I don’t know about you, but when I was young and some careless driver almost hit me, I would joke about how the person’s insurance could pay me for any injuries. Of course, as an adult I well understand it is best to avoid any car v pedestrian injury. My friends and I made such jokes before I was wise enough to understand that no amount of money could make an injury go away. Another thing we didn’t consider was that just because someone gets hit by a car, it doesn’t always mean the driver is financially responsible to the injured pedestrian.
Pedestrians Must Walk With Care
As we go about our lives, we must follow a certain standard of care. This is true whether we are driving a car, walking on a sidewalk, riding a bike down the street or engaging in any number of activities we might do on a daily basis. Just as drivers are expected to watch out for pedestrians, pedestrians are expected to be cautious, and avoid stepping in front of cars or engaging in behavior which makes it more likely that they will be hit. In a recent Philadelphia suit, a pedestrian claimed that the car which hit her was responsible for her injuries. The jury found for the defendant driver because the pedestrian stepped in front of the car in an area with no crosswalk. Therefore, the jury held, the incident was entirely the pedestrian’s fault. Keep in mind, that there are also times when you might actually share liability with the driver for your own injuries. In such a case, you may receive no compensation at all, or find your compensation substantially reduced.
Of course, the most important thing is to avoid doing anything which makes it more likely that you will get hit by a car in the first place.
Avoiding Car v Pedestrian Injuries
There are a number of steps you, as a pedestrian, can take to decrease your chances of being injured by an automobile. Most of them are common sense.
- Always check and make certain that no one is coming before you start to cross a road. In most states, including Pennsylvania, drivers are required to stop at crosswalks, but don’t assume that they will. Sometimes drivers aren’t paying attention. Others are just too aggressive and unwilling to stop.
- The law also requires that pedestrians exercise care. “No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close as to constitute a hazard.” In other words, look before you leap. Walking out suddenly in front of a car almost always results in no liability for the driver and potential liability for the walker. Never mind the possibility of a serious injury.
- Cross at crosswalks and lights. Jaywalking can be extremely dangerous. Especially in cities or areas
where traffic might come upon you suddenly. Make certain you cross in an area where people will be able to see you. Don’t rush to cross when the light changes. Drivers in cities are already ready to go when the light changes, a straggler who suddenly steps off the curve could easily get hit.
- At night, wear visible clothing. The number of people who walk on the side of the road in dark clothing is frightening. Perhaps such people do not realize how difficult it is to see someone in dark clothing at night. Or maybe they simply didn’t plan to be out. If there is any chance you will be out at dusk or after dark, try to remember to bring an article of clothing which stands out. Avoid black, dark blue and navy. These colors make it all but impossible for drivers to see you. Bright colors are best. Reflective material on jackets, shoes or clothing helps drivers see you.
- Walk on the correct side of the road. When you walk, you are supposed to walk against traffic. This allows you to better see cars coming and to respond if someone is too close to you.
- Be alert. It is very hard to hear traffic coming if you have your music blaring in your ears. It is best to avoid listening to music on headphones at all if you are walking in a street. You want to be aware of your surroundings. At least keep the volume low enough so you can hear. And don’t wear noise cancelling headphones.
- Stay single file. If you are walking with more than one person, and you are forced to walk on the road, don’t walk next to each other. Drivers do not expect to see people walking in many areas, never mind people who are talking up a fair amount of the road and the person closest to the car can easily get hit.
- Teach your children these rules. Talk to your children about safe walking. Make certain they understand that they are responsible for their own safety, and that when it comes to car v pedestrian, even if the fault is not theirs, they are the ones who will come out worse.
Injured in a Car v. Pedestrian Accident?
We hope that you never find yourself injured by a car when you are walking, running, or bicycling on the road. But if the worst happens, and you do, don’t hesitate to contact the law firm of Lowenthal & Abrams. We are here to help those hurt due to the carelessness of others.