Pedestrian accidents in PA can lead to severe injuries. The reality is that pedestrians have very little protection from the force of a vehicle, and they often sustain a secondary impact with the ground that leads to additional injuries. Here, we want to discuss whether or not a pedestrian can ever be at fault for an accident. The reality is that these incidents have to be thoroughly investigated in order to properly assign liability.
Examining Fault After a Pedestrian Crash in Pennsylvania
When we examine data available from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, we can see that there were more than 4,100 total pedestrian crashes during the latest full reporting year across the Commonwealth. We do want to point out that there was a significant drop in pedestrian accidents in 2020 (only 2,831), but this was likely due to the COVID-19 lockdowns that occurred throughout much of the year that kept people mostly indoors.
The data further breaks down the top related pedestrian actions when these incidents occurred, and this includes:
- Entering or crossing a specified location like a crosswalk
- Walking, running, jogging, or playing
- Standing near vehicle
- Approaching or leaving a vehicle
How Could a Pedestrian be At Fault?
There are a variety of ways that a pedestrian can actually cause a collision. In situations where a pedestrian is at fault, they may not be able to recover any compensation for their injuries. In fact, the driver of the vehicle may be able to file a lawsuit against the pedestrian for any property damage or injuries.
Some of the ways where a pedestrian may be liable for collisions include the following:
- If a pedestrian walks into the path of an oncoming vehicle
- A pedestrian leaving a place of safety to enter the roadway
- Crossing highways or other busy roadways where there are no traffic controls or crosswalks
- Walking along bridges, highways, or other areas where pedestrians are prohibited
- Crossing a road outside of a crosswalk
- Crossing a road against traffic control signals
- Failing to look before crossing a street
- Horse playing near the roadway
What About Partial Liability?
There may be circumstances where both a driver and a pedestrian share liability for a collision. Pennsylvania operates under a “modified comparative negligence” system. This means that an individual can recover compensation if they were less than 51% at fault for causing their own injuries. Any person 51% or more responsible for causing their own injuries will not be able to recover compensation for their losses.
However, under the modified comparative negligence statutes, an individual will receive reduced compensation based on their percentage of fault for the incident. For example, let us suppose a pedestrian crosses the street just outside of a crosswalk but is struck by a driver impaired by alcohol and drugs. In this situation, it is entirely possible that a jury will determine that the pedestrian was 20% responsible for the incident because they crossed outside of a crosswalk. If the pedestrian sustained $100,000 worth of damages, they would receive $80,000 in this scenario.
Work With an Attorney
It is crucial for a pedestrian accident victim in Pennsylvania to work with a skilled attorney who can help with every aspect of their case. An attorney can use their resources to conduct a complete investigation into the incident, obtain the evidence needed to prove liability, and help the pedestrian crash victim recover maximum compensation for their losses.