Bergeron Law Firm – Serving all of Northern VA
Almost everyone is a pedestrian at some time. You’ve been crossing streets since you were young and probably don’t give it much thought. Pedestrians are particularly vulnerable to moving traffic around them. Most pedestrian-vehicle incidents occur at intersections and on roadways without sidewalks. Remember, when you are walking, there is nothing between you and moving vehicles on roads, in parking lots, and even on sidewalks. It is your job to be vigilant and keep yourself safe when walking.
A few important statistics:
- In 2015 there were 5,376 pedestrians killed in traffic crashes.
- On average, a pedestrian was killed nearly every 1.6 hours and injured more than every 7.5 minutes in traffic crashes in 2015.
- In 2015, pedestrian deaths accounted for 15 percent of all traffic fatalities.
- Twenty-six percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred from 6 to 9 pm.
- In 2015, more than one-fifth (21%) of children 14 and younger killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians.
- In 2015, 90 percent of pedestrians killed in traffic crashes involved single vehicles.
- Nineteen percent of the pedestrians killed in 2015 were struck in crashes that involved hit-and-run drivers.
- Last year in Virginia, 1,608 people reported being struck as pedestrians (VDOT)
Some rules in Virginia
Under Virginia law, motorists must yield when they encounter pedestrians:
- Walking in a marked crosswalk
- Walking in an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection
- Walking at any intersection where the speed limit is 35 mph or slower
- Following control signals, such as WALK/DON’T WALK
Motorists must stop and yield to pedestrians using a sidewalk when entering or exiting a driveway or private road. Motorists must take reasonable steps to avoid striking pedestrians who are walking on the road where no sidewalks exist.
But Virginia law also includes a doctrine called “contributory negligence.” This means that if you, as a pedestrian, were negligent and your negligence contributed to causing the injuries you suffer in a vehicle-pedestrian collision, you could be barred from recovering any damages, even if the driver of the vehicle was also negligent. As an example, an insurance company may argue that you were struck because you were illegally crossing the road, away from a readily available crosswalk, or you were distracted by texting (“distracted walking”) and did not see the car approaching.
For reasons like this, it is important that you work with a personal injury lawyer who has extensive experience in pedestrian accidents. Steve Bergeron understands the law, how to investigate your case, and how to counter an insurance company’s attempts to assign fault to you for your injuries.
Pedestrian injury claims
Pedestrians can suffer devastating injuries when struck by a vehicle, including:
- Internal injuries to organs
- Skull fractures
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
Understanding your rights
If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian-vehicle accident through the recklessness or negligence of a driver, you may be entitled to monetary damages under Virginia law. Victims deserve fair compensation for their injuries. Damages may include compensation or reimbursement for:
- Past, current and future medical costs
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral expenses
Get help from the Bergeron Law Firm
A pedestrian-vehicle accident can change your life, raising difficult questions and challenging problems. Steve Bergeron understands the challenges that pedestrian accident victims and their families face and can explain your legal rights and the applicable law, and investigate your accident to determine if there is sufficient evidence to make a claim against the person that caused your injury.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian-vehicle accident caused by the negligence of another, you may be able to seek compensation for the damages related to your injuries. Steve Bergeron will work with your doctors, other medical providers, and insurance companies to understand and explain the nature and extent of your injuries and its impact on your life. Steve will also investigate potential insurance coverages that might be available to reimburse you for your expenses and damages to try to help you solve the real-world problems caused by your accident, so you can focus on getting well and getting back to your life.
So, before you speak with an insurance adjuster about your pedestrian accident and injuries, give Steve a call. He’ll do his best to the explain the applicable law, your legal rights, insurance coverages, and give you his best advice on whether you have a personal injury claim against another and how you can try to solve the problems caused by your injuries so that you can focus on your treatment and getting back to a meaningful life.