What Are My Legal Rights If I Was Hit by a Car While Walking?
Walking is great exercise and a pleasant, healthy way of getting around. But when pedestrians and motor vehicles share the roads, a pedestrian being hit and seriously injured by a car or truck becomes a real possibility. As seen by our Philadelphia car accident attorneys, a car hitting a human body is likely to cause devastating injuries or death, a terrible price to pay for enjoying a stroll about town! If you enjoy walking, you may be wondering what your rights are if you should be hit by a car while walking…or perhaps this has already happened to you or a family member.
If you are hit by a car and are able, or if you have a companion with you who observed the accident and can help, you should get the name, insurance company, and license plate number of the car that hit you, assuming that it stopped, as the law requires. You should also get the names and contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident and call the police to report it. If possible, photograph the car, showing the point of impact. Of course, if you are alone and badly injured, none of this may be possible. You will have to hope that someone calls the police, who will get the needed information, and an ambulance to transport you to the hospital. Getting medical help immediately is the most important thing you can do.
WHO PAYS MY MEDICAL BILLS FOR INJURIES IN A PEDESTRIAN/CAR ACCIDENT?
That depends. If you own a car and it is insured, your no-fault insurer will pay your bills up to the coverage limits you carry. The minimum medical benefits coverage that you must have in Pennsylvania is $5,000 per person. If you have the optional lost earnings insurance, no-fault will also pay 80 percent of your regular pay after the first five days that you miss work because of your injuries.
But what if you don’t own a car? Again, that depends. If you live in a household with a family member who does have an insured car, that person’s no-fault insurance will usually cover you. If no one in your home is insured, you can file a claim under the policy of the driver who hit you, assuming that driver stopped and provided insurance information.
When your injuries are serious, the no-fault insurance is unlikely to cover all of your medical bills. Not only that, it does not cover your pain and suffering and other damages that affect your quality of life. To recover any economic or noneconomic damages not covered by no-fault will require filing a law suit against the driver, best done with the help of a very experienced and successful Philadelphia personal injury lawyer.
RECOVERING COMPENSATION FROM THE DRIVER WHO HIT YOU
In Pennsylvania, when you purchase insurance, you can choose between a full tort option, which gives you the right to sue for both economic and non-economic damages, and a less expensive limited tort option, which only allows you to recover your medical costs. But if you are injured as a pedestrian, you are automatically afforded “full tort” status.
But how do you get the medical care you need when no-fault runs out? You can use your private health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid. Your private or public insurer will need to be reimbursed from your recovery award when your lawsuit is settled for anything they paid. The other option is to ask your healthcare providers to file a lien on your recovery.
If the other driver was either uninsured or underinsured and you have purchased the optional uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, your own insurance company will stand in the place of the defendant’s.
WHAT IF I WAS PARTIALLY AT FAULT?
To collect no-fault benefits, fault is not an issue. But in a lawsuit against the driver who injured you, even if you were partly to blame for the accident, you may still be able to recover money in a lawsuit. Pennsylvania’s comparative negligence law allows you to recover a percentage of your damages equal to the driver’s percentage of fault, as long as you were less negligent than the driver.