Charlottesville Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Pedestrians are vulnerable to serious injuries if struck by a moving vehicle. Pedestrian traffic accidents in Virginia are more common than many people realize. The resulting injuries can be life-altering for the victims. People injured in pedestrian accidents may face serious financial stress from medical bills and the loss of income from missed work.
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident in Virginia, contact a Charlottesville pedestrian accident lawyer at Kendall Law Firm right away. Founding attorney David Kendall and his legal team have spent more than 30 years helping people in Charlottesville, Winchester, Harrisonburg, and throughout Virginia with personal injury cases. As a former Judge Advocate General in the U.S. Marine Corps, attorney David Kendall understands the importance of honor, integrity, and service to others.
Our detailed approach to preparing personal injury accident claims has helped us recover significant compensation for our clients. We are proud of our case results. We would be honored to assist you with your Charlottesville pedestrian accident claim. Call our office today or visit our contact page to get help from an experienced pedestrian accident attorney at Kendall Law Firm.
Pedestrian Accident Statistics
Drivers in Virginia are required to share the road with pedestrians and other vulnerable road users such as bicyclists, people in wheelchairs, people on skateboards, and rollers skates. Unfortunately, many motorists neglect this legal obligation. Drivers are often in a hurry or distracted and overlook pedestrians walking beside the road or crossing an intersection ahead. Drivers should be held accountable when their careless driving causes harm to people on foot.
While pedestrian accidents account for only a small percentage of traffic accidents in Virginia, pedestrian deaths account for a disproportionate share of overall accident fatalities in the Commonwealth. Pedestrians don’t have any protection if they are hit by a moving vehicle.
According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles:
- There were 1,242 pedestrian accidents statewide in 2020, which was a 23.6 percent decrease from 2019.
- Pedestrian accidents accounted for about 1.2 percent of all traffic crashes statewide in 2020.
- There were 1,186 pedestrians injured and 373 pedestrians seriously injured (5.5 percent of all serious injuries from traffic accidents) in 2020.
- 114 pedestrians died in accidents in 2020, accounting for 13.5 percent of all traffic fatalities.
- There were 48 pedestrians who died in accidents in 2020 after they had been drinking.
- 8 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred in urban areas, while 20.2 percent of fatalities happened in rural areas.
- 1 percent of pedestrian fatalities happened when the pedestrian was at an intersection while 63.9 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred when a pedestrian was crossing at a location other than an intersection.
Virginia ranked 18th among all states and Washington, D.C., in the number of pedestrian accident fatalities in 2020 based on preliminary estimates by the Governors Highway Safety Association.
How Pedestrian Accidents Happen
Some of the more common causes of accidents involving a vehicle and a pedestrian include:
- Distracted driving – Drivers who are talking on the phone, sending a text message, or otherwise distracted are less attentive to the road ahead and may fail to see a pedestrian in their path. A distracted driver may not have enough time to stop or maneuver around a pedestrian. The driver may not realize a person on foot is in their way until a pedestrian accident occurs.
- Driving while fatigued – Drivers who are excessively fatigued or who have been behind the wheel too long may have more limited spatial awareness, slower recognition of traffic hazards, and slowed reflexes. A drowsy driver may overlook a person crossing the road, particularly at night.
- Driving while impaired – A driver who has been drinking or using drugs will generally experience impaired judgment and dulled reflexes. A drunk driver may fail to stay within the traffic lane and strike a pedestrian walking near the road, in a crosswalk, or on a sidewalk. Drunk drivers should be held accountable when they cause preventable accidents and harm pedestrians.
- Failure to yield the right-of-way – All vehicles, including bicycles, are required to watch for pedestrians in crosswalks and other designated intersections. Unfortunately, many drivers expect pedestrians to yield. Drivers should always be on the lookout for pedestrians, especially before making right turns or left turns. The pedestrian may have the right of way when crossing an intersection with the light. The turning driver should allow the pedestrian to cross completely before making the turn.
- Speeding – Drivers who are speeding are often more focused on getting to where they need to be than on their immediate surroundings. This makes them more prone to overlook a pedestrian. A speeding driver may not have enough time and space to avoid hitting a pedestrian who the driver suddenly realizes is in the vehicle’s path. Speeding in school zones and in residential areas is especially dangerous because children may be playing nearby or crossing the street.
- Poor crosswalk or intersection design – Crosswalks and other intersections where pedestrians cross should be carefully designed with local traffic and foot traffic in mind. Putting a crosswalk in the wrong spot might make a pedestrian more likely to be struck by a passing vehicle.
- Poor road conditions – In rainy or adverse weather conditions, drivers might have a harder time seeing pedestrians and stopping safely. A lack of proper warnings and signage to guide drivers can also make a pedestrian accident more likely.
- Impaired pedestrians – Not all pedestrian accidents are the fault of automobile drivers. A pedestrian who is impaired by alcohol or drugs might wander onto the road or dart into the street without waiting for the “Walk” sign. Impaired pedestrians are more likely to cross the street outside of a crosswalk or designated intersection.
How Driver Negligence Can Cause Pedestrian Accidents
Many pedestrian accidents are caused by negligence on the part of drivers, motorcyclists, and bicyclists. Though there are rules for where pedestrians can cross the street, it’s incumbent upon drivers to be watchful when pedestrians might be nearby.
Basic physics tells us that when a vehicle strikes a pedestrian, the difference in size and speed between the pedestrian and the vehicle means the pedestrian will bear the brunt of the impact. If a pedestrian is sent flying into the air after being struck by a vehicle, the pedestrian may sustain additional injuries upon impact on the street or ground. If the driver was at fault, the pedestrian may be entitled to pursue compensation for his or her injuries through a personal injury claim. As an injured pedestrian, you should not have to bear the costs of medical bills for injuries caused by someone else’s disregard for safety.
Receiving Fair Compensation for Injuries
If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident, Virginia law gives you the right to seek financial compensation from the negligent party who injured you. This includes compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning potential due to your injuries
- Damaged personal property
- Pain and suffering due to the injuries you’ve sustained
- Psychological distress
One thing to keep in mind if you’ve been involved in a pedestrian accident is Virginia’s strict negligence laws. Virginia is one of the few states that still uses a pure contributory standard for personal injury claims. This means that you could potentially be barred from recovering any compensation if you are found to be partially liable for the accident.
You’ll need a solid case demonstrating the driver’s fault if you want to receive any compensation after a pedestrian accident involving a moving vehicle. That makes it important to seek help from an experienced Virginia pedestrian accident attorney who can develop a persuasive case for you based on factual evidence and push back against any attempts by the insurer to shift the blame for the accident to you.
Do I Need a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer?
You may have serious injuries, but insurers won’t treat your pedestrian accident injury claim seriously if you don’t have a lawyer standing up for you. Handling a claim on your own after a pedestrian accident makes it harder to get full compensation for your injuries.
If you are dealing with serious injuries, you’re likely to be in no condition to wage a sustained legal battle on your own after the accident. You will need to rest and focus on recovering from your injuries. A pedestrian accident attorney can gather evidence to support your claim for compensation and stand up for your rights in dealings with the insurer.
The driver who hit you and the at-fault driver’s insurance company do not want to be held liable for your injuries. They’ll do whatever they can to shift the blame to you if possible. Under Virginia’s negligence laws, you can be barred from recovering compensation if you are found to be liable for your injuries. A pedestrian accident attorney has the knowledge, training, and experience to help you build a solid claim for compensation and maximize the value of your claim.
Contact a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Today
Ready to speak with a Charlottesville pedestrian accident lawyer? Get a free initial consultation with the Kendall Law Firm today by calling our office at (866) 590-9773 or visiting our contact page.