Richmond Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
According to recent data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, 5,987 pedestrians died in traffic crashes in the United States in 2016, the largest single-year total since 1990. The vast majority of those pedestrians were men or boys, and in nine out of 10 fatal incidents, the crash involved a single vehicle.
As in the rest of the nation, pedestrian injuries and fatalities represent a significant problem on Virginia roads. In 2017, traffic crashes killed 114 pedestrians and injured 1,571, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles. About two-thirds of those injuries and fatalities occurred in urban areas.
Pedestrian traffic accidents exact a devastating toll on victims and their families. When pedestrian victims survive, they frequently sustain catastrophic injuries that lead to years of pain and disability.
If you suffered injuries as a pedestrian in a Richmond-area traffic accident, or if you lost a loved one to a tragic pedestrian accident, contact Emroch & Kilduff at (804) 358-1568 to speak with a compassionate, experienced Richmond pedestrian accident attorney.
Why Choose Emroch & Kilduff?
Emroch & Kilduff is a Virginia law firm that focuses exclusively on personal injury representations. We bring years of experience and know-how to every matter we handle on behalf of an injured client. No case is too complex. No defendant or insurance company is too powerful. We fight for injured people, hold others accountable, and obtain the largest possible damage awards we can. We have recovered millions of dollars for our clients through settlements and jury verdicts. While we can’t guarantee results in any specific case, we do the best we can to achieve outcomes that meet our clients’ needs.
In a Richmond pedestrian accident case, the insurance company is never on your side. The insurance company is a big business, and as such, it is looking out for its own interests. Moreover, the Commonwealth of Virginia is one of the few jurisdictions in the country that still uses the antiquated law of contributory negligence. If the driver can prove that the pedestrian was also negligent, then he or she is entitled to no recovery. As a result of this law, the insurance company will do everything in its power to limit its liability exposure in a pedestrian accident case, sometimes even going so far as to deny liability altogether.
If you or a loved one has sustained injuries in a pedestrian accident, time may be of the essence in your case. The Richmond attorneys at Emroch & Kilduff are specialists in personal injury law and have settled and litigated countless pedestrian accident cases. They can assist you with recovering the monetary compensation that you need in order to be made whole in your case.
Understanding Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Pedestrian accidents can occur in a variety of locations, the most common of which are traffic intersections (with or without crosswalks), parking lots, parking garages, and sidewalks that abut busy streets. Pedestrians are no match for a large car or truck, and when a motor vehicle strikes them, they are likely to fall to the ground and sustain serious injuries. The other problem for pedestrians is that they have no safety devices or protection shielding them from an impact with a vehicle. They are generally the most physically vulnerable victims in a traffic crash. With very little protection around them, they are directly exposed to the ground and to the vehicle striking them. Motor vehicle drivers and passengers at least have the protective covering of their motor vehicle’s shell surrounding them.
When a car or truck driver negligently causes a collision and strikes a pedestrian, the results can be catastrophic. Many pedestrians die from their injuries. When they survive, their injuries often include:
- Traumatic brain injuries, leading to coma, motor and cognitive deficits, and lifelong disabilities
- Spinal cord injuries, resulting in partial or total paralysis
- Broken bones and crushed or amputated limbs
- Severe lacerations and abrasions that risk infection and require skin grafts and other reparative surgeries
- Organ damage and internal bleeding
- Soft tissue neck and back injuries
- Cuts and bruises
- Scarring or disfigurement
The extent of a victim’s injuries usually depends on many factors, including how fast the vehicle was moving, the point of impact on the vehicle and on the victim’s body, and how and where the impact threw the victim.
If you are injured in a pedestrian accident, the first thing you should do is seek follow-up medical care for your injuries. This usually involves seeking treatment at a local hospital emergency room or urgent care facility.
Assigning Liability for a Pedestrian Accident
If you suffered injuries as a result of a pedestrian accident, you may need to take legal action to recover compensation for your injuries and losses. After you have begun your medical treatment, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who can assist you with your case. A Richmond pedestrian accident lawyer can recommend future treatment options to you, evaluate your claim, and submit a demand package to the at-fault driver’s insurance company on your behalf.
The first priority toward taking legal action is to determine who may have liability to you for causing the accident and your injuries.
Though every pedestrian accident is unique, some of the parties we typically investigate in representations of injured pedestrians include:
- The driver of the vehicle who hit the pedestrian. As we noted above, the vast majority of pedestrian traffic accidents involve a single vehicle. In many cases, the driver of that vehicle will bear the fault for injuring or tragically taking the life of the victim.
- The driver’s employer. When a vehicle operated by business or institution strikes a pedestrian, the driver’s employer may bear liability to the victim for having failed to train or adequately supervise the driver.
- An auto manufacturer. Sometimes, a defect in a vehicle or vehicle part leads to a tragic accident. If an investigation reveals the car or truck involved in a pedestrian accident failed, the vehicle’s manufacturer may bear liability to the victim.
- Local government. Pedestrian accidents tend to occur on or near public roads built and maintained by a local or state government. If a defect in the road—such as the lack of a shoulder or sidewalk, the poor placement of a crosswalk, or faded lane markings—made it unsafe for pedestrians and vehicles to share it, that local government entity may bear liability.
At Emroch & Kilduff, we frequently conduct extensive investigations of the causes of traffic crashes before taking legal action on behalf of pedestrian victims. When necessary, we work with experts in the fields of accident reconstruction and forensic analysis to root out the correct parties to pursue through legal action.
Distracted Driving and Richmond Pedestrian Accidents
Distracted driving can take many forms. In some cases, it involves a motor vehicle driver doing one or more of the following:
- Looking away from the road
- Listening to loud music in the car
- Roughhousing with passengers in the car while driving
- Using a cellular phone or other wireless electronic devices while behind the wheel
- Texting while driving
- Failing to obey a traffic law
- Exceeding the posted speed limit (especially in residential areas and near pedestrian intersections)
- Violating red light laws
- Disregarding traffic signs
When drivers are distracted while behind the wheel of a car, they are turning their attention away from the roadway. When drivers are distracted, they are far more likely to miss a pedestrian while backing out of a parking space or when approaching a traffic intersection where pedestrians are likely to be present.
Damages in Pedestrian Accident Matters
Clients often ask us about the damages they might recover after suffering an injury or tragic loss in a pedestrian accident. Damages may include:
- Costs of medical care, both immediately after the accident and any care needed on an ongoing basis
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages from the time the victim spends out of work recovering
- Lost income potential if injuries prevent our client from returning to work in the same capacity as before the accident
- Loss of companionship and loss of financial support when a loved one dies in a pedestrian accident
- Funeral and burial expenses due to loved ones lost in a pedestrian accident
In cases of extreme conduct or carelessness, victims may also seek as much as $300,000 in punitive damages under Virginia law.
A Note about Contributory Negligence in the Commonwealth of Virginia
When it comes to proving liability—or fault—most jurisdictions outside of the Commonwealth of Virginia have some sort of comparative negligence scheme in place. Usually, under a comparative negligence scheme, a pedestrian who is deemed partially responsible for the accident and injuries sustained can still recover some damages in the case. Under the laws of most jurisdictions, this damage number is simply reduced by the injured accident victim’s percentage of fault. For example, if the driver was deemed 85 percent at fault for the accident, and the injured pedestrian, who was walking outside of the crosswalk lines, was deemed 15 percent at-fault, then the pedestrian could still theoretically recoup up to 85 percent of the available damages in the case.
In Virginia, however, if the injured pedestrian contributed even minimally to the accident (i.e. as little as 1 percent), then the accident victim is not entitled to any monetary recovery. Of course, the insurance companies are aware of this law and take full advantage of it in Richmond pedestrian accident cases. Therefore, if you have sustained injuries as a pedestrian, you should contact a Richmond pedestrian accident lawyer who can take prompt legal action for you as soon as possible. An attorney can evaluate your case and may be able to fight a liability dispute raised by the insurance company.
Richmond Pedestrian Accident FAQ
Richmond pedestrians can suffer serious, and even fatal, injuries when a motor vehicle strikes them. The physical, emotional, and financial toll of the accident inflicts trauma on pedestrian accident victims and their families.
In the aftermath of a pedestrian accident, victims and their families often have pressing questions about their legal and financial rights that need answering, but they can feel unsure of where to turn or who to call-on for help.
Below, we answer some frequently asked questions about the rights of pedestrian accident victims in Richmond. An experienced Richmond pedestrian accident injury attorney can provide further answers to questions specific to your circumstances.
A car struck me while I was crossing the street. Can I sue?
You probably can.
Under Virginia law, a person injured because of someone else’s unreasonably dangerous decisions or actions generally has the right to file a lawsuit seeking damages for those injuries.
Cars should never strike pedestrians. When it happens, the blame lies with someone other than the pedestrian in the vast majority of cases. Most commonly, the driver of the vehicle that strikes the pedestrian is at fault, but others may also face legal liability for the harm the pedestrian suffers.
Talk with an experienced Richmond pedestrian accident injury lawyer as soon as possible to learn more about your potential rights to file a lawsuit for your injuries.
What can a pedestrian accident lawsuit help me pay for?
Filing a lawsuit does not guarantee you payment. However, if a lawsuit succeeds, then generally a pedestrian accident victim can seek compensation for:
- Medical costs related to treating the injuries, including those associated with emergency care, hospitalization, physical therapy, long-term care, and medication.
- Lost wages, past and future, resulting from missing work while recuperating from pedestrian accident injuries, or from suffering a disability that prevents you from returning to work.
- Pain and suffering you endured because of your pedestrian accident injuries, including emotional trauma, physical discomfort, diminished quality of life, and strain on your personal relationships.
- Other costs of suffering injuries in a pedestrian accident imposed on you, such as costs of modifying your home to accommodate an injury-related disability.
- Punitive damages, which a court may award if the party liable for your injuries engaged in especially reckless or extreme conduct in connection with the accident.
Experienced pedestrian accident injury lawyers work with their clients to assess the full scope of injuries and harm an accident caused, so that any lawsuit they file on the client’s behalf seeks an appropriate amount of damages.
How much is my pedestrian accident case worth in Richmond?
No lawyer cannot answer this question with certainty without having detailed information about your case.
Pedestrian accident case values can vary widely depending upon:
- The severity of the victim’s injuries and the impact the injuries have on the victim’s life. Generally speaking, the greater the severity and impact, the higher the damages the case may seek.
- The strength of the victim’s case, measured by the amount and quality of the evidence the victim’s lawyer can present, and the merits of the legal arguments the lawyer can make.
- The ability of the at-fault party to pay damages, which typically depends on the amount of insurance that party carries and/or on the value of that party’s assets.
By hiring a skilled, experienced lawyer, you give yourself the best chance of maximizing the value of your claim.
How much does it cost to hire a Richmond pedestrian accident lawyer?
Never let worries about money stop you from consulting with an experienced pedestrian accident injury lawyer about your case. Hiring one of our lawyers will never cost you a dime unless we get you results.
We meet with potential clients for an initial consultation free-of-charge and represent victims on a contingent fee basis, which means the lawyer’s fee consists only of a percentage of the money the lawyer secures for the client.
In other words, we only get paid if you get paid. The client pays no money to the lawyer in advance, and does not pay the lawyer as the case goes along.
Can I do anything to help my Richmond pedestrian accident case?
Yes. Always seek medical attention after any accident.
Many pedestrians suffer serious injuries that they need an ambulance to take them to the nearest hospital immediately for emergency care. However, victims can sometimes suffer injuries that initially seem less-severe, and in those cases, they may feel tempted to avoid the hospital or a doctor’s office.
Many dangerous, even fatal, injuries do not necessarily show symptoms immediately. It takes a medical exam to spot them before they worsen. Also, seeking medical care right away ensures that medical records exist documenting the connection between the accident and the pedestrian’s injuries. Those records tend to provide crucial evidence in a lawsuit.
Should I accept the driver’s settlement offer in my accident claim?
No. Do not agree to take any money from the driver of the vehicle that struck you, or that driver’s insurance company, without first speaking with an experienced lawyer.
Taking money from the party at-fault for your injuries, or that party’s insurance company, risks giving up important and potentially valuable legal rights to sue for damages. Accordingly, you should never accept any money as a settlement until you know exactly how much you may have the right to recover by filing a lawsuit.
A skilled attorney can evaluate your rights and advise you whether to accept or reject a settlement offer. More often than not, the first offer you receive will fall far short of what you deserve, and we can negotiate a better deal with the at-fault party and/or that party’s insurer.
Your Richmond, Virginia Pedestrian Accident Attorney
A pedestrian accident often leaves victims with a stack of expenses—high medical bills, lost wages, missed time from work, pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, and other serious (and potentially lifelong) damages. At Emroch & Kilduff, we believe hiring a lawyer shouldn’t add to them.
We offer a free consultation with a member of our team to all potential clints. Often, we agree to represent clients on a contingent fee basis, which means we only receive fees for our work if we recover payment on behalf of a client through a settlement or judgment. Do not hesitate to speak with a lawyer from Emroch & Kilduff just because you may be worried about the cost. We aim to work with our clients to ensure our services accommodate their financial needs.
The experienced personal injury attorneys at Emroch & Kilduff can review your case with you and help you establish a plan of action moving forward. In some instances, that plan of action may be to try and resolve your case via settlement. In other instances, our attorneys may recommend litigation. However, you may always rest assured that you will be kept fully informed throughout the process and that all of your legal questions will be answered promptly.
Richmond pedestrian accidents and the legal issues that arise out of them can be complex. Therefore, if you have sustained injuries in a pedestrian accident, you should not go it alone.
If you were injured in a pedestrian accident in the Richmond, Virginia area or tragically lost a loved one, contact Emroch & Kilduff today or call (804) 358-1568 to schedule a free consultation with one of our compassionate, experienced legal professionals.
Emroch & Kilduff
3600 W Broad St #700
Richmond, VA 23230
Phone: (804) 358-1568