Look Both Ways: A Comprehensive Guide to Pedestrian Injury Cases in Crosswalks and Intersections

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Whether you are on a morning jog, heading to work, or simply taking a leisurely stroll, being a pedestrian does not exclude you from the right of way. Pennsylvania law explicitly grants pedestrians the right of way when walking in crosswalks and intersections, emphasizing the responsibility of drivers to yield. In the event of an injury in these areas, understanding the legal process is paramount.  The trial attorneys at Lupetin & Unatin, LLC, are here to assist you in navigating the complexities of crosswalk and intersection cases under Pennsylvania law.

In Pennsylvania, pedestrians generally have the right of way in crosswalks and at intersections. Drivers are obligated to yield to pedestrians lawfully using these spaces, whether marked or unmarked.

“When traffic-control signals are not in place or not in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.” 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 3542(a).

However, this right of way does not absolve pedestrians from exercising due care for their own safety.

“No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close as to constitute a hazard.” 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 3542(b).

Pedestrians are also expected to follow traffic control signals, waiting for walk signals at intersections with traffic lights. Conversely, drivers must yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk or intersection, irrespective of the traffic signal. Prohibitions on jaywalking ensure that pedestrians use designated crossing areas, minimizing the risk of accidents. Drivers must remain vigilant, but pedestrians also bear the responsibility of adhering to marked crosswalks and traffic signals.

For instance, the case of Coughlin v. Massaquoi, 170 A.3d 399 (Pa. 2017) highlights that pedestrians must avoid crossing when unfit to do so.  In that case, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court admitted evidence of a pedestrian’s intoxication even without eye-witness corroboration.  Ultimately, the Court emphasized that both drivers and pedestrians share the responsibility of preventing accidents by exercising caution and awareness.

In the unfortunate event of a pedestrian injury, proving liability is essential for legal recourse. Gathering evidence, including witness statements, business and traffic camera footage, and police reports, is pivotal. Documenting conditions at the time of the incident is crucial, and seeking guidance from legal professionals specializing in personal injury cases is strongly advised.

In fact, the trial attorneys at Lupetin & Unatin, LLC, are no strangers to litigating pedestrian injury cases.  In 2022, Brendan Lupetin was able to secure a near million-dollar settlement in a case where a woman was struck and killed by a shuttle bus while walking in an unmarked crosswalk.  Despite the defense denying liability, Brendan was able to leverage the rule of law to gain a favorable settlement for the woman’s estate.

Navigating pedestrian injury cases in Pennsylvania’s crosswalks and intersections requires a nuanced understanding of both pedestrian rights and driver obligations. By being aware of the intricacies in Pennsylvania’s laws, individuals can proactively enhance their safety and, if needed, seek legal remedies following a pedestrian-related incident. Lupetin & Unatin, LLC, stands ready to provide invaluable guidance and support throughout this challenging process, ensuring your rights are protected in the pursuit of fair compensation.

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