At any given time, there are thousands of pedestrians walking alongside and crossing roads throughout Virginia Beach, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and the surrounding areas. Tourists and locals alike often travel on foot—but doing so puts them at risk of careless, inattentive, and reckless drivers. Statistics from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and the Virginia Highway Safety Office show that, in 2017, there were 1,608 accidents involving pedestrians and motor vehicles in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Of these incidents, 1,571 resulted in pedestrian injuries and 114 led to pedestrian fatalities.
The rules of the road command motorists to always yield the right-of-way to pedestrians. The Code of Virginia § 46.2-924 requires all drivers to stop for pedestrians. While pedestrians should avoid walking in roadways in exchange for using designated crosswalks and heeding pedestrian control signals, drivers too must heed the right of way to pedestrians and be vigilant to avoid a collision, as this can be fatal to a pedestrian.
At Breit Cantor Grana Buckner, we have extensive experience handling all types of personal injury and auto accident claims, including pedestrian accident cases. Our attorneys have a proven track record of success and are prepared to advocate tirelessly for you and your family.
Were you hit by a car while walking? Contact our Virginia pedestrian accident attorneys at (888) 635-9500 to request a free, no-obligation consultation today. We have offices in Virginia Beach and Richmond.
Vehicles Turning Right on Red
Many pedestrians are injured by vehicles turning right on red. While vehicles have the right to make this maneuver, provided it is not expressly prohibited at the particular intersection, they must still heed the right of way to pedestrians who usually have a “walk” signal. § 46.2-835 of the Code of Virginia addresses this specifically. The statute specifically states that motorists “may cautiously enter the intersection and make a right turn. Such turning traffic shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk.”
Pedestrian Injury & Fatality Statistics in Virginia
- According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, Virginia Highway Safety Office’s 2014 Virginia Traffic Crash Facts, there were 90 pedestrian fatalities and 1,640 pedestrian injuries.
- Approximately 12% of all Virginia traffic fatalities were pedestrians.
- Approximately 2% of all Virginia traffic injuries were pedestrians.
- There were 211 reported drunk pedestrian incidents in Virginia in 2014. Approximately 28% of those were crossing in non-crosswalk areas.
- Out of the 300 persons killed in speed-related crashes, 17 were pedestrians.
- Out of the 13,378 persons injured in speed-related crashes, 86 were pedestrians.
- Pedestrian and bicycle incidents are worst in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, accounting for about one out of every four traffic fatalities.
Common Injuries Suffered in Pedestrian Accidents
Due to the size, weight, and speed at which motor vehicles travel—not to mention the relative complete lack of protection pedestrians have while walking—many pedestrian accidents result in catastrophic injuries. These injuries often require extensive immediate treatment, as well as continuous, lifelong care.
Some of the most common injuries caused by pedestrian accidents include:
- Broken bones and multiple fractures
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head injuries and brain damage
- Partial or complete paralysis
- Internal organ damage
- Accidental amputation
- Nerve damage
- Severe scrapes, lacerations, and bruises
The financial and emotional cost of such injuries is immense. All too often, however, insurance companies will offer a low settlement in order to save money and maximize profits. Unfortunately, many individuals are not aware of their rights and will accept a low settlement because they do not know that they don’t have to.
Liability for Pedestrian Accidents in Virginia
Who is at fault or “liable” for a pedestrian accident in Virginia depends on which was negligent or violated a traffic law. If a vehicle strikes a pedestrian while the pedestrian was violating a traffic ordinance, the injured pedestrian may not be able to succeed in a claim against the driver was also violating a traffic ordinance. This brings up the issue of contributory negligence. Under Virginia law, if a pedestrian is found to be at fault in any way for the accident, even if the driver was also negligent, then the pedestrian is barred from recovering.
Safety Tips for Pedestrians
Obeying all traffic laws does not guarantee that pedestrians will avoid involvement in an auto accident, but following these safety tips, based on the Code of Virginia, can help:
- Use sidewalks when possible and avoid walking in the road.
- Avoid walking on roads and highways specially designated as not open to pedestrians or cyclists.
- Do not stop or loiter on the highway to hitchhike.
- Pay attention to all pedestrian control signals. Only “walk” when the signal displays “walk,” and still look both ways before crossing the street to ensure your path is clear.
- Avoid jaywalking, and only cross the street in designated crosswalks.
- If walking at night, try to avoid wearing dark colors, or wear reflective items.
Why Call Our Firm?
At Breit Cantor, we don’t just accept the first low settlement offered by the liable driver’s insurance company. In fact, thanks to our long-standing history of success in the courtroom, these insurance companies know that we are not afraid to go to trial on behalf of our clients. Because of this, we have been able to recover just settlements and jury verdicts for injured victims throughout the state for over four decades.
Our pedestrian accident lawyers in Virginia take the time to meet with you, understand your goals, and build a strong case backed by thorough investigative and pre-trial work. We are here to answer your questions and address your concerns every step of the way.
Contact us online or by phone at (888) 635-9500 to schedule a free consultation with our team.