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
Contact a Knowledgeable Pedestrian Accident Attorney
If you're a pedestrian seriously injured in an accident caused by a careless or reckless driver, you may be entitled to compensation for damages. It's important to thoroughly understand your legal rights and options before making any decisions about your case.
Contact the pedestrian accident attorneys at Accident and Injury Law Group today to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation to discuss the details of your case.