Pedestrian accidents typically involve automobiles. When car insurance companies learn of such incidents, they’re often eager to handle claims as quickly as possible – and pay out the least amount they can. Don’t be intimidated into taking a settlement that’s smaller than you deserve.
Our Virginia pedestrian accident attorneys can advocate for your needs and fight for the justice to which you’re entitled. Negligent drivers should be held liable for their actions behind the wheel.
On average, 12 people a day are struck and killed by cars – because the human body is no match for the average car on the road. Pedestrian accidents rarely result in major damage to the vehicle but typically have deadly consequences for the pedestrian. Victims may suffer serious, catastrophic injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and even wrongful death.
VIRGINIA PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENT LAWYER
As a Virginia personal injury lawyer, Richard Serpe advocates for those injured due to the negligence of another person or company. A substantial portion of his 35-year legal career has been devoted to representing and protecting injured children. He’s earned a reputation as a well-respected, hard-working attorney with a tenacious approach to every case he takes on. Richard Serpe has a track record of success in obtaining favorable settlements and verdicts for his clients.
Awards and Recognition
- Best Lawyers® : (2005 – Present)
- Super Lawyer : (2006 – Present)
- Martindale-Hubbell: AV Preeminent Rating
- Avvo.com: Rated 10/10 – “Superb”
COMMON PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENT CAUSES
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 55,000 pedestrians were injured in car accidents in 2020 nationwide. Another 6,516 people lost their lives in pedestrian crashes that same year. A vast majority of pedestrian accidents are caused by motorists. Pedestrians must be hyperaware of how they fit into changing traffic patterns and road conditions. Drivers often fail to even recognize the presence of pedestrians from the safety and protection of their cars and trucks. When motorists do spot pedestrians on the road, they may grow impatient waiting for a safe chance to pass by. Common causes of pedestrian accidents include:
- Distracted drivers
- Failure to yield to the right of way
- Pedestrians forced off the road by a car or truck entering their lane of traffic
- Improper passing
- Excessive speed, along with reckless and careless driving
- Drunk driving and driving under the influence of drugs
- Failing to obey traffic laws – running stop signs and red lights, etc.
- Backing up without looking
COMMON PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENT INJURIES
When a person is struck by a vehicle, even a minor collision can cause serious physical damage. The human body is delicate. Soft tissue and bone can’t withstand the weight of the one and half tons of metal, glass, and rubber that comprise the typical motor vehicle. Even worse, many pedestrian accidents are preventable. When drivers exercise caution behind the wheel, injuries can be avoided altogether. A Virginia pedestrian accident lawyer can review the facts of your case and help you determine next steps. Body parts often injured in pedestrian accidents include:
- Lower extremities
- Head, neck, and face
- Upper extremities
TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURIES
Pedestrian accidents often lead to severe and even fatal injuries. The force of a car can cause traumatic bran and spinal cord injuries, leaving the victim with life-changing disabilities.
Traumatic brain injuries, also known as TBI, happen when a foreign object penetrates the skull. They can also occur when a jarring motion causes a disruption to the brain’s normal functions. Immediate medical care can help mitigate the damage, but the injuries sustained in pedestrian accidents are often permanent. A TBI may cause mental and cognitive impairments, sensory issues, memory loss, personality changes, and beyond. TBI injuries can be hard to evaluate and even harder to diagnose. The brain’s unique characteristics can make it difficult for doctor’s to understand exactly what damage has been done.
Traumatic spinal cord injuries happen when the spinal cord becomes compressed, torn or impacted. These injuries hinder the communication between the brain and sensory system. Spinal cord injuries may result in mobility loss, impaired sensory perception, and more.
Severe pedestrian accident injuries often warrant constant medical or rehabilitative care. They rob victims of their independence and quality of life. When such injuries are the result of a careless driver, you may have grounds for compensation to assist with medical bills, lost income, and other damages.
LIABILITY IN VIRGINIA PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENTS
Determining fault in pedestrian accidents is similar to car accident cases. There may be other rules that apply to pedestrians, like duty of care and contributory negligence, but not to motor vehicles. An experienced pedestrian accident lawyer can help you seek compensation for any injuries you may have sustained.
The speed that a motor vehicle was traveling at the time of the incident can impact liability. If a person is speeding especially fast around a corner, at an intersection, or on rural roads at night, this can dramatically influence and increase the odds that they are found liable for a pedestrian accident.
To determine liability in Virginia pedestrian accident cases, a party must be identified as “at fault.” For instance, a motorist has a duty to respect traffic laws and stop for pedestrians in intersections. When a driver breaches that duty and an accident occurs, liability is clear. There are a number of reasons why a person is determined to be liable and whether negligence is a factor.
COMPENSATION FOR VIRGINIA PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENTS
In Virginia, damages are usually broken down into one of two categories: economic or non-economic. Economic damages include medical bills, lost wages, and potential future medical expenses, lost future earnings because of a permanent injury, and costs associated with a Virginia wrongful death.
Expert testimony is often necessary for calculating economic damages. An economist or vocational rehabilitation expert may need to weigh in to help determine the exact damages you’re owed. If your suffered a permanent injury that jeopardizes your ability to do your job, an economist can help you project your future earnings. A vocational rehabilitation expert can evaluate your abilities and help you determine which kinds of jobs you may be able to do. They can offer insight into the availability of such jobs and how much they pay in your market. An economist then takes those numbers to project your future earnings over the course of your work-life expectancy.
A life care plan can also be developed if you require a lifetime of care. By projecting out future medical costs and other expenses you might need, experts help establish the damages you are owed.
Non-economic damages must also be factored into the equation. This is often referred to as pain and suffering, but it can also include the impact that your injuries have on your daily life. After a serious, life-changing injury, everything from taking a shower to cooking dinner and driving to work can become a challenge. You may no longer be able to enjoy hobbies like golfing or going to the gym. Perhaps you’re able to return to work but spend your entire shift in pain. You deserve to be compensated for these factors, even if it’s challenging to assign a dollar value to them.
When negligent drivers strike pedestrians, they breach the duty of care they owe to their fellow human being. Should an accident victim sustain injuries because of a careless driver, they should be compensated. It’s often up to a jury to award non-economic damages, but an attorney can make all the difference when advocating for fair compensation for their clients.
WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIMS FOR SURVIVING FAMILIES
Sometimes, pedestrian accidents are fatal. Virginia’s wrongful death statute allows the family of the victim to pursue legal action on behalf of the deceased. While nothing can undo the horrifying damage done, this is one of the only ways to ensure the at-fault driver is held accountable for their negligence.
In Virginia, wrongful death damages may include medical expenses for treatment that the victim incurred for an injury that resulted in their death. Funeral expenses can also be included in a wrongful death settlement. The family may also pursue damages for the sorrow, mental anguish, and loss of companionship they experienced as a result of the accident.
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN FILING A CLAIM
If you’ve been involved in a pedestrian accident, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention. Contact law enforcement, too – you’ll want documentation of the incident on record. If there are any criminal elements in play, you’ll want police on the scene to perform DWI tests. After seeking medical attention and speaking with police, you’ll want to consider calling an experienced Virginia pedestrian accident lawyer.
Every pedestrian accident is different. That means every pedestrian accident claim is unique, too. While you may be eager to seek justice as quickly as possible, patience is key. Most of the time, those injured as a result of a pedestrian accident will want to make a full recovery before making a formal demand for settlement. The goal is maximum medical improvement, or MMI. This allows you to fully understand the long-term impact your injuries have on your quality of life and employment before resolving your case.
DEALING WITH INSURANCE COMPANIES
As the injured party in a pedestrian accident, you’ll almost certainly be contacted by the motorist’s insurance company. They’ll be eager to learn about the extent of your injuries. Their duty is to determine what their exposure is and how much of a claim you have against the insurer. Insurance companies want to pay off claims as quickly as possible for the least amount of money they can get away with.
Insurance companies are very good at gathering information quickly. They’ll try to reach out to you shortly after the accident to determine the true nature of your injuries. This may be at a time when you’re not really ready to answer their questions. They will hold you to the statements you make during your period of distress. That’s why it’s so important to know that you’re actually not obligated to provide them with any information other than your identity. You don’t need to speak with them about the nature of your injuries. Instead, turn the conversation over to an experienced pedestrian accident attorney who can help you deal with the insurance company so you can focus on healing.
VIRGINIA STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
In our state, there are strict deadlines for filing a lawsuit. In many cases, the Commonwealth of Virginia provides a two-year deadline also known as a Statute of Limitations. However, special circumstances apply depending on the age or disability of the person injured. Don’t wait to seek compensation – speak an experienced attorney as soon as possible after the accident. This is vitally important in protecting your rights so that you can receive the maximum settlement for your case. If a deadline is missed, your opportunity to file a claim may be lost forever.
VIRGINIA PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENT LAWYERS
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you should know your legal rights. Call attorney Richard Serpe now for your free, no obligation case review 757-233-0009. We charge no legal fees unless we settle or win.