In Center City, Philadelphia, there are often cars or vans illegally parked on sidewalks or in crosswalks blocking pedestrians’ paths. The illegally parked cars or vans may be making deliveries or performing maintenance work on the street.
I represented a woman who was injured by a van parked on a sidewalk. My client was lawfully walking on a public sidewalk in Philadelphia going to a doctor’s appointment. On the sidewalk she was walking on, a van was parked directly in front of her path. As my client walked around the van on the driver’s side, the van door suddenly opened without warning and smashed into the right side of my client’s face. As a result of the forceful impact, she was knocked to the ground and sustained debilitating injuries to the right side of her face, including her eye, teeth, mouth and jaw.
My client temporarily lost her vision after the incident and was diagnosed with temporomandibular joint synovitis, also known as TMJ. She also lost a couple of her teeth and required a root canal to one of the teeth. Because of the TMJ, my client had pain and tenderness in her face. When she tried to chew or open her mouth, she would feel significant discomfort. In addition, the van door knocked her jaw out of place.
We sued the van driver, whose insurance company vigorously defended the lawsuit. We argued that the van was illegally parked on the sidewalk and that the driver was negligent by not looking to see if a pedestrian was coming before opening his door.
Though my client was not driving her car, the defendant’s insurance company argued that her limited tort status on her car insurance policy applied in this situation.
If an insured has limited tort on her car insurance policy, she generally cannot sue for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, unless one of the exceptions pursuant to the PA Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law applies. One of the exceptions is that if the injured insured sustained “serious” injuries, she may bring a lawsuit against the driver at fault. To read more about PA’s limited tort v. full tort status on car insurance policies, see Pennsylvania's Limited Tort - When You Can Sue for Pain and Suffering
However, in my client’s situation, her limited tort did not apply because she was a pedestrian. In a 2005 Pennsylvania pedestrian-car accident case, the Supreme Court held that an injured pedestrian’s tort status on his/her car insurance policy is not applicable in a pedestrian car accident. L.S. v. Eschbach, 583 Pa. 47 (2005).
After the defendant’s insurance company finally understood the law, we were able to settle the case for a very favorable confidential settlement.
Related Car-Pedestrian Accident Result: PA Pedestrian Car Accident Case Settles Favorably For The Injured Pedestrian
If you were hit by a car in PA while you were walking, you may be entitled to compensation. For a free consultation, call the PA car accident injury lawyers at White and Williams @ 877.944.8396.