What Are a Pedestrian's Rights When Struck by a Motor Vehicle?

What Are a Pedestrian's Rights When Struck by a Motor Vehicle?

Posted By Law Offices of Thomas J. Murphy || 6-Jun-2011

A pedestrian has the right of way within a crosswalk, as long as the pedestrian is not crossing the street on a red light. As long as the pedestrian is within the crosswalk and is crossing the street with a green light, all vehicles must yield the right of way to the pedestrian. If a pedestrian is hit by a moving vehicle while the pedestrian is walking in the crosswalk with a green light, the driver of the vehicle is negligent. There is a crosswalk at every intersection, even if the municipality or state has failed to paint the white crosswalk lines on the street.

The opposite is true outside of the crosswalk. If a pedestrian crosses a street in the middle of a block, the pedestrian must yield the right of way to vehicles. Drivers of motor vehicles have the right of way in the travel lanes in the middle of the block. If a pedestrian is struck while crossing the street in the middle of the block and not within a crosswalk, chances are the pedestrian's comparative negligence will be greater than the driver's negligence and the pedestrian may not be able to successfully bring a personal injury claim against the driver for the pedestrian's injuries.

If a person is struck by a motor vehicle while a pedestrian, that person will have full tort rights to pursue a personal injury claim, even if that person would otherwise be bound by a limited tort selection on his or her automobile insurance policy or the applicable household vehicle automobile insurance policy. One of the exceptions to Limited Tort is if a person is struck by a motor vehicle while that person is a pedestrian. Full tort rights will enable the injured pedestrian to pursue compensation for personal injuries, no matter the extent of the injuries sustained in the accident. Of course, the injured pedestrian must still prove that the vehicle driver's negligence for the accident was greater than the pedestrian's negligence to prevail on a personal injury claim.

A pedestrian that does not own a vehicle and is not an insured under a household relative's automobile insurance policy, may be able to have his or her medical expenses paid by the insurance policy insuring the vehicle that struck the pedestrian, regardless of fault. If you are a pedestrian struck by a motor vehicle and you don't have any automobile insurance to pay your medical bills, Pennsylvania auto law will require the automobile insurance on the vehicle that struck you to pay your medical bills, even if you were more negligent for the accident than the driver.

If you are struck by a motor vehicle while a pedestrian or on a bicycle, you should always consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer to determine whether you have the right to pursue a claim against the driver's insurance carrier for personal injuries or medical expenses and lost wages.