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Motorists are not the only ones injured on Virginian roads. Pedestrians are hit by motor vehicles fairly regularly. If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident, you may wonder how these accidents happen and who you can turn to for help. Learn more about pedestrian accidents in Virginia.

How Do Pedestrian Accidents Happen?

Pedestrians are struck by motor vehicles and killed daily. In 2019, a pedestrian was killed approximately every 85 minutes in the U.S. Of course, there are even more pedestrian accidents that involve injury rather than death.

While pedestrian accidents can be serious and even fatal, sometimes the injuries may take longer to appear. An example of these types of latent injuries can be pedestrian whiplash. It is always advisable to seek medical treatment after a motor vehicle accident.

If you have been wondering, what are the leading causes of pedestrian accidents, there are a few common ways these accidents occur. Pedestrian accidents may involve:

  • Unmarked crosswalks
  • Pure negligence
  • Bad weather conditions
  • Distracted driving
  • Not following traffic signals
  • Failure to abide by speed limits

Unmarked Crosswalks

Marked crosswalks can offer pedestrians a false sense of safety when crossing roads. However, many drivers fail to slow down when they see a crosswalk. This can open pedestrians up to being injured by moving vehicles. However, unmarked crosswalks can be even more dangerous. With unmarked crosswalks, even the drivers who may have slowed down for a marked crossing may not yield to the pedestrian. As such, the pedestrian may feel the need to dart quickly into a break in the flow of traffic. Of course, mistakes happen, and the pedestrian could be hit and seriously injured if they mistime their crossing.

Pure Negligence

Sometimes pedestrians are hit by cars and injured due to pure negligence. This negligence could lie with the driver, the pedestrian, or another party. For example, if traffic lights are broken or faulty, a pedestrian may believe it is safe to cross when the cars still have a green light. In this case, one liable party could be the entity responsible for keeping those road signals in proper working order. It could be the pedestrian's negligence if they engage in jaywalking or stepping into traffic without looking. Negligent drivers may be held liable if they were speeding, texting on their phones, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Negligence is one of several common causes of pedestrian accidents. 

Bad Weather Conditions

When inclement weather conditions strike, it can reduce visibility, make the roads slick or icy, cause a glare on the roads, or even cause drivers to panic or be distracted. If a pedestrian is walking nearby, a motorist could lose control of their vehicle and crash into the pedestrian. It is also possible that slick or icy roads could take a motorist through a crosswalk, a traffic light, or onto a sidewalk to cause mass pedestrian injuries.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving causes pedestrian deaths all around the U.S. Distractions can come in many forms, from children fighting and crying in the back seat to drivers talking on their cell phones. Drivers prone to distractions are more likely to end up in an accident. When taken to court, if the victim and their pedestrian accident attorney can gather enough evidence to prove the driver was distracted, then the court will find the distracted motorist to be the at-fault driver liable for the victim's injuries.

Not Following Traffic Signals

Not following traffic signals could result in a traffic violation for reckless driving. However, sometimes these motorists strike and injure pedestrians before the police can issue a violation. Disregarding traffic signals is incredibly reckless and utterly unnecessary. These motorists who fail to follow traffic signals put themselves, other drivers, and pedestrians in danger of serious accidents and injuries. Traffic signals exist to enhance roadway safety and efficiency for everyone using the roads. Drivers who don't abide by traffic signals open themselves up to lawsuits when they injure others.

Failure to Abide by Speed Limits

What are the main causes of pedestrian accidents?

One of the main causes of accidents on U.S. roadways is speeding. Almost every driver has broken the speed limit at least once. And it is a reasonably easy infraction to rationalize. Perhaps the driver was:

  • Running late for work, a meeting, or a date
  • Just following the flow of traffic
  • Enjoying having the road to themself — or so they thought

However, just because most drivers have been guilty of speeding does not reduce the damages caused by speeding drivers. Speeding is the cause of approximately one in three motor vehicle deaths, including those involving pedestrians.

Here are a few tips for pedestrians that may encounter speeding vehicles:

  • If you are at a crosswalk and see a car speeding toward you, do not assume they will stop and yield the right-of-way to you. They may be intoxicated or distracted, and if they are speeding toward the crosswalk, they may not make safe decisions.
  • If you are waiting at a stop light for a safe time to cross a road, wait to cross until you are sure all cars are stopping — even if you have been given the signal to cross. Sometimes vehicles blow through stoplights, and this could injure or even kill a pedestrian.
  • Never cross a road at a non-designated point, especially if the roadway is known for speeding vehicles. A pedestrian who crosses a street in an unmarked area is jaywalking. While jaywalking is a crime in some states and not in others, the fact remains that crossing roads on foot at unmarked locations is more dangerous than using crosswalks. This risk becomes even more significant if the road regularly has drivers speeding down it.

Traffic Laws to Follow When It Comes to Pedestrians

Many people may not realize that it isn't just cars that must follow traffic laws. Pedestrians have several traffic laws they must abide by or be aware of when sharing the road with motor vehicles. Here are a few of those laws:

  • Yielding: Drivers must yield to pedestrians in the following situations: 1) the pedestrian is in a marked crosswalk; 2) the pedestrian is in an intersection where the speed limit is under 35 mph; 3) traffic signals direct the motorist to stop or yield to a pedestrian.
  • Sidewalks: If a sidewalk is present, the pedestrian must use it. If there is no sidewalk, the pedestrian must stay on the farthest left side of the street.
  • Crosswalks: If no crosswalk is available, pedestrians are allowed to cross the road wherever they like, but they must yield to drivers.

Have You Been Injured in an Accident? Contact a Pedestrian Accident Attorney Today

Pedestrians are injured by motorists daily. If you have been hurt by a motorist, you should reach out to a Virginia pedestrian accident attorney today. You may be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries and damages. Contact the Commonwealth Law Group today to get answers to your pedestrian accident.

If you have been injured at work or through the negligence of another individual or entity, contact us at (804) 999-9999 or or use the form below to connect with our legal team. We will fight to get you the justice you deserve.