City Do Not Walk sign illuminated

Who’s At Fault When a Pedestrian is Hit on a Do Not Walk Sign?

When a driver strikes a pedestrian, the immediate assumption is that the driver is at fault. However, there are instances in which a pedestrian can be found liable in an accident involving a vehicle. One area in which this may arise is when a pedestrian is hit while crossing the street on a “do not walk” sign. If you are a pedestrian who has been in one of these accidents, it’s imperative that you retain a skilled Philadelphia personal injury lawyer. Cooper Schall & Levy have you covered.

Pedestrian Negligence at Crosswalks

Everyone who uses the roads, sidewalks, and crosswalks throughout our city and state owes a duty of care to everyone around them. This means conducting themselves in a reasonably safe manner, under the circumstances, so that others are not put at an unnecessary risk of injury. The duty of care extends not just to drivers but to pedestrians. Both of these groups are required to obey traffic laws designed to keep everyone safe.

Most people are familiar with what the duty of care looks like when drivers don’t follow it: some examples are disobeying traffic laws, driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or failing to ensure that their vehicles are safe to drive. Not as many people understand the different ways that pedestrians can violate the duty of care. One prominent way involves illegally crossing at a crosswalk.

Pennsylvania law requires that pedestrians cross streets at designated crosswalks (when available) and obey traffic control devices. These devices include the ubiquitous “walk” and “do not walk” signs. A pedestrian who crosses the street against a traffic control signal – in other words, then the signal displays “do not walk” – could be found negligent. More generally, pedestrians should take reasonable precautions when walking through crosswalks. Deciding to enter at the last second may increase the risk that they get struck by a driver who, for whatever reason, may not see them.

How Pedestrian Negligence Affects Personal Injury Awards

If you were struck by a vehicle while crossing the street on a “do not walk” sign, you need to understand Pennsylvania’s modified comparative negligence rule. Under this rule, you can still seek damages in a personal injury case as long as you are less than 50% at fault. If your fault for the accident exceeds 50%, you can recover no damages, regardless of how bad your injuries are.

Assume that a pedestrian crossed the street while the traffic control device displayed “do not walk.” Also, assume that the driver who struck the pedestrian was speeding. A jury may determine that the pedestrian was 25% at fault and the speeding driver was 75% at fault.

In a case like this, because the pedestrian’s fault was less than 50%, he or she can still recover damages. However, those damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault. Suppose the pedestrian’s total damages are $100,000. That amount would then be reduced by 25%, or $25,000, to $75,000.

Defending Your Right to the Maximum Damages Available

If you’re a pedestrian who was hit by a vehicle during a “do not walk” sign, you can expect the automobile driver’s lawyer to argue that your damages should be reduced by the highest percentage possible. But perhaps you crossed when the signal said “walk,” meaning you shared no responsibility for the accident at all.

Either way, you need seasoned legal counsel who will zealously argue on your behalf and against any attempt by the defendant to shift blame to you or attempt to make you more responsible for the accident than you were. Give the personal injury lawyers of Cooper Schall & Levy a call today, or contact us online.

Pedestrian walking down the street

How to Identify the Signs of a Concussion Following a Pedestrian Accident

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that can have a significant impact on brain function, even though the effects are usually temporary. It can be the result of a blow to the head or a violent shaking of the head and upper body, both of which can occur in pedestrian accidents. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a concussion following such an accident is crucial for prompt and appropriate medical intervention.

How to Identify the Signs of a Concussion Following a Pedestrian Accident

A concussion occurs when the brain experiences trauma. As a result, there is a temporary impairment of its functions. While concussions are usually not life-threatening, they can still have various impacts on a person’s well-being. Those who have sustained a concussion may have symptoms including:

  • Headaches
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory issues
  • Balancing and coordination issues
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Light and noise sensitivity
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Mental fog
  • Confusion

If you are concerned that a friend, family member, or loved one may have sustained a concussion in a pedestrian accident, there are certain signs to look for:

  • Memory loss: The person may have trouble recalling events before or after the accident.
  • Dazed appearance: The person may seem dazed or stunned, as if in a mental fog.
  • Confusion: The person may appear confused about where they are, what happened, or what is happening.
  • Clumsy movements: The person may seem extra clumsy or unsteady due to the concussion impacting their coordination.

You may also observe the person slurring their speech or being slowed or delayed when they answer any questions you ask them. Personality change is another common head injury symptom, so be on the lookout for out-of-character irritability, agitation, or other mood changes.

It is also important to note that some of these signs and symptoms may appear soon after the injury, but the full extent of the concussion may not be immediately apparent. In some cases, symptoms may not surface until hours or even days later. This only works to underscore the importance of continuing to monitor for signs of concussion, both immediately after the accident and in the days that follow.

If you suspect a concussion following a pedestrian accident, seek immediate medical attention. A neurological examination will likely take place to evaluate things like vision, hearing, strength, sensation, balance, coordination, and reflexes. Imagining studies, such as a CT scan or an MRI may also be performed to rule out any serious brain injury. 

Depending on the severity of the concussion, observation may be necessary. Sometimes, a person may need to be hospitalized overnight for observation. Others may be observed at home. Caregivers may be instructed to periodically awaken the injured person to make sure they can awaken normally.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys

If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, get the medical attention you need and get the legal help you need to most effectively pursue your right to be fully compensated for the harm you have suffered. Reach out to the dedicated legal team at Cooper, Schall & Levy. Contact us today.

Pedestrians walking on the street

What are the Most Frequent Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?

When pedestrians are involved in a motor vehicle crash, the injuries are often devastating. Lacking the inherent protection of being inside of a vehicle, a pedestrian bears the entire brunt of an impact with a vehicle. Motorists and pedestrians alike can do their part to prevent these horrific accidents from occurring. In the hopes that learning about some of the most frequent causes of pedestrian accidents will help minimizing the chances of them occurring in the first place, let’s take a look at some of these causes here. Being aware of the dangers can be a strong first step towards prevention.

What are the Most Frequent Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?

First, let’s take a look at those pedestrian accident causing behaviors which can be exhibited by both drivers and pedestrians alike. For instance, distraction. We have all heard of the dangers of distracted driving and they are just as real and prominent as ever. A person who looks down at their phone to check a text or take a call puts others at risk, pedestrians included. In that momentary glance away from the road, a pedestrian may begin crossing the road. It only takes a moment, after all, for a devastating crash to occur. It is important to also mention the fact that distracted pedestrians are also common causes of pedestrian accidents. Pedestrians can be distracted by any number of things, phones included. When they do not have their full attention on what they are doing or where they are going, they can easily step into danger’s path.

Additionally, being impaired by drugs or alcohol can be dangerous for drivers and pedestrians as well. Of course, operating a vehicle while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs and alcohol poses severe risks to many as a car stands to cause devastating in an accident. Impairment means that a driver is operating a vehicle with impaired judgment and impaired reaction time, among other dangerous side effects of drugs and alcohol. While a pedestrian may not be able to wreak the same kind of havoc an impaired driver can, it is dangerous nonetheless. Pedestrians impaired by drugs or alcohol also can experience impaired judgment and delayed reaction times. That is why pedestrian impairment will sometimes play a contributing factor in a pedestrian accident.

Reckless driving and walking behaviors are also common factors in pedestrian accidents. Drivers who speed, ignore traffic signals, and make other dangerous driving choices will often cause accidents, pedestrian accidents included. On the other side of things, pedestrians that do not use crosswalks, ignore traffic signals, and run out into traffic will also put themselves and others at risk of accident involvement.

Other common causes of pedestrian accidents include:

  • Road construction
  • Inclement weather
  • Low visibility (particularly at night)
  • Vehicles making left turns

Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys

Have you been injured in a pedestrian accident? Do not delay in reaching out to the trusted personal injury team at Cooper, Schall & Levy for assistance. Contact us today.