Recovering Damages for a Road Crossing Injury
A Doylestown Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
Road crossings can be quite dangerous to pedestrians, whether or not the pedestrian is using a crosswalk or is simply making their way to the other side of the roadway without the use of a crosswalk.
If you’ve been injured while crossing the road (outside of a crosswalk), then Pennsylvania law may give you a right of action against the defendant-driver for damages, though the lawsuit may be complicated by liability conflicts, such as your own contribution of fault.
Right-of-Way and Pedestrian Road Crossings in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, right of way in pedestrian crossing scenarios depends on whether the pedestrian used a crosswalk.
Crosswalks can be marked and unmarked. Marked crosswalks are the sort that most people are familiar with — a marked crosswalk may be painted and feature various traffic signals, for example. By contrast, an unmarked crosswalk exists at any intersection. Right-of-way rules for both are the same.
Crosswalks (Marked and Unmarked)
According to Section 3542 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, the driver of a vehicle must yield right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked or unmarked crosswalk. Traffic control signals may alter the applicable right of way.
If the pedestrian is crossing the roadway at a location that is not a marked or unmarked crosswalk, then the driver has the right-of-way. In other words, the driver need not yield to the pedestrian.
Drivers Must Exercise Reasonable Care Given the Circumstances
Even if you — the pedestrian — engage in negligence by crossing the street at a location that does not qualify as a marked or unmarked crosswalk, drivers must exercise reasonable care given the circumstances. Drivers may not be required by law to give such pedestrians the right of way, but they cannot drive in such a way that exposes those pedestrians to a heightened and unreasonable risk of injury. You can hold a driver liable for injuries sustained while crossing the street at a non-crosswalk location.
Put another way, with right-of-way, the driver need not by-default yield to pedestrians, but they must yield when the circumstances call for it.
How does this work, exactly?
Suppose that you do not use a crosswalk when making a road crossing. Drivers do not have to give you the right of way under Pennsylvania law, and so they act accordingly. During your crossing, however, you are put into an extremely vulnerable position where you cannot move ahead or back — an incoming car does not slow down or come to a stop. Instead, they speed forward without consideration as to the likelihood of a pedestrian accident under the circumstances (since you cannot move out of the way). If the driver hits you, then they will almost certainly be found at-fault for your injuries.
Simply put, having the right of way does not give the driver a right to cause an injury. They must be cognizant of the circumstances on the road and take appropriate action to avoid a collision.
Contact an Experienced Doylestown Personal Injury Attorney for a Free Consultation
Here at Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC, our attorneys have decades of experience litigating claims on behalf of those who have suffered injuries due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of others.
We understand the unique burdens that injured plaintiffs must shoulder, and how confusing personal injury litigation can be for those who are unfamiliar with the process. As such, we always strive to keep the client informed about their case as litigation progresses, and to answer any questions or concerns they may have about the overall process.