A West Virginia man remained hospitalized in critical condition three days after getting struck by a drunk driver in the Logan County town of Verdunville. The crash happened on Mud Fork Road on the night of November 18, 2017, and it involved a second vehicle.
According to West Virginia State Police, the man was first hit by the impaired driver. The initial impact threw the man across the road and into the path of an oncoming vehicle, which also struck him. The driver of the second vehicle will not face charges.
Troopers did file an initial charge for felony driving under the influence causing serious bodily injury against the person operating the first vehicle. The alleged DUI offense reflects language in section 17C of the West Virginia Code that defines a serious bodily injury as one or more “that creates a substantial risk of death, that causes serious or prolonged disfigurement, prolonged impairment of health or prolonged loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ.”
It is unclear from news reports whether the injured pedestrian will make a full recovery. My Virginia-based personal injury law firm colleagues and I can say with some assurance, however, that he and his family have strong grounds for seeking compensation and punitive damages from the drunk driver. In addition to behaving recklessly and breaking the law by driving under the influence, the person who first collided with the pedestrian was failing to meet the duty West Virginia places on all drivers to share the road safely.
Regarding the rights of pedestrians, section 17C-10-4 of the West Virginia Code states, “Every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian upon any roadway and shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary and shall exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any confused or incapacitated person upon a roadway.”
Even sober, the driver who critically injured the man walking along Mud Fork Road in Verdunville would likely be responsible for settling personal injury insurance claims or paying an award from a civil lawsuit. The impairment due to alcohol just made the nearly fatal crash more likely to occur. Consulting with a dedicated personal injury lawyer who has experience helping victims of accidents in West Virginia will help the pedestrian and his family hold the drunk driver fully financially accountable.