Being struck by a car while on foot can be an incredibly devastating and frightening experience. History shows us that pedestrians are far more likely than the driver to suffer catastrophic injuries in a collision with a motor vehicle—and this is no surprise. A human being is simply no match for a large, multi-ton vehicle. But the real challenges come in the days, weeks, and months following the accident, as victims face a difficult, uphill battle to recovery. Even after a relatively “mild” accident, the pedestrian will likely need to see a doctor and take time off work to heal. For many, this adds an additional financial strain on top of an already incredibly stressful situation.
The question is, what can you do?
In fact, if you were hit by a car while walking in the state of Pennsylvania, you are entitled to take legal action in the form of a personal injury lawsuit. If the driver of the car was distracted, drunk, or otherwise acting negligently, you can fight to hold them responsible for your injuries and the resulting damages. This includes things like your medical bills, lost wages, emotional distress, and more.
Continue reading to learn more about what to do after a pedestrian accident in Pennsylvania, or contact Metzger Wickersham today to request a free, confidential consultation with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers. We can walk you through your specific options as they relate to your situation and help you build a solid case aimed at recovering maximum compensation on your behalf.
How Common Are Pedestrian Accidents?
Every year, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) releases its annual Crash Facts and Statistics. The latest report from 2018 reveals some alarming data regarding pedestrian accidents and fatalities in the state of Pennsylvania.
According to the 2018 Penn DOT Crash Facts and Statistics report:
- There were 4,129 pedestrian-related crashes and 201 pedestrian fatalities in Pennsylvania in 2018.
- While pedestrian accidents represented only 3.2% of all traffic crashes in the state, they also accounted for 16.9% of all traffic accident-related fatalities.
- Pedestrians were most at risk of being hit while entering or crossing certain locations, such as crossing an intersection in a crosswalk or walking across a driveway opening.
- Pedestrians aged 75 and older were most frequently involved in fatal pedestrian accidents, and males of all ages accounted for 67% of pedestrian accident fatalities.
- While 57.8% of pedestrian injuries occurred during daylight hours, 66.7% of pedestrian fatalities occurred at night.
- The vast majority of pedestrian accidents occurred in areas without traffic control devices, such as signals and stop signs, accounting for 2,059 injuries and 151 deaths.
Additionally, in 2018, the Governors Highway Safety Association released a report that analyzed pedestrian accidents and fatalities in each state based on then-preliminary data. The report revealed that pedestrian fatalities skyrocketed by 40% from 2017 to 2018.
What to Do After a Pedestrian Accident
If you are reading this, chances are you have already been involved in a pedestrian accident or know someone who has. If you or your loved one has not yet received medical attention, do so right away. Even if you believe you were not seriously injured, you could start to experience symptoms hours or even days after the incident. The shock of the accident can mask injuries, and you may not notice them until much later. If you have started to notice pain but are not sure whether it’s tied to the accident, go to the doctor and have yourself checked by a medical professional.
If possible, it’s important to call the police and have them come out to the scene of the accident. It’s also crucial to get the contact information of the involved driver, as well as any witness accounts. If you were able to get any of this information, it can greatly benefit your personal injury case. Regardless, it is imperative that you write down as many details of the accident as possible, including how the incident occurred, what type of car the motorist was driving, what time of day the accident happened, whether you were in a crosswalk when you were hit, and other details. Writing these down immediately after the accident will help ensure that evidence is not lost over time.
One of your options after a pedestrian accident is suing the at-fault driver. In Pennsylvania, you will need to show that the motorist was more than 50% at fault for the incident in order to bring a claim against them. If you were in a crosswalk or on the sidewalk, or if the driver was being negligent when the accident occurred, you should have grounds to file a lawsuit to collect damages from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
If the driver did not stop or you were unable to get the driver’s information, you still have options. You can file a claim with your own insurance provider via your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. This is a mandatory form of auto insurance in Pennsylvania that covers medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. Additionally, if eligible, you may be able to recover compensation via the Pennsylvania Financial Responsibility Assigned Claims Plan (PFRACP).
For more information on your specific rights and options, please contact Metzger Wickersham today. Your initial consultation is completely free and confidential.