What Are My Responsibilities as a Pedestrian?

In Virginia, a pedestrian is any individual traveling on foot including those who use mobility aids. The state has enacted numerous right-of-way laws that outline the duties of both drivers and pedestrians. Pedestrians are required to obey pedestrian crossing signals and traffic lights and keep to sidewalks instead of the roadway whenever possible. Drivers are required to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in many circumstances. Failure to obey these and other pedestrian-related laws could lead to a serious but avoidable pedestrian accident. If you were injured in a pedestrian accident caused by a negligent driver, contact an experienced Virginia Beach accident attorney at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp today to schedule a free case review.

Pedestrian Laws in Virginia 

Virginia has numerous regulations that apply to pedestrians on sidewalks, crosswalks, roadways, sidewalks, and highways, such as:

  • Pedestrians are required to use sidewalks whenever possible. If there is no sidewalk, they should stay on the lefthand side of the roadway and face traffic. 
  • Pedestrians may only cross highways at marked crosswalks or intersections when possible, and not interfere with traffic.
  • Pedestrians must follow all traffic lights and pedestrian control signals.  
  • Pedestrians may not step onto a roadway where their presence is not immediately apparent to drivers.  
  • Pedestrians are not permitted to stand in the roadway or stop traffic to solicit a ride. 

Pedestrians and drivers in Virginia Beach have a responsibility to be mindful of the safety of those around them.

What is a Driver’s Duty of Care?

Virginia drivers have a responsibility to other road users, including pedestrians. This duty is measured by what actions would have been taken by a reasonable driver under the same or similar circumstances. Driving with due care means obeying all traffic laws and safety regulations, such as: 

  • Not driving while distracted  
  • Obeying all traffic signs and signals
  • Not driving while intoxicated
  • Yielding to pedestrians in intersections and crosswalks
  • Adjusting driving habits to account for current weather conditions, traffic conditions, and driving at night  

What is a Pedestrian’s Duty of Care?

Despite being some of Virginia Beach’s most vulnerable roadway users, pedestrians also owe a duty of care to drivers. These responsibilities include:   

  • Entering traffic by way of intersections and marked crosswalks 
  • Never running out into traffic
  • Being aware of their surroundings
  • Obey all pedestrian signals and signs.
  • Wearing bright or reflective clothing after dark

Pedestrian accidents often have devastating consequences, so it is best to take every possible precaution to ensure your safety.  

How Could Pure Contributory Negligence Impact My Claim?

It is not uncommon for both the driver and the pedestrian to share fault for an accident. Unfortunately, Virginia is governed by the doctrine of pure contributory negligence. If you are found to be just 1% at fault for an accident, you could be barred from seeking financial compensation for your accident.

For instance, if you cross a street mid-block and are struck by a speeding driver who ran a red light, you could be found partially at fault for the accident because you were jaywalking when the accident occurred.  

Pedestrian Accident Lawyers in Virginia Beach

Working with an experienced Virginia Beach personal injury attorney from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp is vital to winning a pedestrian accident case. Our meticulous approach to preparing pedestrian accident cases has enabled us to recover substantial compensation for our clients and their families like this $227,000 settlement we secured for a pedestrian who was struck in a Virginia Beach crosswalk. If you or a loved one were injured in a pedestrian accident caused by a negligent driver, call us at (833) 997-1774 or reach out through our website to schedule your free consultation. Our offices are located in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Hampton, Norfolk, and Portsmouth. 

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