Pedestrians are placed at far too high of a risk on our streets and highways. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 4,750 pedestrians are killed in auto accidents every single year. In the state of Pennsylvania, there were nearly 150 pedestrian accident deaths in the year 2013 alone. To put this figure into perspective, this means that pedestrians make up 14 percent of all annual car accident fatalities in our state.
Disturbingly, this is a trend that is getting worse. Pedestrians have been the victims of a growing percentage of fatal highway accidents. While total auto accident deaths in the U.S. have fallen by more than ten percent over the last decade, pedestrian accident deaths have actually increased by ten percent. Pedestrians are also dramatically over represented among those who suffer serious car accident injuries in urban areas. For example, in the city of Philadelphia, pedestrians account for about 40 percent of all car accident fatalities.
Clearly, drivers in and around Montgomery County need to do more to protect pedestrian safety. If you or a loved one was severely injured in a pedestrian accident, you need to reach out to an experienced Norristown pedestrian accident lawyer immediately. Your lawyer will be able to review your case and determine what needs to be done to help you seek full and fair compensation.
Pedestrians are Vulnerable
The simple fact is, for pedestrians, vehicles are inherently dangerous. When a collision happens, even if it happens at a relatively slow speed, a pedestrian’s injuries can be truly catastrophic. Some of the injuries our pedestrian accident lawyers most frequently see include:
Who is Responsible for a Pedestrian Accident?
In order to hold a driver liable for your accident injuries, you will need to prove that they were to blame for your the collision. In Pennsylvania, blame is typically established by proving negligence. In other words, your attorney will need to prove that the driver failed to live up to their obligation to look out for your safety. To be clear, this means that drivers are not automatically held to be liable for a pedestrian accident. While drivers do have heightened duties when it comes to looking out for pedestrians, your attorney will still need to establish negligence. This should not be taken lightly. In some cases, it is possible that a pedestrian could be held at fault for part (or all) of their own accident.
The Comparative Negligence Standard
Pennsylvania is a comparative fault state. This means that parties will be held liable for an accident in direct proportion to their ‘fault’ for that accident. As a result, injured parties may sometimes be held partially liable for their own damages. This is frequently an issue in pedestrian accident cases. The big insurance companies will often try to cast some level of blame on the injured pedestrian in order to reduce their own liability. For example, if a pedestrian was injured in a collision with a car, and they were crossing outside of a designated crosswalk when the collision happened, the insurance company may try to argue that the pedestrian actually bears some blame for that accident. Accident victims cannot let themselves get stuck with unjust blame.
Every Percent of ‘Blame’ Matters
The apportionment of liability is critically important in comparative fault states such as Pennsylvania. Getting unfairly blamed for part of your accident might take thousands of dollars directly out of your wallet. For example, consider a hypothetical case where you sustained $100,000 in damages after being struck by an automobile while crossing a street in Norristown. If you were found to be to blame for no part of your own accident, then you would be entitled to recover the full $100,000 in damages. However, if a Pennsylvania court determined that you were to blame for just 10 percent of the accident, your recovery would be reduced in direct proportion to that 10 percent. In other words, you would only be able to recover $90,000; $10,000 of your damages would be your own responsibility.
A 51 Percent Bar on Recovery
Worse yet, if you were found to be at fault for 51 percent of the accident, you would be entitled to $0 of recovery. This is because Pennsylvania has a majority fault bar on recovery. If a victim is found to be at fault for the majority of their own damages, they may not prevail a legal claim at all. The bottom line here is simple: You need to work with an attorney who will fight for your rights and protect you from any unfair blame.
Compensation Available for Victims
If your pedestrian accident was caused by the negligence of another party, you are entitled to seek compensation for the full extent of your damages from the at-fault party. The exact nature of your damages will always depend on the specific circumstances of your individual case. Of course, this means that the value of your case can vary tremendously. It is imperative that you work with an attorney who can ensure that your damages are properly documented so that you can seek recovery. Our Philadelphia pedestrian accident attorneys may be able to help you obtain compensation for:
Contact Our Team Today
At The Levin Firm, our car accident lawyers have extensive experience handling pedestrian accident claims. If you or a loved one was injured in a pedestrian accident in Montgomery County, we can help. Please do not hesitate to contact our Norristown office today to set up your no-fee, no-obligation initial legal consultations. Do not take on the insurance company alone. Let us fight for your rights.
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