Philadelphia Pedestrian Accident Attorney
Whether walking in the Fairmount Park area or checking out the scene on South Street, Philadelphia is a great town to see on foot. But what happens if a car or other vehicle hits you while walking? Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents are some of the most serious crashes because pedestrians are unprotected. An individual involved in a car accident, truck accident, or even a motorcycle accident can easily cause severe injuries or even death.
Why Choose The Levin Firm?
Where can you turn if you or a loved one suffers injuries in a Philadelphia pedestrian accident? At The Levin Firm, our Philadelphia pedestrian accident lawyers fight for the rights of accident victims. The fact is, no one should ever be in a pedestrian accident in Philadelphia. Why? Because motorists and drivers of other vehicles should operate their vehicles safely. Vehicles should always be looking for pedestrians and prepared to accommodate them.
Fighting for your rights means obtaining the highest compensation possible for your injuries and other losses related to your accident. The Levin Firm can help you gather evidence and work to track down the driver who hit you. Our initial consultation is always free to help answer your questions and provide a layout of the claims process.
How Do I Hold Someone Responsible for a Pedestrian Accident?
If you’re injured in a pedestrian accident, the negligent party bears liability or financial responsibility for losses related to the accident. Negligence is a key concept in any accident, and pedestrian accidents are no exception.
Negligence is defined legally as a breach of a duty of care. We don’t ordinarily think of “duty of care,” but we know what it is if we consider safe driving. Drivers should operate their vehicles safely and prudently, following all traffic laws and regulations. A driver running a stop sign and knocking down a pedestrian violates their duty of care to drive safely.
There are times when the accident may stem from the actions of entities other than the driver. What if, for example, the driver steps on the brakes to slow down, but the brakes don’t work? In that case, the car’s or brake’s manufacturer could be at fault. So could a repair shop that supposedly repaired the brakes.
But the principle of negligence remains the same. Manufacturers owe a duty of care to create safe and reliable products for the public. A car repair shop should repair products to work safely and reliably afterward. If these things do not happen, negligence has arguably occurred.
Manufacturers and repair shops can bear financial responsibility (liability), just as individual drivers can. The only difference is that it may take some research to determine the cause of the accident and the entity responsible for it.
Once the negligent party is known, accident victims can seek damage compensation. The law requires that the accident be the direct cause of any damages you seek.
Pedestrian accidents can seek compensation for their losses, including:
- Medical bills already incurred, including emergency transportation, doctor’s visits, diagnostic tests, hospitalization, physical therapy, prescription medication, and more.
- Future medical bills for all the categories above, plus retrofitting a home to accommodate injuries and home health aides.
- Wages lost from work for the time taken from work due to the accident, medical treatment, and recovery.
- Lifetime value of earnings if the injuries are severe and cause permanent disability, precluding the injured person from working again.
- Pain and suffering for physical pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and psychological suffering.
How Do I Seek Damages?
If you know the negligent party and their insurance company, you can approach the insurance company directly. You can contact a lawyer to help you find the negligent party if you don’t know who caused the accident or the cause is in dispute.
Sadly, many pedestrian accidents in Philadelphia are hit-and-run accidents where the victim may not know who (or what) hit them. In those cases, an attorney can search for evidence to find the driver. An eyewitness often notes identifying data, such as the vehicle’s license plate number, make, or model. Attorneys can also ascertain whether surveillance cameras may have captured the vehicle.
In addition, all drivers must report an accident in Pennsylvania to authorities if someone is injured, killed, or a car is damaged beyond being driven.
An attorney can not only investigate the negligent party but can help you seek damages. Lawyers can negotiate with insurance companies and bring a lawsuit for damages in civil court if negotiations fail.
How Long Do I Have to Seek Damages?
Injured victims must bring cases to civil court within two years of the date of the accident. This period is known as the statute of limitations.
But don’t let the two years convince you to wait to proceed with your claim. Any legal case depends very strongly on evidence. You will need specific, concrete evidence of who or what caused the pedestrian accident that injured you. You may have to prove that the accident directly caused your injuries, not another event. You will need evidence of your injuries and treatment.
All of this evidence can be lost or damaged. Eyewitnesses are notoriously unreliable over time and may lack credibility if you wait.
The sooner you contact an attorney to discuss your case, the better situated you are to get strong, reliable evidence. You can provide a lawyer with the evidence you have collected (such as your medical records, police report, and photos of the scene), and they can investigate to gather any additional evidence needed.
What Types of Injuries Do Pedestrian Accidents Cause?
In one recent year, roughly half of Philadelphia’s total traffic fatalities resulted from pedestrian accidents. These pedestrian accident injuries can range from cuts and bruises to spinal cord and head injuries that can be paralyzing or fatal. Nationwide, roughly 73 percent of pedestrian accident deaths occur in cities.
A pedestrian encountering a 2,000 to 80,000-pound vehicle can suffer severe injuries, including:
- Fractured bones, including legs, arms, ribs, pelvis, and more
- Internal organ damage
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord injury
- Crush injuries
- Amputation (severed limbs)
- Soft tissue injuries
What Are the Most Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?
As discussed earlier, drivers in Philadelphia should always slow and stop for pedestrians, and pedestrians should take care to walk where it is lawful.
Yet vehicle drivers may still hit pedestrians.
Some of the most common reasons are:
- Distracted driving (not paying sufficient attention to the road and surroundings)
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Drowsy driving (driving without sufficient sleep)
- Texting and driving
- Failure to yield
- Failure to signal
- Driving with lights off or damaged
- Improper passing
What if the Driver Receives a Criminal Charge?
Pedestrian accident victims often want to know what happens if the negligent driver who injured them is also cited for a potential criminal charge, such as driving under the influence (DUI). Multiple offenders who are convicted can receive a felony charge.
You will try any personal injury claim in civil court. The ultimate purpose is compensating a victim for damages from a negligent party.
Prosecutors, not injury victims, bring criminal charges to bring wrong-doers to justice by imposing jail time, fines, and the like. Charges are brought by the state, such as police and prosecutors.
The two court systems are entirely separate. However, if the court convicts the negligent driver of a crime, you may use that as evidence in your case in civil court.
What if a Pedestrian Accident in Philadelphia Is Fatal?
Tragically, pedestrian accidents can be fatal immediately or as a consequence of serious injuries. What happens then?
Pennsylvania allows representatives of the deceased person’s estate to bring a wrongful death suit on behalf of the estate and family members, such as a spouse, children, and parents. The purpose is to compensate those people for damages and losses, both financial and emotional. Like a case where a person receives injuries, the negligent party is liable for these damages.
Note that the law specifies that the estate representative must bring the suit. However, if they do not do so within six months after the date of death, the family members may commence a suit.
Like a personal injury case, the statute of limitations for a Pennsylvania wrongful death case is two years, but the two-year clock starts on the date of death rather than the date of the accident.
Damage compensation for spouses, children, and parents in a wrongful death case can include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical expenses incurred between the accident and death
- Lost wages and benefits, including amounts the deceased reasonably could have been expected to earn had they lived
- Loss of the household services, comfort, guidance, and companionship provided by the deceased
The estate can seek damages for:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical expenses incurred between the accident and the death
- Estate administration expenses
What Should I Do After a Pedestrian Accident?
If you are in a pedestrian accident, remember the following: First, see to your safety and health. Second, be mindful of potential evidence of who or what caused the accident and your injuries.
Safety: you or a bystander should call an ambulance if you are seriously injured. Take care to move out of any possible harm’s way unless your injury requires you not to be moved.
Call law enforcement: they will interview everyone on the scene and issue a police report. This report is important evidence, so make sure you receive a copy.
If there is any question about an injury’s severity, err on the side of caution. Go to an emergency room or your doctor. Any evidence can be gathered later, but you may need immediate treatment to save your life.
If you are not seriously injured, exchange information with the driver. If you can, get contact information from eyewitnesses as well.
After you leave the scene, see a doctor as quickly as possible. Do not skip this step, even if you feel your injuries are minor! Many pedestrian accidents can cause injuries that don’t feel major but can be. A TBI or broken rib are just two examples. TBIs can cause life-long cognition problems, and broken ribs can puncture a lung.
Be aware that if you don’t see a doctor, insurance companies can use that fact to argue that your injuries weren’t serious—and that the accident didn’t cause your injuries.
Keep all medical treatment records, including dates, diagnoses, and advice on what to do next. If doctors advise physical therapy, make and keep physical therapy appointments. Medical records are highly important evidence and greatly affect your compensation.
Insurance companies can argue for lesser (or no) compensation if you don’t follow treatment plans or have treatment records. Cover your health and compensation by keeping track of all medical records.
If you need help with medical bills, your personal injury protection (PIP) as a driver may be eligible to be used. If not, health insurance should cover some bills.
Let a Philadelphia Pedestrian Accident Attorney Help
The Levin Law Firm has years of experience in helping pedestrian accident victims. We are passionate about obtaining justice for accident victims. We litigate, investigate, and negotiate with insurance companies to receive the highest compensation possible. Our first consultation is always free. Call The Levin Firm at (215) 825-5183 or contact us online.