement about your injuries; however, you may not know all your injuries and what care you will need at that time. They can use these statements to give you less compensation than you deserve.
- Post on Social Media. Updating your social media accounts could be used against you, especially if you discuss details about your case or are posting photos of yourself. It could be used as evidence that your injuries aren’t as serious as you claim, and you may not get full compensation. It’s better to stay away from putting anything on your social media.
- Wait Too Long. Personal injury cases have a statute of limitations. In Pennsylvania, you typically have two years to come forward with your claim. Waiting too long could mean that your claim isn’t reviewed. It’s also more beneficial for you if you get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible. You’ll be able to remember details more quickly, keep track of how your injuries have affected you, and your lawyer may be able to investigate the scene of the accident and find eyewitnesses that could help your case.
Keeping these in mind will help you act in your best interests. You can move forward with your claim knowing that you’ve done what you can to protect your rights to full compensation.
Legal Services You Can Trust
You deserve legal representation that will stand up for your rights and fight to get you fair compensation. Our lawyers at Shrager & Sachs will diligently investigate your case to find the cause of the accident, determine the extent of your injuries, and calculate what damages you can recover. With our help, you can get peace of mind knowing that professionals are on your side.
Contact our Philadelphia office today and you can set up a free consultation. You’ll go over your case with one of our pedestrian accident lawyers and decide the best course of action for you.