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 accident, you don’t need to go through this on your own. A Philadelphia pedestrian accident lawyer from Shrager & Sachs, LLC can help you 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. Your injuries and recovery plan are probably what you’re focusing on, and the idea of a claim may be too much to add to the pile. But that’s why we’re here. With us at your side, we can do the heavy lifting and alleviate much of the stress the situation caused.
Philadelphia Pedestrian Accident Statistics
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 6,283 pedestrian fatalities in traffic accidents in 2018. This is the highest number of annual deaths since 1990 and is over a 3% increase. Let’s look at the numbers for Philadelphia.
The Pedestrian and Bicycle Crash Report from 2009-2013 breaks down how 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 pedestrian crashes occur on Fridays.
- Pedestrian accidents are more likely to happen at 8 a.m. and from 3 to 7 p.m.
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 pedestrian accidents happen because of driver error or recklessness, meaning that the accidents were preventable. Just because you’re following the traffic rules as a pedestrian doesn’t mean the drivers will also follow them.
Preventable causes of pedestrian accidents 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 pedestrians. 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 a pedestrian 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 or alcohol lessens reaction time, judgment, and ability to control the vehicle.
These aren’t the only ways a pedestrian accident can occur. If you were in an accident and have questions about whether the cause merits a claim, you can ask one of our skilled pedestrian accident lawyers.
Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Pedestrians usually receive 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.
When pedestrians are 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 treated 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 the 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.
Your injuries will need time to heal. During your recovery, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to work. While most people have sick time and paid time off, this may not cover the time it will take for you to heal. Not being able to work and missing that regular paycheck can be extremely stressful for anyone—which can increase if others are depending on you to provide. With a Philadelphia pedestrian accident lawyer on your side, you’ll have professionals fighting for you to recover the lost wages you missed because you were unable to work.
There’s another side to pedestrian accident injuries that can have permanent implications. A full recovery isn’t always 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.
If your injuries were severe enough, you may be unable to return to your job after you’ve recovered or aren’t able to return to the workforce at all. Because of the severity of the injuries, you may need continued medical care for the foreseeable future, like physical therapy. Affording this care and not being able to work can create difficult financial situations, and you may wonder how you’re going to get the care you need.
Your Philadelphia pedestrian accident attorney from Shrager & Sachs will fight for you to get the compensation you deserve, so you’re not constantly worrying about financial hardship brought on by the accident.
Safety Tips for Pedestrians and Motorists
When you’re going for a walk or will be out and about, it’s important to keep safety tips in mind so you can reduce the chances of being at risk for an accident. Let’s go over NHTSA pedestrian safety tips that you can practice when walking in Philadelphia.
- Be Predictable. Remember, the drivers on the road will expect you to stay on the sidewalk, side of the road, and cross at crosswalks. It’s important to not run out in front of traffic. While you may think you have time, you may incorrectly gauge how fast the driver is going, and this could result in a collision. Cross at designated crossing areas and wait for the lights to indicate when you can cross.
- Always Use Sidewalks When Available. It can be tempting when you’re walking on a busy sidewalk to hop down from the curb and walk past a group of people, but this can put you in the line of traffic. Also, if there is side street parking, a driver may be reversing so they can safely pull out of the spot. Stepping off the curb behind them in an area where pedestrians usually don’t go could result in an accident.
- Avoid Distractions. While you’ve definitely heard of the dangers of distracted driving, this can also apply to pedestrians. When you’re looking at your phone or listening to music, you’re focused on things other than your surroundings. Keeping your eyes on where you’re going and not limiting your hearing will allow you to be more aware of traffic and to remain safe.
- Plan Your Route. Many people visit cities for the first time. It can be exciting to walk around a city you’ve never been to. However, you may want to take some time to plan out where you’re going to walk before setting out. While following along with a GPS can be extremely helpful when navigating a city, being glued to your phone could lead to you walking into other pedestrians, getting in the way of cyclists, or stepping out into the street and not knowing it.
- Look Both Ways. Even if you’re following the rules by crossing at crosswalks and intersections, you should still exercise caution. Drivers may not see you or will try to beat a red light by running through a yellow. Make sure the lanes are clear before crossing. If a car is approaching, let them pass before you cross.
- Don’t Assume Drivers See You. While spotting a driver and their car makes their location obvious to you, don’t assume it’s the same from their perspective. When drivers are on the road, they may not expect to look for cyclists or pedestrians. If they’re thinking about who they’re going to encounter on the road, they’re likely going to keep an eye out for other motorists first. It’s much easier to spot a vehicle than a person. If you are crossing, make sure to make eye contact with the driver so you know they’ve seen you.
- Increase Your Visibility. When you know you’re going to be walking, take precautions with the clothes you wear. Bright, vibrant colors stand out. They’re much easier for drivers to spot and they may spot you earlier and know to adjust their driving because they’ll be passing you. Dark clothing can blend in and make it difficult to spot or track you. If you’re walking at night, make sure to wear reflective clothing, so the driver’s headlights will catch the reflective material.
- Look for Vehicles. When you’re in a parking lot or crossing a driveway or parking deck, you may not think about the vehicles that could be entering or exiting these areas. It’s important to keep in mind that drivers are often moving through these areas with a focus on their destination. Remain vigilant and cautious, and allow cars to pass before proceeding.
- Avoid Substances That Impair Judgment. After grabbing drinks with friends, you may feel like you want to take a walk to get some fresh air. However, walking while you’re intoxicated is still dangerous. Your judgment is impaired and so is your control of motor functions. It’s likely you won’t be thinking about pedestrian safety and avoiding cars during this time.
As a motorist, you may be thinking about any tips you can take to prepare yourself for driving through cities and towns alike. Keep these tips in mind to prevent a pedestrian accident.
- Expect Pedestrians. When driving through any area, expect that pedestrians will be there. A city will have people bustling along on the sidewalks. A neighborhood will have people out for walks. When you’re expecting pedestrians, you’ll then know to keep an eye out for them while you’re driving.
- Practice Cautious Driving. It’s always imperative to drive while you’re alert and to remain cautious. However, there are times where you can take extra care. If you’re driving with poor visibility, whether it’s from rain, snow, or it’s nighttime, adjust your driving for those conditions. You’ll give yourself more time to stop if you need to.
- Slow Down and Stop. When you’re approaching crosswalks and turns, these are typically areas where you’ll encounter pedestrians. If they’re not looking at traffic or are going to step out onto the road at the last second, you’ll be able to prevent accidents by driving slowly and being ready to stop your vehicle.
- Don’t Pass Stopped Vehicles at Crosswalk. If a vehicle in front of you is stopped and you can’t see why, it’s likely because someone is crossing the road. It’s important to keep this in mind because if you don’t see the people crossing, it can seem like the vehicle in front of you is purposely impeding traffic. If you pass this vehicle, you may pull around them only to find that people are trying to cross the street.
- Slow Down at Schools and in Neighborhoods. When you’re driving through a school zone, signs will alert you of the speed limit for that area. Be sure to adjust your driving. School zones are extremely busy during morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up. Kids are likely going to be running and crossing the street without thinking about vehicles. While neighborhoods may not have the same level of activity, children playing may also not think about oncoming traffic.
Now that you have these tips for when you’re walking or behind the wheel, you can take steps to increase your safety and the safety of others. However, we understand that when another party acts negligently, they can cause a serious accident regardless of the precautions you took.
Get in Touch with a Philadelphia Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Pedestrian accidents can cause significant injuries that can take weeks or months to heal. You shouldn’t have to worry about how you’re going to afford your medical bills when you have your regular financial responsibilities to keep up with as well. That’s where we step in.
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. We’ll do everything we can to maximize the compensation that will help you secure your future. 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 attorneys. During this time, we’re ready to ask any questions you have and go over the legal process so you understand the options available to you and what they entail. We’ll work together to find the best course of action for you so you can proceed with confidence.