Everyone with a driver’s license should be well aware of the extreme dangers of texting or engage in other types of distractions while driving. However, in this day and age of extreme multitasking, driving is not the only time that using a smartphone can be dangerously distracting. Another very serious activity is distracted walking.
Whenever you walk near traffic, you are inherently at risk for injuries should a pedestrian accident occur. When you are not paying attention to where you are walking or to your surroundings, you can literally walk right into a dangerous situation – such as into the pathway of traffic or into an obstacle that may cause you to trip and fall on the road.
Recent studies have demonstrated the actual risks of distracted walking and have resulted in experts calling the trend a “public health concern.”1 Specifically, the rise of smartphones has led to the public health risks of distracted walking. Some of the causes of distracted walking that involve a smartphone can include:
Pedestrians who are looking down at their phones may not notice changing traffic signals or may not be able to react to cars that may be heading in their direction. Some pedestrians may be under the mistaken impression that they always have the right-of-way and can simply walk into the street and expect traffic to stop, however, this is simply not the case. This attitude is one that results in serious accidents and pedestrians should always be aware of the rules of crossing the street and following traffic signals. The problem has become so serious as of late that legislators in some states have considered issuing tickets and fines for distracted walking.2
Whether a pedestrian accident involves getting hit by a car, walking into a pole, or slipping, tripping, and falling,3 the potential for serious injuries exists. Some examples of common injuries that can result in the need for extensive medical care for pedestrians can include:
The above injuries can result in the need for emergency trauma care, hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy, home health care, assisted living, medical equipment, and more. As you can imagine, pedestrian injuries can be very costly due to medical expenses, lost wages because of the inability to work, long-term disabilities, and more.
Pedestrians are not the only ones who can sustain serious injuries due to distracted walking. In some cases, drivers may see a distracted pedestrian step out into the road and they may swerve to avoid hitting the pedestrian, which can often cause them to collide with another vehicle. Such collisions can result in head and brain injuries, injuries from airbags or seat belts, broken bones, soft tissue injuries, and more. In such cases, even though the pedestrian may not have been involved in the collision, they may have been the catalyst for the collision because of their distracted walking. In such cases, injured drivers may be able to file a legal claim against the distracted pedestrian.
In many pedestrian accidents, the liability may not be black and white. Instead, both the pedestrian and the driver may share responsibility for causing the accident. For example, imagine that a pedestrian is distracted by their smartphone and walks into a crosswalk when they should not have done so. However, a driver approaching the intersection would have had plenty of time to stop and avoid a collision – except, the driver was also looking down at their smartphone and, therefore, did not see the pedestrian until it was too late. In such a case, both the distracted driver and the distracted pedestrian may be partially liable. Pennsylvania law allows certain accident victims to recover partially for their losses even if they were partially at fault. For this reason, you should always discuss your rights with an experienced attorney following an accident.
If you have been injured in an accident, you should call our skilled pedestrian accident lawyer at The Levin Firm for assistance as soon as possible. We can evaluate your rights and help you through the legal process, so please call us at 215-825-5183 for free today.
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