Tappahannock Pedestrian Accident Attorney
Everyone is a pedestrian at some point, whether walking down the street or from a parking lot into a store. This is doubly true in a place like Tappahannock; the oldest town in Essex County, Tappahannock and its historical beauty are best seen on foot. Unfortunately, most of us think little of the potential dangers posed to pedestrians. Because pedestrians lack adequate protection, such as a motorist’s seatbelt or a cyclist’s helmet, pedestrians face a higher risk of suffering severe injuries or death in a roadway accident.
The Tappahannock personal injury attorneys at Emroch & Kilduff believes all pedestrian accidents can be prevented, and it’s our mission to ensure residents have a resource to turn to when the worst occurs. Read on for more information on what to know following a pedestrian accident.
Pedestrian Laws Help Keep You Safe
While pedestrians usually have the right-of-way, Tappahannock pedestrians must also follow state laws when traversing roadways and sidewalks. While these laws are in place to help keep pedestrians safe, accidents still happen. Per the rules, a pedestrian may only cross when facing a green signal, but if a vehicle runs a red light, it could still hit the pedestrian. Pedestrians also have the right-of-way in certain situations, though vehicles may ignore the rules. Should a vehicle hit a pedestrian when the pedestrian has the right-of-way, the driver of the vehicle is usually liable for the injuries or death of the pedestrian.
Most pedestrian accidents happen when a person is walking in the roadway. In areas without sidewalks, a pedestrian doesn’t have a choice; he or she has to walk on the road. Some common-sense practices can help keep pedestrians safe. A pedestrian can decrease the risk of an accident by walking against the traffic and keeping a close eye on vehicles, instead of burying his or her head in a smartphone or other electronic device.
If you must cross the street, use crosswalks, and stay to the right in the crosswalks. If no crosswalk exists, then cross at an intersection, if possible. Keep in mind that if you are in a crosswalk, you have the right-of-way, but if you cross in a place without the crosswalk, vehicles have the right-of-way. Before you cross the street, even in a crosswalk, make sure the driver sees you by making eye contact with the driver. If a driver isn’t paying attention, he or she may not see you starting to cross the road, especially in a busy intersection. Or, a driver may not pay attention to the traffic signals and run a red light.
Injuries You May Suffer in a Pedestrian Accident
Because Tappahannock pedestrians usually don’t have much protection when out on the road, especially during the summer, they have a much higher risk of suffering from catastrophic injuries or death in an accident. Injuries they could experience include the following:
- Bumps, bruises, cuts, and scrapes
- Road rash
- Strains, sprains, pulled muscles, torn muscles, and other soft tissue injuries
- Simple fractures and compound fractures (when the bone breaks the skin)
- Internal injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Head, neck, and shoulder injuries
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Psychological issues, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
State law generally permits accident victims to recover three types of damages: (1) special, (2) general, and (3) exemplary. Courts order special and general damages in an attempt to make victims whole again. While money won’t necessarily make injured individuals recover faster—or at all, in the case of long-term or permanent injuries, and it won’t bring a loved one back, money can help to reduce financial stress related to lost income due to injuries or the death of a loved one.
Special damages, also known as economic damages, are those with a dollar sign attached to them.
These damages generally have a set value and include the following:
- Medical expenses related to the accident that a victim has already incurred
- Future medical expenses for those that occurred because of the accident and after the settlement or the trial
- Past lost income for those that occurred before settlement or the trial
- Future lost income for those that occurred after a settlement or the trial
- Medical and other equipment needed to cope with long-term or permanent injuries, including ambulatory aid and modifications to your home and/or vehicle. Usually, modifications are for long-term or permanent injuries.
- Funeral and burial expenses
General damages, also known as non-economic damages, generally do not have a set price attached to them. These damages are usually awarded if you have long-term injuries or lost a loved one in an accident.
Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium, if you can no longer have a physical relationship with your spouse
- Inconvenience, if you have to hire someone to do the chores you usually do, including cleaning, grocery shopping, home maintenance, and lawn maintenance
- Loss of use of a body part or function, such as a hand or your eyesight
Virginia courts only award exemplary damages, including punitive damages, when a defendant’s behavior was grossly negligent or malicious. Unlike economic and non-economic damages, which are meant to make victims whole again, courts award punitive damages as punishment to defendants for their actions or inactions.
Criminal Actions in Pedestrian Accidents
In some cases, the state may charge a driver with criminal actions, such as driving under the influence. In these cases, the civil aspects of your case operate independently of the criminal case; you can still settle with the insurance company for your injuries, or you can sue the driver’s insurance company and/or the driver.
Commercial Pedestrian Accidents
In some cases, when a commercial vehicle hits a pedestrian, the pedestrian can pursue other parties in addition to the driver. For example, if a dispatcher told a driver to “get the load delivered in 10 hours” when the dispatcher knows that the driver actually needs 12 hours due to the hours of service regulations, and the truck driver ends up falling asleep at the wheel because he failed to take the breaks required by the hours-of-service regulations, the courts may find the dispatcher liable for damages.
Alternatively, a truck maintenance company may share liability if it did not complete the truck maintenance as required. These are just examples; your Tappahannock pedestrian accident lawyer can help you identify responsible parties, and help ensure you are compensated by those liable for your injuries.
Call Our Tappahannock Pedestrian Accident Attorneys Now
If you suffer from injuries caused by a pedestrian accident or lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident, contact Emroch & Kilduff or call us at (804) 358-1568 for a free consultation with an experienced Tappahannock pedestrian accident lawyer.
“I had a really great experience with Ward and his staff. He constantly kept me up to date with my case and allowed me to put alot of money in my pocket which helped me with my bills. I am forever grateful to this firm for how they handled my accident. I hope I never get injured again but if I do I know who I am calling. Thanks again Ward and staff!”
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