Virginia Pedestrian Accident Attorneys
You’ve been crossing the street since you were a kid, and you probably don’t give it much thought. After all, nearly everyone is a pedestrian some of the time. Pedestrians, however, are especially vulnerable to the traffic around them. When you’re on foot, there is absolutely nothing between you and the cars that go whizzing by. As our lives grow busier by the day, we run more errands, dash in and out of even more parking lots, run to catch WALK signals at crossings while corralling kids, and generally just do more. Although it might seem like it’s adding time to your day, take the time to carefully consider how to keep yourself safe as a pedestrian (even if you are just walking from the parking lot), and take the necessary precautions.
Pedestrian Accidents: The Statistics
The statistics related to pedestrian accidents are alarming, and the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center shares several stats that should give you pause:
- There were more than 5,000 pedestrian fatalities in pedestrian/motor vehicle accidents in 2015, which is the highest number of such fatalities since 1996.
- From 2006 to 2015, the number of pedestrians injured in crashes rose nearly 15 percent (from 61,000 injuries to 70,000 injuries).
- From 2006 to 2015, total traffic-accident fatalities dropped by nearly 18 percent while pedestrian-accident fatalities rose by 12 percent.
If someone else’s negligence has caused you to be injured in a pedestrian accident, you need experienced counsel. The skilled Richmond personal injury attorneys at Emroch & Kilduff have the experience, knowledge, and dedication to guide your pedestrian-accident claim toward its most favorable resolution, and we’re here to help.
Pedestrians and Virginia Law
Certain Virginia pedestrian regulations exist that apply to crosswalks, sidewalks, roadways, and highways:
- Pedestrians have the right of way on sidewalks and are required to use them whenever available (instead of using the roadway). If there is no sidewalk or walkway, pedestrians should stay to the far left of the roadway and should face traffic (or should stay on either side of the road’s shoulder if it’s wide enough to allow safe passage).
- When crossing highways, pedestrians must—whenever possible—cross only at intersections or marked crosswalks. Further, pedestrians mustn’t carelessly interfere with the orderly passage of traffic.
- Whenever there are pedestrian control signals, such as WALK and DON’T WALK, in place, pedestrians must obey these signals.
- Pedestrians mustn’t step onto a highway anywhere between intersections where their presence is obscured from the vision of drivers (in other words, pedestrians mustn’t step into traffic where they can’t be seen).
- Pedestrians mustn’t stop or stand in any roadway to solicit rides.
In Virginia, pedestrians and drivers alike share the duty of keeping the roads safe for everyone.
Drivers’ Duty of Care
In Virginia, the drivers on the road owe a duty of care to everyone else on the road. This includes pedestrians. This duty of care relates to what a reasonable driver would do under similar circumstances. To drive with reasonable care, drivers must safely adhere to the rules of the road and must abstain from driving negligently. Driving with reasonable care means incorporating a variety of important regulations into one’s driving practices:
- Not driving while impaired
- Not driving while distracted (smartphones are the number one cause of distraction, and texting while driving is illegal in Virginia)
- Obeying all traffic signals and signs
- Yielding the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks and intersections
- Adjusting driving to accommodate the low visibility of night driving and for the poor driving conditions caused by inclement weather
Virginia drivers owe a duty of care to drive reasonably to everyone with whom they share the road.
Distracted Drivers and Pedestrian Accidents
Distracted driving has become such a concern and is so dangerous to pedestrians that it’s important to take a closer look. The distracted driving issue, in fact, has become so pronounced that the Department of Transportation has devoted a website, distraction.gov, to the problem.
As people become ever more integrated with their smartphones, some drivers have come to the erroneous conclusion that they can drive and use a smartphone at the same time. Unfortunately, these drivers are sadly mistaken. To safely operate a car, the driver must be able to make critical decisions within short windows of reaction time. Distracted drivers simply cannot be relied upon to safely accomplish this crucial task, and sometimes pedestrians pay a steep price for their distraction.
Pedestrians’ Duty of Care
As a pedestrian, you are vulnerable. Pedestrians, however, also share the responsibility of keeping themselves safe when they’re hoofing it. In fact, there are a variety of precautions that you can incorporate into your pedestrian-safety arsenal:
- Don’t enter traffic inappropriately—always use marked crosswalks or intersections when available and never dart in front of moving vehicles.
- Stay alert when you walk (pedestrians can be distracted, too) and follow all posted pedestrian signs and signals.
- If you must walk in the dark, wear reflective clothing that allows you to be seen.
It’s always in your best interest to take every precaution to keep yourself safe when you’re on foot. Pedestrian accidents are dangerous accidents.
If You’ve Been Injured in a Pedestrian Accident, Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you or someone you care about has been injured in a pedestrian accident that was caused by a driver’s negligence, you know how traumatizing that can be. Pedestrian accidents are some of the most dangerous and devastating on the road. At Emroch & Kilduff, we understand just how difficult these claims can be and we’re here to help you navigate them.
If you’ve been injured, first seek immediate medical attention and then consult with an experienced Richmond, or Fredericksburg, Virginia, personal injury lawyer. The knowledgeable legal team at Emroch & Kilduff specializes in pedestrian accident cases, and we’ve got the expertise, experience, and commitment to aggressively advocate for your rights and for your rightful compensation. Please contact or call us today at 804-358-1568 for your initial consultation.