How Do Pedestrian Accidents Happen?
October 25, 2023
Pedestrian accidents have been on the rise in Philadelphia and across the country. The latest reporting year for Pennsylvania saw nearly 4,300 pedestrian crashes, with over 4,100 injuries and 150 fatalities. Pedestrian accidents can happen anywhere, including local small-town roads and downtown cities. Just as motorists are responsible to other drivers and passengers to operate their vehicles safely and lawfully, they owe the same duty to pedestrians. When drivers practice poor driving behaviors, tragic pedestrian accidents can happen.
Pedestrian accident injuries are almost always serious. Vulnerable pedestrians are no match for the size and weight of traveling cars or trucks. When a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle in any situation, the consequences are usually life-altering. If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, an experienced attorney can help.
Alcohol is involved in almost half of all pedestrian accidents, according to the CDC. However, there are a wide range of ways pedestrian accidents happen, including:
- Speeding: Speeding is illegal and a form of reckless driving. Drivers who speed and violate other traffic laws can cause catastrophic pedestrian accidents with severe injuries.
- Distracted driving: Motorists who drive while distracted pose significant dangers for pedestrians. Distracted driving includes using a cell phone, operating a GPS, eating and drinking, talking with passengers, and any other behavior that takes a driver’s focus off the road.
- Impaired driving: Alcohol is an enormous risk factor for car accidents and pedestrian accidents. Getting behind the wheel after drinking or taking certain drugs is extremely dangerous.
- Nighttime walking: When pedestrians walk at night, they are much harder to see. Data consistently reflects that the majority of fatal pedestrian accidents happen at night.
- Turning vehicles: It is not uncommon for drivers making left-hand turns to not watch out for pedestrians crossing intersections. Also, motorists merging into traffic may not be focused on a pedestrian walking in the opposite direction.
- Back-up accidents: Drivers who are not paying attention can back up into pedestrians, particularly in parking lots.
- Unmarked streets or sidewalks: When roads and sidewalks are missing markings, it can be hazardous to drivers and pedestrians. Missing signage is also a common cause of pedestrian accidents.
- Driving recklessly for weather conditions: Motorists are responsible for adjusting their driving behavior to inclement weather conditions. When they fail to do so, pedestrians can get hit by a car.
- Poor road conditions: Road maintenance companies and government entities have a duty to maintain safe road conditions for drivers. Injured pedestrians have a right to sue third parties when there is negligence.
- Running red lights: Traffic lights indicate who has the right of way. When drivers blatantly ignore a red light, pedestrians and other motorists are in danger.
- Ignoring stop signs: Many streets use stop signs instead of traffic lights. When reckless drivers ignore stop signs, it can cause a pedestrian severe harm.
Where Do Pedestrian Accidents Commonly Occur?
Dangerous crashes often happen in areas where pedestrians have the right of way. This can include places like:
- Parking lots
Drivers who cause pedestrian accidents tend to ignore pedestrian right-of-way laws due to impatience. Even crashes at relatively low speeds can cause life-changing injuries to pedestrians.
Who Is At Risk for a Pedestrian Accident?
Every pedestrian is at risk of being involved in a traffic accident. However, certain groups of people, including children and the elderly, are at a higher risk for a pedestrian accident than others.
Twenty percent of all pedestrian accident deaths involve elderly adults over 65. Children between 10 and 14 are also at a higher risk of catastrophic pedestrian accidents. Two-thirds of all pedestrian fatalities involve males versus females. Any pedestrian who walks at night in busy parts of a town or a city is also at significant risk for a severe accident.
What Are Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries?
Pedestrian accident injuries are typically severe and require intensive medical treatment. When pedestrians are hit by large vehicles, such as SUVs and commercial trucks, they are twice as likely to suffer fatal injuries.
Common pedestrian accident injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones and fractures
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Neck injuries
- Soft tissue issues
- Cuts and lacerations
Who Is Liable for a Pedestrian Accident?
Drivers owe a duty of care to pedestrians to operate their vehicles responsibly and safely. In most cases, when a pedestrian is hit by a car, the vehicle’s driver is considered to be at least partially at fault. If a pedestrian is struck by a car in a crosswalk, the driver is almost always considered at fault because the pedestrian has the right of way. If you were hurt in a pedestrian accident, a skilled attorney can help you identify all liable parties in pursuit of maximum compensation.
Potentially liable parties for a pedestrian accident include:
- Negligent drivers
- Auto repair shops
- Entities responsible for road conditions
- Commercial trucking companies
Pennsylvania law provides that when a collision between a car and a pedestrian occurs within a marked crosswalk or at an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, there may be an inference that the driver did not exercise due care for the safety of the pedestrian.
It is important to note that pedestrians must also look both ways before crossing and using designated crosswalks when appropriate. Walkers who dart into the road do not allow drivers the chance to avoid pedestrians.
We Protect the Rights of Injured Pedestrians
Galfand Berger LLP has a reputation for success in helping pedestrians recover significant compensation after being injured in an accident.
One of our past cases:
- $1,500,000 recovery for injured pedestrian: Our client directed traffic at a job site. When he was struck by a car, he suffered a closed head injury and lost his leg. We challenged the driver’s insurance company after coverage was denied and won at trial. Following the trial win, the driver’s insurance company settled the matter for $1,500,000.
Our Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP Fight for the Rights of Injured Pedestrians
Contact our Philadelphia car accident lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP if you were injured in a pedestrian accident. Our legal team can protect your rights and best interests. Call us at 800-222-USWA (8792) or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, Pennsylvania, we serve clients in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Allentown and Harrisburg.