Experienced Virginia Pedestrian Injury Lawyers
Accidents Involving Motor Vehicles and Pedestrians
The attorneys at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers have more than 55 years of combined experience in helping pedestrians who have been hit by cars, trucks, buses or motorcycles on the highways, crosswalks and sidewalks of Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. Pedestrians are the most vulnerable of accident victims because they have no steel frame to protect them like motorists. Children are often the victims of auto/pedestrian accidents. In the United States, a pedestrian is killed by a vehicle every 113 minutes.
Pedestrian Deaths and Injuries in Virginia
Figures from Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (VDOT) reveal 78 pedestrians lost their lives, and 1,718 were injured in Virginia in 2015. The figure is about six times less than the number of drivers killed over the same period, but pedestrians are more likely to lose their lives than cyclists in Virginia. In 2015, the deaths of 15 cyclists were recorded in Virginia. About a third of all pedestrian deaths were attributable to alcohol. Drivers speeding accounted for the deaths of 9 pedestrians and injuries to 93 in 2015.
The Most Dangerous Places for Pedestrian Accidents in Hampton Roads
Typically, the pedestrian-unfriendly cities of Hampton Roads are the most dangerous places for walkers. While older neighborhoods such as Olde Towne Portsmouth and Ghent in Norfolk have plenty of sidewalks, pedestrian-only areas, and crosswalks, newer cities such as Virginia Beach, Newport News and Chesapeake, developed rapidly in the 1950s and 1960s and were built around the automobile.
These cities feature some major fast-moving urban roads that split communities in two and have few places to cross. Hampton Roads is the 36th most dangerous place in the United States for pedestrian accidents. Our Virginia and North Carolina pedestrian crash lawyers see the highest number of serious pedestrian accidents on:
- Tidewater Drive in Norfolk: Tidewater Drive is a major north-south highway that goes through some dense urban developments. Fatal pedestrian accidents occur regularly here.
- Jefferson Avenue in Newport News: Jefferson Avenue is a wide, fast-moving north-south highway on the Peninsula. It has a horrendous record for serious pedestrian accidents and a lack of sidewalks and crosswalks. Residents of the communities off hazardous Jefferson Avenue take their lives in their hands crossing the road.
- Shore Drive in Virginia Beach: Shore Drive has a bad record for pedestrian accidents as well as single vehicle accidents. Excess speed and pedestrian accidents have dogged the road.
- Route 12 in North Carolina: Route 12 runs north to south down the Outer Banks of North Carolina. In the summer it’s used by many drivers who are unfamiliar with the dangers and walkers who are visiting restaurants and bars are vulnerable. Route 12 sees a considerable number of pedestrian accidents.
The Rights of Pedestrians in Virginia
Pedestrians should follow certain laws in Virginia. If you violate a law, you are likely to be seen as contributing to your accident and will be unable to make an insurance claim against a driver who injured you. Some of these rules, like the one barring you from stepping into the middle of the road in front of traffic, are obvious. Others are less so. For example, if there is a sidewalk, pedestrians must use it under Virginia pedestrian law. If you have to walk on the road, you should walk on the “extreme left” facing the traffic.
Under Virginia law, pedestrians must cross the road on crosswalks if they are available. They are usually easy to identify because they are marked with white lines painted on the street. There are also unmarked crosswalks which occur anywhere where sidewalks meet and streets intersect. They are less easy for drivers to spot. Cars, trucks, motorcyclists or the drivers of other vehicles must yield to pedestrians on a crosswalk. However, pedestrians have a duty not to “carelessly or maliciously” interfere with the traffic. They also need to abide by “walk” and “don’t walk” signals when these exist at crosswalks. As a pedestrian, you should be aware you are not permitted to stand in the road and solicit a ride.
Common Injuries Sustained by Pedestrians
- Head Injuries: About 10 percent of crashes involving a pedestrian involve a head injury. These are among the most serious types of injury, as we explain here.
- Spinal Injuries: As in the case of head injuries, the incidence of spinal injuries in pedestrian crashes increases markedly with age.
- Fractures: The most common types of fracture in a pedestrian accident include fractures to the fibula, tibia, and femur (leg bones), arms, hip, ribs and pelvis.
- Lacerations: If you end up with lacerations, contusions, and abrasions on your hands and face, after a car accident, you have probably had a lucky escape. It will likely not be worth filing a claim against an at-fault driver for these kinds of injuries.
- Accidents Involving Children: While it’s unexpected for an adult to step into the road, there’s a different standard of care for children. If you are driving in a school zone or a residential area where children are likely to be playing, you should always be prepared for the unexpected and look out for children.
Contact Us If You Have Been Seriously Hurt in a Pedestrian/Car Accident
If you have been hurt in a pedestrian accident, you should seek medical care as soon as possible in the first 24 hours after the crash. Use your family doctor if possible, or visit the emergency room. If you are not too seriously injured at the accident scene, seek out witness statements and take photos. The driver who hit you may try to claim you were somewhere you should not have been.
Cooper Hurley has a main office in Norfolk and client meeting locations in Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, Hampton and the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Our experienced Virginia and North Carolina injury lawyers have been working with pedestrians who have been injured or the families of those who have lost their lives for decades. Please contact us at (757) 455-0077 for a confidential consultation with John Cooper, Jim Hurley, Griff O’Hanlon or Bill O’Mara.