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Don't be a wreck after a pedestrian wreck: Fight back

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, about 5,000 pedestrians lose their lives in car accidents every year. In addition, nearly 76,000 of them back in 2012 suffered injuries after motor vehicles struck them.

A pedestrian accident in Virginia can be a frightening experience, as unlike car passengers, pedestrians have nothing surrounding them to protect them from an oncoming motor vehicle. If this type of accident injured you, fortunately you have the right to seek to hold accountable the driver who caused your wreck.

What must I prove to hold the driver accountable?

If a driver hit you as you were walking along a crosswalk, for example, you have to prove the following to establish that he or she was negligent in the accident:

  • The driver owed a duty to you to protect you from harm under the circumstances surrounding the accident.
  • The driver breached his or her legal duty by either taking a certain action or not taking a certain action.
  • The driver caused a wreck that involved you.
  • The accident caused you harm.

Examples of situations where a driver may be negligent include if he or she was driving while distracted, failing to obey traffic signals, speeding, not giving pedestrians such as yourself the right-of-way and not signaling while making a turn. Driving while impaired or ignoring weather conditions are also negligent actions.

What should I expect?

Both you, as a pedestrian, and other drivers are expected to exercise a reasonable amount of care on the road. This means you all must follow traffic laws. If you fail to follow road rules and end up suffering an injury as a result, you are partially to blame for your wreck; in other words, you have engaged in contributory negligence. Examples of contributory negligence are as follows:

  • You darted in front of a car.
  • You did not utilize marked crosswalks.
  • You entered an area with traffic and ended up disrupting the traffic's flow.
  • You paid no attention to the signal for walking at a road intersection.

What should I do following my crash?

If a driver caused your accident due to negligence, you may opt to pursue monetary damages. If you contributed to your accident, you can expect your monetary award to be reduced accordingly. A financial award cannot undo the events leading to your pedestrian wreck, but it may help you to cover your medical bills and address pain and suffering resulting from the accident.

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