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Car Accidents Involving Pedestrians: What Are Your Rights?

pedestrian accidentWalking is undoubtedly one of the most popular forms of transportation in the world. Whether you’re walking or running for exercise, leisure, or to get to work, being in such close proximity to major roadways can put you in danger.

In 2012, there were 4,538 car accidents in Pennsylvania that involved pedestrians: 168 of those crashes resulted in pedestrian fatality, according to Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

With such a high rate of pedestrian accidents, it is important to know what legal protections and rights you have, as well as how to go about collecting compensation in the event of such an unexpected and serious accident.

How am I protected?

Across the US, state and municipal governments have instituted measures in hopes of regulating the protections pedestrians have when injured in these types of situations. The ones present in Lancaster County include the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code and the Lancaster County Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Plan.

Although these regulations are in place to help foster pedestrian-friendly communities, injuries still occur often when drivers:

  • Ignore crosswalks and street signs
  • Are distracted by texting, talking on the phone and sightseeing
  • Drive recklessly
  • Speed
  • Drive while intoxicated

What do I do if I’ve been hit, and how can I recover damages?

If a driver runs into you, the most important thing to do is to seek immediate medical attention, both for your health and your legal claim. Symptoms of injuries do not always manifest themselves right away, and early diagnosis and rehabilitation might be vital to your physical recovery. A doctor’s report also provides evidence of the nature and extent of your injuries.

In terms of compensation, there are multiple factors to consider. For example, if your accident was caused or aided by hazardous conditions such as unsafe intersections or poor sight distance on the road, government agencies may be held liable. You should also consider lawsuits against the city, county, state, or private entities whose negligence contributed to your accident.

If the accident was caused by a negligent driver, then their auto insurance company would be responsible for your compensation. If the driver fled the scene, which is common in pedestrian accidents, your own insurance policy may cover your injuries. It is important to note that even if your own insurance policy has limited tort coverage (meant to restrict your ability to sue for pain and suffering), in the case of being hit while walking or running, you would automatically be considered full tort, allowing you to sue for all damages.

What can I do to protect myself?

Although there’s no way of guaranteeing your safety when out walking or exercising, there are certain steps you can take to limit the risk of being struck by a vehicle. Try incorporating some of the following advice to better protect yourself from devastating injuries:

  • Wear brightly colored clothing to increase visibility
  • Use a flashlight and reflectors while walking at night
  • Walk on sidewalks whenever possible
  • Cross the road only at intersections and designated crosswalks
  • Obey all traffic laws
  • Pay attention to the road and cars
  • Avoid using cellphones and texting while walking
  • Teach children about pedestrian safety

Contact legal counsel immediately.

If you or a loved one have been struck by a vehicle while walking or exercising, contact Georgelis Injury Law Firm, P.C. today. Our experienced and professional lawyers know how to work with insurance companies and local and state authorities to get you the compensation you deserve. We are happy to make visits to your hospital, rehabilitation center, or home, and make ourselves available on nights and weekends. Call today for a free consultation.

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