When a multi-ton vehicle collides with a person on foot, it’s the pedestrian who gets the worst of the encounter. And while Virginia has laws on the books meant to protect these vulnerable road users, those laws have not been able to stop negligent, reckless, or simply careless drivers from causing preventable accidents. This is simply unacceptable, and these motorists should be held accountable for the damage they cause.
Were you or a loved one hurt in a pedestrian accident in Prince William County? Then D. Michael Mullori, Jr., Attorney at Law wants to help you get the compensation you need from those at fault.
Mike has been focused on personal injury cases since 1999 and has decades of experience to put to work on your behalf. Mike prides himself on the personal care and attention he brings to every case he handles, working with clients to help them get the medical care they need and communicating with them directly and often throughout the process. He has a passion to protect accident victims’ rights, and it shows in the successes he’s had on their behalf.
Reach out today for a free consultation with a Prince William County pedestrian accident law firm.
What Are the Virginia Pedestrian Laws?
Virginia Code § 46.2-924. describes motorists’ obligations to pedestrians in the state. Specifically, it states the following:
- Drivers must yield to pedestrians crossing highways, stopping until the pedestrian has passed. This rule applies at marked crosswalks, regular pedestrian crossings at block ends, and intersections on roads with speed limits up to 35 mph.
- Other vehicles should not pass a stopped vehicle yielding to pedestrians.
- Motorists must follow instructions while at intersections controlled by traffic devices or police.
- Pedestrians should not ignore oncoming traffic.
- Pedestrians have right-of-way over turning vehicles at intersections.
Individual counties and municipalities may have more specific laws concerning pedestrian right-of-way. A pedestrian accident lawyer in Prince William County should know whether such laws apply to your case.
What Are the Main Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?
Pedestrian accidents are sadly all too common in Virginia. The state experienced nearly 1,400 vehicle-vs.-pedestrian collisions in one recent year. What’s more, they appear to be on the rise, according to the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. While each crash is the result of a unique set of circumstances, many share the same handful of underlying causes, including the following:
- Distracted Driving – Distracted driving has long been one of the leading causes of pedestrian accidents, and it’s a problem that’s only growing with the ubiquity of smartphones. Whether it’s texting, changing the music, or using a GPS, any activity that takes the driver’s attention away from the road can lead to a collision.
- Speeding – A driver traveling at high speeds has little time to stop when a pedestrian enters their path. Further, because force increases with acceleration, a speeding car can lead to more severe injuries.
- Drunk or Impaired Driving – Alcohol and drugs significantly impair judgment, reaction time, and motor coordination, greatly increasing the risk of hitting a pedestrian.
- Failure to Yield – Drivers must yield to pedestrians at crosswalks or intersections, and their failure to do so as legally required can result in preventable accidents.
- Left-Hand Turns – Vehicles making left-hand turns are another common cause of pedestrian accidents. Drivers may be more focused on navigating the intersection and miss seeing a pedestrian crossing the street.
- Poorly Lit or Designed Crosswalks – Inadequate street lighting or poorly marked crosswalks can make it difficult for drivers to see pedestrians.
- Backing-Up Accidents – These often occur in parking lots and driveways where drivers may not see pedestrians as they reverse their vehicles.
How Many Pedestrians Are Killed in Prince William County Each Year?
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) tracks the number of pedestrian accidents statewide. According to its data, Prince William County saw an average of four fatal pedestrian accidents a year over a recent five-year window, with another 17 per year resulting in serious injuries.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Pedestrian Accident?
In the context of a personal injury case, the term “liable” means “legally responsible.” In other words, the person who is liable for an accident must compensate the injured party for the harm they suffered. Here are some entities that could potentially be responsible for a pedestrian accident:
- The Driver of the Vehicle – The motorist is the most obvious potentially liable party. If they were speeding, distracted, under the influence, or otherwise acting negligently, they are likely to blame.
- The Pedestrian – In some cases, the pedestrian could be partially responsible for the accident. For example, if they were jaywalking, crossing against the signal, or not using the crosswalk, they could bear some responsibility. However, this does not absolve the driver of their duty to drive safely, and there are many cases in which an apparently liable pedestrian is not truly to blame.
- Vehicle Manufacturers – If the accident was caused due to a defect in the vehicle, such as faulty brakes or malfunctioning headlights, the manufacturer of the vehicle or the defective part may be held liable.
- Government Entities – Local or state government entities could be responsible if unsafe roads, poor lighting, or improperly marked crosswalks contributed to the accident.
- Private Property Owners – In accidents that occur in parking lots or on private driveways, the property owner could be held liable if poor design, inadequate signage, or insufficient lighting contributed to the accident.
Establishing liability in a pedestrian accident can be complex and requires both a deep understanding of Virginia personal injury law and a thorough investigation of the incident in question. A Prince William County pedestrian accident lawyer will be able to hear the specifics of your case to pinpoint parties who could be responsible for your injuries.
What Compensation Can I Recover After a Pedestrian Accident?
The aftermath of a pedestrian accident can be incredibly daunting, both emotionally and financially. But those burdens shouldn’t be yours alone to bear if someone else is ultimately to blame for the collision. Virginia law holds that those at fault for an accident must compensate the victims accordingly. Depending on the specifics of the accident that injured you, you could be entitled to money for the following losses:
- Medical expenses, including compensation for all healthcare costs related to your injuries, such as hospital bills, surgery, medication, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and any future medical care you may need
- Lost earnings, including wages, salary, commissions, bonuses, and reduced earning capacity if you’re unable to earn as much as you did prior to the accident
- Pain and suffering, a term that refers to compensation for the physical pain and emotional distress you’ve endured as a result of the accident
- Lost quality of life, if your injuries prevent you from participating in hobbies, recreational activities, or other aspects of life that you previously enjoyed
Remember, the specific types of compensation you could be entitled to for a pedestrian accident depend heavily on the underlying facts of the case. Mike Mullori offers free consultations to prospective clients, so you can find out what you could be owed at no upfront cost or obligation.