Though they only represent 1.3 percent of all motor vehicle crashes, statistics compiled by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) reveal that car-pedestrian accidents are still a serious problem. DMV data reports that there were 110 fatalities and another 1,571 people injured in these incidents. The physical, emotional, and financial toll is considerable, as victims and their families suffer significant losses. If you were hit by a car while crossing the street, you can rely on a Roanoke pedestrian accident lawyer?to assist with protecting your interests.
The pedestrian accident lawyers at Lugar Law PC know that filing a personal injury claim may seem like a daunting task, which is why we?re dedicated to advocating on your behalf. Please contact our office to set up a consultation, so we can explain why retaining a pedestrian accident law firm is a wise option for your situation. Call us today at (540) 384-0348 or reach out through the online form to schedule a free consultation of your case.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in Virginia – How Does Negligence Factor In?
Though the exact circumstances may vary, many incidents involving walkers and motorized vehicles share a common factor: they happen because someone was careless. In the legal field, the term used in these situations is ?negligence,? and you must prove certain facts to recover compensation for your losses. A pedestrian accident lawyer?can explain in more detail, but these elements include:
- A duty to exercise reasonable care and avoid causing a risk of harm to others
- A failure of this legal duty
- A connection between the failure of duty and the pedestrian accident
- You suffered losses
There are many examples of driver negligence as contributing causes of pedestrian accidents, such as:
- Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs
- Failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk or at an intersection
- Improper lane changes?
In addition, distracted driving is a particular concern in Virginia and throughout the United States. Texting, talking on the phone, posting on social media, looking at a roadside incident, and related activities take the driver?s eyes off the road are considered types of distracted driving. As data seems to support, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) describes what happens when a motorist sends a text or reviews an incoming message a person?s attention is directed at the phone and not on the road for an average of five seconds. That length of time and traveling 55 miles per hour is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field while blindfolded. In 2017, there were 24 pedestrian deaths, and 216 injuries linked to distracted driving in Virginia.
However, as the statistics above demonstrate, pedestrians may also engage in negligent conduct. Using a phone while walking may not get the same attention as distracted driving, but texting, surfing the internet, and taking pictures are all extremely hazardous activities while walking. Pedestrians have a duty to keep a lookout and avoid accidents and if they were negligent ? contributory negligence could prevent recovery. Other forms of pedestrian negligence may include:
- Crossing an intersection against the light
- Walking outside a marked crosswalk
- Failing to cross at an intersection
- Darting out from behind a parked vehicle
- Wearing headphones or other listening devices
Pedestrian Accident Statistics
Additional data reported by the Virginia DMV reveals the disturbing frequency of pedestrian-car accidents and related incidents. For instance:
- There were 1,608 motor vehicle crashes involving pedestrians in 2017.
- Metro areas tend to be deadlier, as there were 78 pedestrian fatalities in urban zones as compared to 36 in rural locations.
- Half of all pedestrian fatalities were victims aged 51 years or older, and 38 percent of them had been drinking at the time.
- Lighting on the roadway was a contributing factor in 41.2 percent of all fatal pedestrian accidents.
Compensation for Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Regardless of the specific reasons behind these incidents, it?s obvious that a person on-foot will suffer the greatest bodily harm versus a car in a pedestrian accident. The walker doesn?t enjoy the protective metal barrier of a vehicle, the speed and the size difference are considerable. Clearly, even compact cars are heavier and larger than someone walking.
Therefore, pedestrian accident injuries tend to be life-threatening or extremely serious. Head injuries, spinal cord trauma, and broken bones are common, while more serious incidents could lead to amputations or damage to internal organs. Fortunately, Virginia law allows you to seek compensation from the responsible driver. With the help of a pedestrian accident attorney, you may recover for such losses as:
- Medical bills for treatment, including surgery, emergency care, pain medications, physical therapy, and other health care
- Lost wages, if your injuries prevent you from working
- Pain and suffering
- Losses based upon how your injuries impact your personal relationships
- Emotional trauma
In most cases, you?ll pursue compensation through the negligent driver?s insurance company. This will be challenging, especially since insurers will fight your claim at every possible opportunity. The pedestrian accident lawyers at Lugar Law PC know the tactics that claim adjusters use to justify denials and low payouts, and will only agree to an amount that?s fair and reasonable for your needs.
One item of note in a pedestrian accident case is Virginia?s rule on contributory negligence. If your own conduct was a factor in the incident, even partially, you cannot recover any compensation for your losses. The rule is harsh for personal injury victims, but a knowledgeable pedestrian accident attorney knows the strategies to overcome these challenges. A lot of time insurance companies will attribute fault when there is not any so that an injured party may be deterred for fighting for compensation.
Contact a Roanoke Pedestrian Accident Lawyer for Help Today
An auto-pedestrian accident can leave you with devastating losses, but injured victims do have rights under Virginia law. To learn more about them, please contact Lugar Law PC to schedule a case evaluation. We can review your circumstances and explain your legal remedies. Contact us today at (540) 384-0348 to learn more.