West Chester Pedestrian Accident Attorney
Pedestrian accidents often result in severe injuries that lead to significant setbacks and possible lifelong disabilities. At Wilk Law, our West Chester pedestrian accident lawyers have the resources and experience necessary to help clients recover complete compensation for their losses.
If you or somebody you love has been injured in a pedestrian accident caused by the actions of another driver or entity in Chester County, we are ready to help.
What Is a Pedestrian?
From state to state, you’ll find different laws and definitions that classify what a pedestrian is. In Pennsylvania, a pedestrian is anyone near or on a roadway who is:
- Running, jogging, or walking.
- Riding a foot-powered scooter.
- Riding rollerblades, skateboards, or roller skates.
- Using a wheelchair.
It’s also important to note that the legal system may not consider bicyclists pedestrians. A human-powered vehicle is a bicycle that shares the roadway with the traffic flow. Riding on the sidewalk is permitted, but bicyclists must yield to pedestrians on foot.
You must understand this because the laws regarding pedestrian and vehicle accidents or car crashes change. Pennsylvania is one of the few no-fault states concerning collisions. This means that your car insurance will pay to cover your injuries and damages if you are involved in an accident with only vehicles.
However, responsibility and fault will factor in if you’re a pedestrian. If the court finds the driver at fault, you may be entitled to compensation to help pay for pain and suffering and medical bills. Then, depending on your claim, you can file through your car insurance company.
In Pennsylvania, if you’re a pedestrian involved in a car accident and a resident, you can claim damages for medical bills from the driver’s personal injury protection insurance policy. Tourists’ medical expenses won’t have this coverage option, but residents and non-residents can sue the driver for pain and suffering. This can be complicated, so involving an experienced West Chester pedestrian accident lawyer can help you get favorable results.
Common Types of Pedestrian Accidents
There are many types of accidents you could be involved in as you go about your daily activities as a pedestrian. A few common accident types include but are not limited to:
- Back-up accidents: This type of accident usually happens when a driver backs up and hits a pedestrian behind them, often in a parking lot or driveway. This is especially common with smaller children as they can be hard to see.
- Crosswalk injuries: Pedestrians are often hit by vehicles when crossing the road at a crosswalk. These accidents can happen due to drivers not paying attention or failing to yield to pedestrians and going through the stop sign or light.
- Dart-out accidents: These usually happen when pedestrians suddenly dart out into the street without looking both ways, often in front of a moving vehicle. The driver doesn’t have time to stop, and they collide with the pedestrian.
- Hit-and-run accidents: Unfortunately, some drivers may hit a pedestrian and flee the scene, leaving the victim without help or support. This can happen more often on rural roads or highways.
- Intersection dashes: This occurs when pedestrians try to cross at an intersection, but a turning vehicle hits them. Drivers may not see the pedestrian because they are in a blind spot or may be distracted by other factors.
- Passing accidents: When drivers pass other vehicles and don’t see pedestrians on the sidewalk, it can lead to accidents.
- Turning or merging accidents: Similar to intersection dashes, pedestrians can be hit when a driver turns or merges onto a road and fails to see them.
Crosswalk Laws in Pennsylvania
While it’s not straightforward, pedestrians have the right of way, and any motorist must yield to them if they’re in a crosswalk at an unsignalized intersection. The driver must also yield if the person has a green light, a pedestrian “walk” signal, or when someone crosses at a marked trail crossing or mid-block crosswalk. However, the pedestrian must give the motorist adequate time to yield.
Pennsylvania has several laws surrounding crosswalks and pedestrians. These laws fall under Title 75, and they state:
- (a) General rule: The Pennsylvania law highlights that a pedestrian has the right-of-way in a marked crosswalk at an intersection or any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. The pedestrian has the right-of-way from the moment they enter the crosswalk.
- (b) Exercise of care: Pedestrians must be careful and look out for themselves when crossing the street in a crosswalk. This means paying attention to their surroundings and ensuring they are safe from any cars or other vehicles driving nearby.
- (c) Vehicle passing limitation: When a car is stopped at a crosswalk to let a person cross the street, another vehicle is not allowed to go around and pass the stopped car. This is because it can be dangerous for the person crossing the street if another car tries to go around the stopped car. Drivers must wait until it’s safe to pass and not endanger pedestrians.
- (d) Application of section: This rule is for all the places where people cross the street, whether there are stop signs or traffic lights. It means that drivers always have to be careful and watch out for pedestrians crossing the road, especially in these areas called crosswalks.
- (e) Penalties: The penalties for violating this section include a fine of up to $50, plus court costs. However, if the violation causes serious bodily injury or death to the pedestrian, the penalty increases to a fine of up to $1,000 and a 90-day suspension of the driver’s license.
The 2001 amendments to this section also included the addition of subsection (c), which stops a driver from overtaking or passing another vehicle that is stopped at a crosswalk for a pedestrian. This subsection is intended to prevent dangerous situations where a driver may not see a pedestrian crossing and attempt to pass the stopped vehicle.
Hit and Run Pedestrian Accidents
It can be challenging to understand why anyone would strike a pedestrian and flee the accident scene, but it happens more often than you think. The legal consequences of a hit and run, especially when the person sustains injuries, can be severe. A few reasons these accidents happen include the following:
- Driver panics — Sometimes, drivers may panic and flee the scene because they’re afraid. They usually base the decision to drive off on a split-second instinct.
- Under the influence — Alcohol and being over the legal limit cause roughly 30% of all collisions in the United States. If a driver is under the influence during the crash, they may leave to avoid further charges.
- Driver has legal troubles — If a driver who strikes a pedestrian is already in legal trouble, they may leave the scene to avoid police. For example, they could have an invalid driver’s license or a warrant.
- Underinsured — Pennsylvania law requires all drivers to have auto insurance. If the driver is underinsured or doesn’t have insurance, they may flee.
In Pennsylvania, the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident that causes death or injury must stop and stay at the scene until EMS arrives. Even if the accident resulted in no injuries, the driver has to give their address and name, and they have to present their license and registration.
Any driver caught and convicted of causing a hit-and-run accident with a fatality can face between 1 and 10 years in prison. This is a second-degree felony with fines of up to $2,500.
Serious Bodily Injury Laws
If you were the victim of a hit-and-run accident that resulted in severe bodily injuries, the court will charge the driver with a third-degree felony. If the driver is convicted, they face a minimum of 90 days in prison and a $1,000 fine.
Children as Pedestrians
It’s important to teach children about pedestrian safety from a young age. Children are often at a higher risk for pedestrian accidents because they may not have the same awareness or understanding of traffic laws as adults. You should teach them about the following:
- Use crosswalks: Teach your children to always use crosswalks when crossing the street, even if it means walking a little further to get to one.
- Be aware of surroundings: Encourage your children to be mindful of their surroundings when walking and to avoid distractions like talking on the phone or listening to music with headphones.
- Hold hands: For younger children, holding their hands when walking near traffic or in busy areas is essential. This will help ensure they don’t run into the street or get separated.
- Lead by example: One of the most effective ways to teach your children about pedestrian safety is to model safe behavior yourself. Always use crosswalks, look both ways before crossing the street, and be aware of your surroundings when walking with your children.
What Should a Pedestrian Do If They Have Been Hit By a Car?
If a car hits you, there are a few things you should do right away to help ensure the best outcomes for yourself and any potential claim. You should:
Stay Calm and Figure Out of You Have Injuries
You want to stay calm, as this will help you assess your injuries and determine what happened to cause the accident. Next, figure out if you have any injuries that may prevent you from moving. If you’re able, move out of the street. If you can’t move, ask someone to call 911.
Call Law Enforcement
Witnesses will most likely call the police, or the driver may have. If not, ask someone to call because you’ll need them to file a report, whether you have injuries or not. This will usually alert emergency services, too, so they can check for injuries.
Get the Driver’s Relevant Information
Get the driver’s contact information, name, and license plate number. Ideally, all involved parties will stay at the scene until the police arrive. While you must talk to the driver, avoid discussing fault because they can use this against you later.
Take pictures as soon as you’re able after the accident. Photograph the accident scene, where you got hit, and any speed signs or anything your West Chester pedestrian accident attorney could use later as evidence. If there are witnesses, get their contact information and names. You also want to keep the clothing you have on in the condition they are in after the accident.
Write down everything you can remember leading up to your accident, during, and after the collision. Doing this as soon as possible ensures you’ll capture critical details that may blur over time.
Get Medical Attention
If EMS didn’t come to the scene, it’s a good idea to go to the hospital for medical attention. Have the doctor note any bruises, scrapes, cuts, or shock, as this can strengthen the case your West Chester pedestrian accident attorney builds for you.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Your insurance company may offer coverage under the uninsured motorist clause if the driver doesn’t have insurance. You’ll have to answer the adjuster’s questions, and you want to do so truthfully. Again, don’t discuss fault, don’t agree to a settlement, don’t sign any forms, and don’t discuss fault without speaking to an attorney.
Retain an Attorney
You should contact a pedestrian accident lawyer in West Chester whenever you have an accident. They can help you determine if you have a case, and they can represent you in court.
Why Choose Wilk Law for a Pedestrian Accident Claim?
- We strive not only to help our clients get their life back on track physically and emotionally but also to make sure that they have the compensation they need for their ongoing financial obligations.
- We make sure that our clients are protected from predatory insurance companies and that they receive individualized attention from their pedestrian accident attorney in West Chester throughout the entirety of their case.
- We have recovered significant settlements and jury verdicts on behalf of clients throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
How Will an Attorney Help a Pedestrian Accident Case?
An attorney is going to be your advocate throughout your entire claim. They will handle:
- Gathering the evidence needed to prove liability
- All communication with insurance carriers and attorneys for the defendant
- Calculating your total expected losses with assistance from economic and medical experts
- Negotiating with the insurance carriers to ensure you recover maximum compensation
- Preparing the claim for trial if necessary to ensure you are treated fairly
Pedestrian Accidents Can Cause Severe Injuries
Data available from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation shows that there were nearly 3,000 total pedestrian crashes across the Commonwealth during the latest reporting year. Out of these incidents, there were 146 fatalities and 2,788 total injuries. When we look at this data, we can see that most of the pedestrian crashes reported to state authorities resulted and either an injury or fatality.
Unfortunately, pedestrians do not have much protection from the force of a vehicle slamming into them. At Wilk Law, our West Chester personal injury lawyers regularly help clients who have sustained the following types of injuries in these cases:
- Severe lacerations or road rash
- Internal organ damage or internal bleeding
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord trauma
- Broken or dislocated bones
- Significant scarring or disfigurement
Compensation Available for a West Chester Pedestrian Accident
There may be various types of compensation available to pedestrian accident victims in West Chester. Our attorneys work diligently to recover complete compensation for our clients’ economic and non-economic damages. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Complete coverage of medical bills related to the pedestrian crash
- Lost income if a victim cannot work while recovering
- Property damage expenses
- General household out-of-pocket costs
- Loss of enjoyment of life damages
- Pain and suffering damages
West Chester, PA
If you find yourself in West Chester, PA, there are plenty of things to do on foot. First, you can explore the historic downtown area with charming shops, restaurants, and cafes. Then, stroll through the beautiful Everhart Park, or visit the West Chester University campus.
For those looking for a bit more adventure, take a hike along the Creek in nearby Brandywine Valley or visit the American Helicopter Museum. Remember, always be cautious and aware of your surroundings when walking near roads with cars to minimize the risk of accidents.
Contact Wilk Law Today For A Free Consultation
When you need a pedestrian accident lawyer in West Chester, you can contact us using our contact form or call us at (855) 938-1757.