According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, there was an 11 percent increase in pedestrian deaths in 2016 across the country. Unfortunately, Virginia was among the states that saw a disturbing increase in pedestrian accident deaths. In fact, pedestrian accident deaths are up by 35 percent in the first half of 2016 compared to the first half of 2015, according to WTOP.com. Close to 2,000 pedestrians were injured and 78 pedestrians were killed in collisions involving motorists in 2015, according to the Virginia DMV.
It is important to have an understanding of Virginia pedestrian laws because if you have a better understanding of these rules, it could reduce the risk of you suffering a serious injury in a collision with a sedan, pickup truck, SUV, or other vehicle.
Legal Rights and Duties of Virginia Bicyclists
According to Va. Code § 46.2-928, pedestrians are required to walk on the sidewalk if one is available. Pedestrians have the right of way on sidewalks. If there is no sidewalk, stay to the far left, either facing oncoming traffic or on the shoulder if it is wide enough to provide safe passage.
How Motorists are Obligated to Act When Encountering a Pedestrian in a Crosswalk or on a Road
According to Va Code §46.2-923, motorists must yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk, whether the crosswalk is marked or not. Though, pedestrians also have a duty to pay attention in in a crosswalk, as well as to obey the "Walk" and "Don't Walk" warnings when there are crosswalk control signals.
Why It is So Important to Adhere to Applicable Pedestrian Laws
If you are deemed to be even slightly negligent and contributed to causing the accident, it could ruin any chance you have to obtain a financial recovery in a personal injury claim. Why? Because Virginia adheres to the contributory negligence doctrine. Basically, this means when a person contributes to their own harm, they are effectively barred from recovery. This doctrine can come into play even if you were only 1 percent at fault for the accident.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
In many case, a collision between a pedestrian and a motorist is due to the careless or reckless actions of the motorist. Here are some of the most common causes of accidents involving a driver and a pedestrian that occur in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Hampton, Portsmouth, and other areas of Virginia:
- Driver was distracted
- Driver was speeding
- Driver failed to yield the right of way to a pedestrian at a crosswalk
- Driver disobeyed traffic signs or signals
- Driver failed to signal while turning
- Driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Common Injuries That Pedestrians Suffer in Collisions with Motorists
It is quite common for a bicyclist hit by a car to suffer the following types of harms:
- Head wound such as a traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord damage causing complete or partial paralysis
- Fractured bones
- Torn ligaments
- Lost limbs
Types of Financial Restitution You Can Pursue Through a Pedestrian Accident Claim in Virginia
This is why you should hire an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer in Virginia Beach to help you pursue financial restitution for your harms and losses, including:
- Medical expenses (e.g., past and future coverage for medical, hospital, surgical, therapy bills, and prescription medication bills).
- Lost income due to the extent of your injuries (which may include future income if you are deemed partially or fully disabled).
- Pain and suffering, which generally includes those intangible harms and losses.
To learn more about your legal rights after a bicycle accident in Virginia, contact Shapiro & Appleton today to schedule a free case review. Our firm has extensive experience representing people badly injured in pedestrian accidents. For example, we represented a couple that was crossing the street at Atlantic Avenue in the crosswalk at 23rd Street in Virginia Beach. They successfully crossed the two southbound lanes and the first northbound lane when they were hit by a motorist in the eastern most lane. Both plaintiffs suffered fractures of the right tibia and fibula and other severe bodily injuries. Our firm was able to secure a $545,000 settlement on their behalf.