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What a Pedestrian Hit by a Car in Philadelphia Needs to Know

Posted on April 18, 2023

Pedestrian accidents are unfortunately common in Philadelphia and can be terrifying experiences. If you are hit by a car while crossing the street, walking on the sidewalk, jogging, etc., it is essential to know what steps to take to ensure your safety and how to protect your legal rights. 

What to Do After a Pedestrian Accident 

The steps you take after a pedestrian accident are critical: 

  1. Seek Medical Attention: Call 911 if you are severely injured so you can be treated and transported to the hospital. However, even if your injuries seem minor, still have them checked out as soon as you leave the scene.
  2. Document the Scene: If you are able to safely do so, document the accident. Take pictures and videos of the area, the vehicles involved, your injuries, and any other relevant details.
  3. Contact the Police: If you call 911, an officer will arrive to create an accident report. If you did not find it necessary to call 911, still notify the police. An accident report can be critical to holding the at-fault driver accountable.
  4. Exchange Information: Ask the parties involved for their contact and insurance information.
  5. Talk to Witnesses: If there were any witnesses to the accident, ask for their contact information and if they can provide a statement.
  6. Contact a Lawyer: Contact an experienced Philadelphia pedestrian accident attorney who can help you understand your rights and guide you through the legal process.

How to Recover Compensation after Being Hit by a Car in Philadelphia

You typically have the option to file two types of claims. The first is a personal injury protection (PIP) claim with your own auto insurance company or the insurance company of a family member, regardless of who was at fault. A PIP claim will cover medical expenses, lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses. The minimum PIP coverage required by law is $5,000 per person. If your losses exceed the maximum coverage provided by the policy, you may file a PIP claim under the at-fault driver’s insurer. However, if your losses are still not completely covered, you may file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver for additional compensation. 

What Types of Compensation Can I Recover in a Pedestrian Accident Claim?

In a pedestrian accident claim in Philadelphia, you may be entitled to the following various types of compensation:

Medical Expenses

This includes all medical costs associated with treating injuries sustained in the accident, such as hospital bills, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and anticipated future treatment.

Lost Wages

If you are unable to work due to your injuries, you may be compensated for the income you have lost, including both past and future earnings.

Pain and Suffering

You may be entitled to compensation for the physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish caused by the accident and your injuries.

Permanent Disability or Disfigurement

If the accident results in permanent disability or disfigurement, you may receive compensation for the lasting impact on your quality of life and earning potential.

Loss of Consortium

Your spouse or partner may be entitled to compensation for the loss of companionship and support if your injuries have affected your relationship. 

Property Damage

If your personal property, such as clothing or belongings, is damaged in the accident, you may be compensated for the cost of repair or replacement.

How Much Is My Pedestrian Accident Claim Worth?

The types and amount of compensation available in a pedestrian accident claim can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case, including the severity of the injuries, the extent of the damages, and the liability of the responsible party. For example, on average, settlements range from tens of thousands for minor injuries to $1 million or more for severe injuries, such as traumatic brain or spinal cord injuries. 

How Long Do I Have to File a Pedestrian Accident Claim?

Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations dictates the timeframe within which a lawsuit must be filed. In Philadelphia, the statute of limitations is two years. Essentially, this means that you have a two-year window from the date of the accident to initiate legal action against the driver responsible for your injuries. If you fail to take legal action within this stipulated time frame, your right to pursue a claim will be forfeited.

However, this deadline does not apply to insurance claims, which should not be delayed. A PIP claim should be filed with your insurance company as soon as possible after a pedestrian accident. Upon filing, you will be required to provide all medical bills, along with a comprehensive list detailing the treatments received. For lost earnings, you will most likely need to submit a year’s worth of pay stubs. Your insurer may also request an evaluation from an independent doctor to verify your injuries and treatment.

Are Pedestrians Ever at Fault for an Accident?

Pedestrians can be partially or entirely at fault for accidents in Philadelphia. Pedestrians are expected to follow the rules of the road and exercise reasonable care for their own safety. If a pedestrian fails to do so and causes an accident, they may be liable for any resulting damages or injuries.

For example, if a pedestrian runs into the street outside of a crosswalk and is hit by a car, the pedestrian may be found at fault for the accident. Similarly, if a pedestrian is intoxicated and stumbles into the street, they may also be responsible for a collision. In Philadelphia, the rule of comparative negligence will apply to each pedestrian accident case.

Under comparative negligence, the plaintiff’s (victim’s) damages are reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to them. For example, if a pedestrian is awarded $100,000 and found to be 20% at fault for their injuries, they will receive 80% of their award or $80,000. As long as pedestrians are not found to be more than 50% to blame, they can recover compensation. 

Philadelphia Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

How to Prove a Driver Is at Fault for a Pedestrian Accident in Philadelphia 

Proving a driver is at fault for a pedestrian accident requires evidence of the following four elements of negligence:

  • Duty of Care: Establish that the driver had a duty of care to the pedestrian, which means that the driver had a responsibility to exercise reasonable care to prevent harm to others while driving.
  • Breach of Duty: Evidence that the driver breached their duty of care by acting in a way that was unreasonable or unsafe, such as failing to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk, driving while distracted or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, etc.
  • Causation: Demonstrate that the driver’s breach of duty was the direct cause of the pedestrian’s injuries. This may require medical evidence to establish the extent and nature of the injuries sustained by the pedestrian.
  • Damages: The pedestrian suffered damages as a result of the driver’s negligence, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

A Philadelphia car accident attorney can help you gather as much evidence as possible, such as eyewitness statements, police reports, photographs or video of the accident scene, medical records, and any other relevant documents. This can help establish the sequence of events and hold the at-fault driver accountable.