Three Lynchburg, Virginia (VA), pedestrians went to hospitals with injuries after a suspected drunk driver ran out of this lane and struck them in the predawn hours of July 2, 2017. The wreck happened in the 3100 block of Fort Avenue at around 2:20 am.
According to police, the at-fault driver hit the pedestrians from behind as they walked in the bike lane. One of the people sustained injuries described as “significant” and needed to be airlifted to the University of Virginia Medical Center. The other two injured pedestrians were treated at a Lynchburg hospital and released within 24 hours.
A preliminary charge for driving under the influence was filed against the man who caused the rear-end collision. Additional charges are expected after the investigation into the crash concludes.
Excessive drinking plays a role in many wrecks that leave pedestrians injured. During 2015, according to statistics compiled by the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles, 1,718 pedestrians needed medical treatment after getting hit by a driver in Virginia. About 15 percent, 253, of those incidents involved alcohol. In all, 4,917 alcohol-related crashes occurred on Virginia roads and highways in Virginia during 2015.
A primary danger of driving drunk is that intoxication makes staying in one’s lane difficult. This puts pedestrians at risk, which Virginia lawmakers recognize by setting a minimum passing distance of at least three feet for bike riders and walkers. A summary of the relevant statute that appears, with emphasis, on the VDOT webpage dedicated to bicycling and walking safety states, “Motorists must approach and pass a bicyclist at a reasonable speed at least three feet to the left of the bicyclist and shall not again proceed back to the right side of the highway until safely clear of such overtaken bicycle.”
The pedestrians injured by the alleged dink driver in Lynchburg should consult with a Virginia personal injury lawyer who has experience representing victims of DUI accidents. Since multiple people will have claims against the at-fault driver’s insurance, alternate forms of coverage will need to be explored, as will the possibility of seeking punitive damages that are not subject to automobile insurance coverage limits. All the evidence police collect while building their case for a DUI conviction can be used in supporting claims for payment of medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.