Pedestrian accident claims involve devastating injuries. If you or a family member have been injured in a pedestrian accident caused by a motorist, contact us.
There are state and local laws and ordinances that govern how and where pedestrians may walk and how and where they may cross the street. If there is no sidewalk, then pedestrians may be allowed to walk on the hard surface of the road staying to the left. Drivers are, of course, required to change course in order to avoid contact with a pedestrian. A pedestrian in a clearly marked crosswalk is entitled to protection.
Every year thousands of pedestrians are killed in motor vehicle crashes. Prompt and thorough investigation of these claims is critical. Once the facts have been gathered and the applicable law has been reviewed then a plan of action can be set out. Most pedestrian accidents involve some eye witnesses. It is critical to locate and interview those witnesses promptly.If you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian accident you need to move quickly to protect your rights.
Pedestrians who are struck in a crosswalk or at an intersection have special protection in the law. Pedestrian collisions that occur outside of an intersection or crosswalk become more problematic but still may be viable claims depending on the specific facts of the case. Crossing in between intersections or outside of a crosswalk may be permissible in some instances. The specific facts of your case must be fully developed.
In Virginia in 2012 100 pedestrians were killed and another 1862 pedestrians were injured. Pedestrian injury cases require a thorough inspection of the scene. Google Maps may give you an overview of the scene. There is no substitute for visiting the scene with your client. Photographs of the area from all angles are a must. Measurements of the roadway and the distance from all pertinent structures must be taken. Having your client with you for this inspection is critical. Ideally the inspection should take place on the same day of week and time as the collision.
There are several Virginia statutes that may apply. Section 46.2-923 requires that pedestrians cross at intersections or marked crosswalks wherever possible. Where intersections do not contain marked crosswalks a pedestrian shall not be guilty of contributory negligence as a matter of law for crossing at such intersection or crossing between intersections when crossing by the most direct route. Section 46.2-924 requires drivers to yield to any pedestrian crossing at a clearly marked crosswalk, at any regular pedestrian crossing included in the prolongation of the lateral boundary lines of the adjacent sidewalk at the end of a block, or any intersection where the legal maximum speed does not exceed 35 mph. There are number of other code sections that deal with pedestrian crossing.
The case law on pedestrian injury cases is varied. Some general principles that stand out are:
-the duty of lookout is not an absolute duty on the part of the pedestrian but rather is a duty of care to see what is there to be seen;
-motorists must exercise a greater degree of vigilance at intersection because pedestrians have superior rights;
-a pedestrian crossing with the traffic light has the right-of-way which continues if the light changes while the pedestrian is crossing;
-where the pedestrian has the right-of-way it puts the necessity of continuous observation on the motorist;
-where a minor pedestrian is present then the driver must increase vigilance recognizing that the child may engage in unpredictable behavior.
Walking has been heavily promoted in recent years as a way to reduce health risks, obesity and greenhouse gases. Four of the heavily populated states accounted for 43% of pedestrian deaths. Delaware and Florida have the highest per capita pedestrian death rate.
The six factors that appear to be most related to pedestrian deaths are:
Some safety measures begun by localities are such things as pedestrian safety islands, longer pedestrian signal timing and more visible crosswalks. Increased education on pedestrian safety is also critical. Pedestrian rights and pedestrian safety must be emphasized with young drivers and inexperienced drivers. Without this, pedestrian collisions will simply continue to rise.
The city council in the District of Columbia recently enacted new legislation giving greater protection to pedestrians, bicycle riders and other persons using a non-motorized vehicle on the public highway. The protection comes in the form of converting the contributory negligence law in the District of Columbia as to those users to what is called comparative negligence.
The specific language in the statute is: “The negligence of a pedestrian, bicyclist, or other non-motorized user of a public highway involved in a collision with a motor vehicle shall not bar the plaintiff’s recovery in any civil action unless the plaintiff’s negligence is:
Contact Brien Roche who has over 40 years of experience in personal injury litigation, serving the Fairfax, Va. and Washington D.C. area.
For more information on pedestrian accidents see also the page on Wikipedia dealing with pedestrians.