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Turning Right on Red in Virginia – It’s a Privilege Not a Right

I pride myself in helping clients through their toughest times.- Bill O’Mara

Attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers

Turning Right on Red in Virginia – It’s a Privilege Not a Right

Some of the most severe injury cases that I handle are those which involve a pedestrian being struck by a vehicle at an intersection. Many of these accidents involve a vehicle turning right on red in Virginia.

Far too often, I meet with people who have been struck by a vehicle turning right on red.  Unfortunately, many drivers simply do not appreciate the danger they pose to pedestrians when turning right at a red traffic light.

When I first got my driver’s license at sixteen years old, my parents reminded me that driving is a privilege, not a right.  Similarly, turning right on red is a privilege, not a right.  In fact, turning right on red in Virginia may violate the rights of others.

Turning right on red in Virginia

Turning right on red in Virginia

Under Virginia Code Section 46.2-924, pedestrians have the right-of-way when crossing “at any clearly marked crosswalk” or “any regular pedestrian crossing.”  When it comes to drivers marking right-hand turns on red, the law goes even further stating that pedestrians crossing at intersections “shall at all times have the right-of-way over vehicles making turns into the [roads] being crossed by the pedestrians."  Unfortunately, many drivers do not follow these rules.

Remember, it is a privilege to turn right on red.  A driver must examine the intersection and ensure that the exercise of the privilege to turn right on red will not violate the rights of a pedestrian.

However, many times drivers are only focused on whether the current vehicular traffic allows for a safe right turn on red.  Drivers tend to overly focus their attention to the left, looking for other vehicles passing through the intersection, and never look to the right to check if any pedestrians are lawfully crossing the street.

A violation of this Virginia traffic law is negligence, and when that negligence results in injury to a pedestrian, the driver and his insurance company can be held liable.

Regrettably, insurance companies regularly will blame the pedestrian for these types of accidents in hopes of avoiding having to pay for the pedestrian’s medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering.  At Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers, we fight the insurance company at every step of the way and refuse to accept its failure to take responsibility.

Please contact us to talk to one of our Hampton Roads pedestrian accident attorneys about your rights as a pedestrian and how we get full compensation from the insurance companies.

Griff O'Hanlon

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John Cooper

John Cooper is a veteran of personal injury law practice in Virginia. A native Virginian, he was raised in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases and recently handled the largest auto accident settlement in 2010, according to VA Lawyers Weekly. The award provided $3.5 million to a child whose young father died when the vehicle he was a passenger in was rear-ended by a careless truck driver.

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Jim Hurley

Jim Hurley has been practicing law throughout Virginia for more than two-and-a-half decades. During his career, he has tried more than 100 jury trials — a staggering number — and handled hundreds more that were settled out of court. He is guided by the principle that the client is in charge of his or her case and should be kept fully aware of the litigation process. Jim has been awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given, for his practice of law. He was named in Virginia Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, 2016.

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Bill O’mara

Bill O’Mara started his legal career in 2008, moving back to his home town of Chesapeake, VA. He has practiced in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury and other litigation. He has gained extensive court room and trial experience, including contested trials before judges and juries across Hampton Roads. In 2014, Mr. O’Mara joined Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers as an associate attorney. He became a partner in 2017.

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