Pittsburgh Pedestrian Accident Lawyers
Have you been seriously injured after being struck by a car in the street while walking? You are certainly not alone in this. We fully understand the pain and frustration you must be experiencing. Unfortunately, these accidents are somewhat common. A pedestrian is injured every 7.5 minutes in the U.S. and every 1.6 hours a pedestrian dies. These staggering statistics are likely to only increase as more and more cars take to the roads.
When a pedestrian is injured in a motor vehicle accident, the consequences are generally dire and severe. Unlike occupants of motor vehicles who are shielded from impact by seatbelts, airbags, and the metallic exterior of the vehicle, pedestrians are exposed and vulnerable and have no such safety protection. When a pedestrian is struck by a motor vehicle and is fortunate enough to survive the impact, they are generally left with serious life-altering bodily injuries and a myriad of collateral consequences that detrimentally impact not only their physical well-being, but their financial well-being as well.
Injured pedestrians are all too often confronted with exorbitant hospital and medical bills at the worst possible time, as such injuries usually result in substantial lost wages due to the pedestrians’ inability to return to work for an extended period of time following the accident. To make matters worse, the injured pedestrian must deal with deceptive and adversarial insurance companies and a complicated legal system fraught with technicalities and loopholes that prevent them from getting fairly compensated for all of their losses and injuries. What the injured pedestrian needs most is an experienced accident and injury attorney to protect and guide them through this hostile process, and take the financial stress off of their plate, leaving them free to recover from their injuries and adjust to post-accident life.
Why You Should Hire a Lawyer
We are a group of knowledgeable accident attorneys in the Pittsburgh area with decades of experience in diligently protecting the rights and interests of injured parties. We insist on making sure that the injured party recovers the maximum possible compensation that their injuries and losses deserve. We have an excellent reputation and proven record for recovering lucrative settlements and jury verdicts for our clients in the toughest of cases. We understand all that is at stake for our injured clients. We are highly esteemed in the legal community for our relentless approach to counteracting the ploys and tactics of the insurance companies, whose sole agenda is to prevent you from getting justly compensated for your injuries.
When we sign-on to take your case, we begin working immediately by interviewing critical eyewitnesses and first responders and collecting valuable photographs, videos, and physical evidence from the accident scene that are the foundational components of your case. All too often, law firms and injured parties fail to timely perform an early and thorough accident scene investigation which detrimentally impacts their case. Over time, physical evidence is lost or destroyed and eyewitness testimony that is vital to the case becomes forgetful and fuzzy as a result of undue delay. Our office’s early investigative approach prevents this from happening to you. Additionally, the moment you retain us, we immediately notify all the relevant insurance companies of our representation, thus preventing them from directly communicating with you and employing underhanded tactics to solicit unfavorable information from you, as they so often do. These early measures are vital to nailing your case down early and giving you the best opportunity to recover maximum dollar amount for your injuries as expeditiously as possible.
The most important thing an injured party should do is retain an experienced accident and injury attorney as soon as possible following their accident. Pennsylvania has a 2 year window following the accident within which one may pursue their case. This time period is commonly referred to as a statute of limitations. If an injured party does not file a lawsuit within 2 years of the date of their accident, they are time-barred from pursuing their case, meaning they will not be able to get compensation for their injuries. Although two years may sound like a relatively long time, it is practically no time in the legal world. Due to the catastrophic nature of a typical pedestrian’s injuries, it is not uncommon for an injured pedestrian to be released from medical treatment for a year or even longer. Furthermore, if the party who is at-fault for the pedestrian’s injuries is a governmental entity or agent thereof, the injured party has only a 6-month statute of limitations to file certain notice of claim documents to protect their case. Accidents involving governmental entities are fairly common as vehicles in public transportation are frequently at-fault for pedestrian injuries. An injured pedestrian should contact an experienced Pittsburgh personal injury attorney as soon as possible to ensure that all filing deadlines for their case are met so they do not forgo their opportunity to receive compensation for their injuries.
Becoming Whole Again After the Accident
A very common question asked by injured pedestrians is, “How will my medical bills get paid?” This makes perfect sense as most pedestrian accidents result in spinal injuries, broken bones, and traumatic head injuries. This can be a tricky matter as Pennsylvania is a “no fault” insurance state where drivers are typically required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance to cover their injuries. When a pedestrian is injured, even though they were not a passenger in a vehicle, their early medical bills are covered by the PIP coverage of the policy they carry, or on a household member’s policy on which they are specifically named. If the pedestrian does not have their own policy and are not listed on a household member’s policy, the at-fault driver’s PIP coverage takes care of the medical bills in accordance with the PIP limits they purchased.
However, due to low policy limits, PIP coverage typically does not cover the total amount of an injured pedestrian’s medical bills, and does not cover harms such as past and future lost wages, future medical costs, out of pocket expenses, pain and suffering, loss of household services, and compensation for permanent disability or impairment. To effectively capture all of the injured party’s losses, harms, and injuries, the injured party must pursue a negligence claim against the at-fault party’s bodily injury insurance coverage. All too often, an unrepresented party neglects seeking compensation for all of their economic and non-economic damages from the at-fault party. Our attorneys are painstakingly meticulous when it comes to itemizing all of our client’s damages and losses. The moment we are retained, we begin itemizing all of your monetary losses to ensure that all of the injuries and harms you suffered are taken into account when it comes time to settle your case or take it to trial. Our process and legal strategies are designed to make sure that our clients receive the maximum possible compensation for all of their injuries.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in Pittsburgh
Why are so many people hit by cars every year in and around Pittsburgh? Like other urban areas, the reasons boil down to driver error and unsafe streets. Major causes of pedestrian accidents include the following:
- Distracted drivers. Driver distractions have grown exponentially over the last 10 years. We have gone from eating and putting on make-up while driving, to practically running an office behind the steering wheel. Whether using a hands-free device or not, having conversations, sending texts, mapping directions, and scanning for that perfect song all create cognitive distractions that take the driver’s focus off the road—and particularly off the person trying to cross the street. If the driver who hit you was distracted at the time of the crash, you have a strong claim for a maximum settlement.
- Intoxicated drivers. Especially in downtown areas and around stadiums at night, drunk driving is a major problem. Impaired drivers experience slower reaction times, compromised visual perception, drowsiness, and inability to focus, creating a dangerous situation for the many pedestrians in these busy areas. Drunk drivers are more likely to run a red light and to ignore pedestrian crossings. A drunk driver would not only face liability in your accident, but would face criminal charges as well.
- Poorly marked pedestrian crossings. Even when pedestrians have a walk signal, they have to be aware that drivers may not see them entering the crosswalk, especially at night. Antsy drivers waiting for an opening to make a left turn often fail to yield to pedestrians with the right of way to cross the street. Likewise, drivers making a right turn on red are on the lookout for other cars, not pedestrians. Brighter intersections and flashing pedestrian lights can help these areas, but until we see more of them, drivers must be on the lookout.
- Visibility. Poor lighting, dark clothing, twisty roads, and steep hills all contribute to the difficulty in seeing pedestrians on the streets of Pittsburgh, but it is still the responsibility of drivers to be attentive to people walking along the side of the road or preparing to cross the street. Pedestrians can help by wearing light-colored or reflective clothing at night.
Clearly, there are times when pedestrians make poor choices and dart into traffic against a signal or where there is not a crosswalk. Pedestrians can be drunk and distracted as easily as drivers. However, because drivers are held to a higher standard of care, even if you are partially to blame for being hit by a car, you can still recover from the driver who hit you.
Frequently Asked Pedestrian Accident Questions
What Should I Do If I’m Hurt in a Pedestrian Accident?
If you’ve been injured as a pedestrian in a car crash in Pennsylvania, it’s important to keep in mind that it differs from a regular car crash in several ways. First and foremost is that you won’t be bound by the Limited Tort rule because, as a pedestrian, there’s an exception for that. The second thing is that the insurance companies treat these claims more seriously.
They are aware that as a pedestrian, you don’t have the protections as a passenger in a car. You do not have a seat belt and there’s nothing around you to protect you from the impact. As a pedestrian, the slightest of impact can cause the most serious of injuries. The insurance companies know that and they take these claims more seriously.
It’s important to hire the right attorney. Make sure that the attorney is a personal injury that will prepare your case for trial from the outset. Make sure that he or she is seasoned as a personal injury lawyer and that he or she has handled these cases in the past.
Will I have to go court after a pedestrian accident if I want financial recovery?
Pedestrian accidents can leave victims with serious, debilitating, or even disabling injuries that result in astronomical unexpected medical bills and require long periods of recuperation. Quite often, a victim isn’t able to work during recovery. Suddenly, in addition to earth-shattering physical challenges, pedestrian accident victims face devastating financial challenges as well.
Fortunately, Pennsylvania law gives victims injured in accidents caused by someone else’s negligence the ability to seek a compensation for related medical expenses, lost wages, loss of income, pain and suffering, and other damages. However, some victims may be hesitant to take legal action because of fear that doing so means they’ll have to go to court.
While it’s true that some pedestrian accident personal injury cases make it all the way to trial, the vast majority are settled long before they ever reach a courtroom.
That said, there’s no reason to be afraid of going to court if the circumstances demand it. When an insurance company or defense team refuses to take a claim seriously or make a fair settlement offer, taking the case to trial may be beneficial.
One thing’s for certain: Pedestrian accident victims need a qualified attorney who’s committed to resolving the case in the way that’s best for the client—whether that means accepting a settlement or going to court.
It’s not uncommon for accident victims with no previous experience with personal injury litigation process to feel nervous, scared, or intimidated by the idea of going to court. Not to worry: experienced personal injury attorneys work closely with their clients to ensure they’re prepared and know what to expect in the courtroom.
Aren’t pedestrian accident cases open and shut? Why do I need a lawyer?
If you were injured in a pedestrian accident, your case may seem incredibly clear cut: You were walking and a motorist struck you with a vehicle. So obviously, the motorist is responsible for both the accident and your injuries. Unfortunately, it’s not always that simple.
While motorists are often at fault for pedestrian accidents, that isn’t always so. In some situations, both the pedestrian and motorist may share liability to varying degrees.
Considering that pedestrian accidents often leave victims with catastrophic injuries, there’s far too much at stake to go through the insurance claims or litigation process alone and unprepared. A personal injury attorney with experience handling pedestrian accident insurance claims or lawsuits can help clients:
- Seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and pain and suffering.
- Find, gather, and preserve important pedestrian accident evidence.
- Determine accident liability.
- Prove the motorist was the primarily negligent party.
- Negotiate a fair settlement.
- Litigate their cases in court.
Hiring an attorney to represent your interests after a pedestrian accident may also increase your chances of receiving a larger settlement. That’s not too surprising, considering that securing legal counsel shows the at-fault party and the insurance company that you’re taking the matter seriously by relying on a qualified attorney’s negotiation skills and in-depth knowledge of personal injury law.
How Do I Pick the Right Attorney?
If you’ve been involved in an accident as a pedestrian in Pennsylvania, make sure the lawyer that you hire is a seasoned personal injury trial lawyer. Do not think about hiring an attorney who dabbles in personal injury, because your case will not be prepared for trial the way it should be. You need to see an attorney who does personal injury on a daily basis and who’s not afraid to take your case to trial if it needs to. You want an attorney that can make sure you will be getting top value if the case does settle. Attorneys who dabble in personal injury do not know what the top value of your case is and your case will not be prepared for trial. Make sure you hire a seasoned personal injury trial lawyer.
What Should I Know About Insurance Coverage?
If you’ve been hit by a car in Pennsylvania as a pedestrian, one of the things to keep in mind are that you are exempt from the Limited Tort rule in Pennsylvania. That means that you can present a claim no matter what your injuries are. Another thing to keep in mind is that you need to make sure that you seek medical attention and follow your doctor’s protocols. The third thing is make sure you hire an attorney who’s seasoned in personal injury and insurance claims. The attorney that you hire should be an attorney that will prepare your case for trial from the outset.
What If it Was a Hit and Run?
If you’ve been injured as a pedestrian in a hit and run accident and the driver cannot be located, it’s important that you make an uninsured motorist claim. There are certain requirements that must be met, so you need to make sure the accident is reported, preferably within the first 48 hours if it’s possible to do so. It’s very important that you put your insurance company on notice. In the unfortunate event that you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, there’s probably not much that any lawyer can do for you.
What if I’m injured by an inexperienced driver?
Pedestrian accidents are on the rise all across the country, and Pennsylvania is no exception. These accidents injure or kill thousands of people each year.
In fact, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, accidents involving pedestrians account for 14.5 percent of traffic crash fatalities, despite representing just 3.2 percent of reported accidents.
If you were injured in a pedestrian accident caused by an inexperienced driver, you’re not alone.
Inexperienced drivers are a leading cause of pedestrian accidents, as novice drivers are often younger, more prone to distraction, less adept at maneuvering a vehicle, and less likely to know where to look for pedestrians.
Lacking any type of significant protection, pedestrians are extremely vulnerable to injury in the event of an accident. Common pedestrian accident injuries include:
- Broken or crushed bones
- Soft-tissue injuries
- Internal bleeding or organ damage
- Psychological injuries
- Brain or spinal cord injuries
Treatment costs for such catastrophes can quickly spiral out of control. Fortunately, if you were hurt by an inexperienced driver, you may not have to bear these financial burdens on your own.
Pedestrian accident victims injured by the negligence of inexperienced drivers can file a personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation for injuries and other losses. You may be entitled to compensation for accident-related damages such as, but not limited to:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Scarring and disfigurement
An experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights and give you the information you need to make sound decisions about your case.
How do I prove a motorist drove recklessly when my injury occurred?
Pedestrian crashes are a growing problem in our state. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, they account for just 3.2 percent of reported traffic accidents, but 14.5 percent of all crash-related fatalities.
State law allows pedestrians hurt in accidents caused by negligent motorists the right to take legal action to seek compensation for their injuries, which are often serious and costly.
While it may seem obvious to the injured pedestrian that the at-fault motorist was driving recklessly at the time of the accident, the law may not see it quite the same way. This is because Pennsylvania is one of the few states that defines careless and reckless driving as separate offenses.
Under Pennsylvania law, dangerous driving behaviors such as speeding, drowsy driving, or distracted driving may be classified as “careless driving.” The term “reckless driving” is reserved for instances when the dangerous actions were deliberate, such as street racing, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
For the most part, the different classifications don’t affect an injured pedestrian’s ability to seek compensation for damages.
However, a reckless driving citation issued to the at-fault driver may enable the injured pedestrian to pursue a rarely-awarded category of compensation known as punitive damages, which are intended to punish defendants for particularly heinous conduct.
Other evidence that can help build a strong personal injury case against careless or reckless drivers includes:
- Police accident reports—although inadmissible in court, accident reports can provide personal injury attorneys with valuable information
- Dashcam or area surveillance video footage
- Statements from people who witnessed the accident
If I’m injured in a parking lot, can I hold the business accountable?
Parking lot accidents are far more common than most people realize. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), approximately 20 percent of all vehicle accidents occur in parking lots, and these incidents account for roughly 30 percent of pedestrian accidents.
In fact, research from the National Security Council shows that the more than 50,000 crashes that occur in parking lots each year lead to approximately 60,000 injuries.
Some of these, such as broken bones, internal injuries, head traumas, and spine or back injuries, can be quite serious.
When a pedestrian is injured in a parking lot accident, the first line of recourse is to file a personal injury insurance claim or lawsuit against the at-fault party, which allows an individual to pursue compensation for a wide range of damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and others. However, depending on the details of the case, the injured pedestrian may also have grounds for a premises liability claim against the business that owns the lot.
Business owners have a duty to take reasonable measures to protect customers from being injured on the premises. This duty includes installing parking lot pedestrian crosswalks in a prudent manner, and posting appropriate warning signs and traffic signals. Business owners who fail to take reasonable precautions to protect customers from harm while in their parking lots may be held partially liable for the accidents and injuries that occur.
What if I’m struck by a government or commercial vehicle?
There were 4,438 pedestrian accidents in Pennsylvania in 2016, resulting in 4,218 injuries and 172 fatalities, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
While most of those accidents involved regular passenger vehicles, some involve government or commercial vehicles. This complicates a victim’s ability to collect compensation for recovery.
Pedestrians fortunate enough to survive being struck by a government vehicle or commercial truck often require extensive medical care and rehabilitation, and costs for these services add up quickly.
When a government or commercial driver’s negligence causes a pedestrian accident resulting in serious injury, the injured pedestrian may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, damaged property, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
However, that’s not to say that bringing a personal injury claim or lawsuit against a government agency or commercial driver is without its challenges. For example, before filing a personal injury lawsuit against a government agency for injuries sustained in a pedestrian accident, the injured pedestrian is required to notify the appropriate agency within six months of the incident in question and provide specific information.
In pedestrian accident cases involving commercial vehicles, such as semi-trucks, tankers, and buses, the challenges involve the severity of the injuries, and the rigors and resources of a corporate defense. Additionally, commercial truck drivers are subject to a number of state and federal regulations that don’t apply to the average motorist. Proper evidence vital to the case—such as log books, driver qualification files, and vehicle inspection and maintenance records—needs to be obtained quickly before it’s recorded over or otherwise destroyed.
How Do Insurance Negotiations Work?
If you’ve been involved in a pedestrian accident in Pennsylvania, the insurance company of the driver that hit you will almost certainly call you seeking a recorded statement. Absolutely do not answer these questions. No good can come of it. Before you speak to anybody with the insurance company, you should speak to a personal injury attorney who’s very familiar and experienced in handling these types of claims, an attorney who will prepare your case for trial from the outset. Let he or she speak to the insurance company on your behalf.
When can a pedestrian be blamed for a collision with a car?
While drivers have a duty of care to watch out for pedestrians and to avoid hitting them if at all possible, there are times when the driver will attempt to pass blame on to the pedestrian for a crash. If he presents a strong case, the driver of the car may not be held liable, or may share blame with the pedestrian. We take a look at situations where the pedestrian may be found to be at fault for his or her injuries.
Pedestrians Do Have Responsibility
Many people believe that pedestrians always have the right of way because they are more likely to be injured in a run-in with a car. However, this is not true. Drivers cannot be expected to watch for pedestrians in areas where they are not expected to be. In particular, if a pedestrian is in violation of traffic law when he is hit, he is likely to be held at least partially responsible for the crash. Some examples of this include the following:
- Crossing in the middle of the street, outside of a crosswalk—also known as jaywalking
- Walking along a highway, bridge, or causeway where pedestrians are prohibited
- Crossing in a crosswalk, but against the signal
- Walking while distracted or intoxicated
However, even when a pedestrian is breaking a traffic law, a driver is still expected to take reasonable action to avoid hitting him. Depending on the exact circumstances of the situation, the pedestrian could be held partially or fully responsible for the accident.
Comparative Negligence in Pennsylvania
If you’re hit by a car and seriously injured in Pittsburgh, you may find yourself fighting for compensation if the driver of the car claims that you were partially to blame for the accident. Pennsylvania follows the law of comparative negligence, which means that your compensation from the other party’s insurance will be reduced by the amount you are found to be at fault.
For example, if the driver claims you crossed against the light, but the driver was found to be exceeding the speed limit, a jury may decide that the driver was 75 percent at fault and you were 25 percent at fault, so your recovery would be reduced by 25 percent. It is important to understand that the lawyer or insurance adjuster for the driver will almost always try to pin a portion of the blame on the pedestrian to reduce their monetary responsibility. You may have to argue your side and provide evidence to prove it.
Why You Need an Attorney
Unless you are offered a maximum settlement right away by the driver’s insurance company, you would be smart to consult with an attorney following a pedestrian accident. We will take a look at the circumstances, gather necessary evidence, and fight for the recovery you deserve. Do not hesitate to call the pedestrian accident attorneys at Accident & Injury Law Group when you are hit by a car in Pittsburgh.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
If you’ve been injured as a pedestrian, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. It’s important that you do not wait until the last minute. You should hire an attorney right away.
If you wait, your witnesses may get lost over a period of time. Their recollection may be not as good as it was two weeks after the accident. There are many things that can happen if you wait too long. Evidence will go stale among the many other consequences. It’s important to see an attorney right away. Make sure the attorney that you seek is a seasoned personal injury attorney who’s handled these cases in the past and will prepare your case for trial from the outset.
How Much is My Case Worth?
One of the questions we get asked a lot when people have been involved in a car accident as a pedestrian is, “What is my claim worth?” It’s just too difficult to tell what a claim is worth at the beginning to answer that question right away. There are too many factors that need to be considered including:
- How long you have treated for
- What the extent of your injuries are
- Lost wages
All those calculations need to be taken into account. As time goes on and you get close to the end of your treatment, an attorney can place a value on your case, but it will only be an approximation. There are just too many variables to consider.
Call Our Pittsburgh Lawyers Today
If you or a loved one are injured in a pedestrian accident, it is of vital importance that you retain trusted and skilled legal counsel as soon as possible. Those who do not frequently find themselves in a position where their compensation is either shortchanged or denied. Given the permanent and life-changing injuries pedestrians are prone to suffer, along with the staggering medical bills they typically incur, the injured party must retain an attorney they can completely trust as soon as possible.
We are trusted Pittsburgh pedestrian accident lawyers dedicated to ruthlessly fighting for our clients. Don’t leave your case up to chance; call us today for a free consultation. When you retain us, you will incur absolutely no fees or out of pocket expenses as we work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we don’t get paid until we win your case. Allow us to protect the financial future of you and your family. Call today!
Pittsburgh is a unique and beautiful city. With a vibrant downtown, several prestigious universities, and multiple professional sports venues, it is also a city full of pedestrians. Part of what makes our city so unique is also what makes it so dangerous for residents and visitors on foot. Our location at the intersection of three rivers, nestled in rocky hills, has resulted in steep, twisty streets that are difficult to cross safely. Combine that with the modern problems of distracted driving and late-night partying, and we see about 300 pedestrian-involved collisions, and an average of five deaths each year in the city of Pittsburgh.
Unfortunately, insurance companies are all too eager to get accident victims to quickly sign a release and agree to a low-ball settlement offer, leaving many without the means to fully recover from their serious injuries. When you work with the pedestrian accident attorneys at Accident & Injury Law Group, however, you can be confident that your rights to a fair recovery will be protected.