Common Causes of Crosswalk Accidents
As mentioned earlier, pedestrian accidents can result in some of the most severe and catastrophic injuries. And typically, it is the pedestrian who sustains the worst injuries when they are struck by a motor vehicle. In most cases, a crosswalk accident is the fault of the motorist who collides with the pedestrian. However, there are some instances when the pedestrian may be at fault.
Some of the ways that motorists may cause a crosswalk accident include:
- Speeding/Aggressive Driving: Driving aggressively or recklessly often contributes to a large percentage of motor vehicle collisions each year. Excessive speeding, weaving back and forth between lanes, tailgating, making sharp turns, and running stop signs or stop lights are common examples of aggressive or reckless driving that may cause a pedestrian accident. Sometimes, drivers are just running late, and they are in a hurry. Other times, they are in a “reckless” mindset in which they have a willful and wanton disregard for the rules of the road and the safety of others.
- Distracted Driving: These days, many drivers have a hard time staying off of their cell phones. Texting while driving and similar behavior is an especially dangerous form of distracted driving because it takes to driver’s full attention away from the road. And when a driver is looking down at their phone, it is easy not to see a pedestrian walking at a crosswalk until it is too late.
- Drowsy or Fatigued Driving: People who work long shifts and/or do not get enough sleep are sometimes tired and fatigued when they get behind the wheel. In the worst cases, a drowsy driver may fall asleep at the wheel, potentially causing widespread damage. But even if they stay awake, they can often become inattentive and have slower reaction times, making it easier to for them to overlook a pedestrian who is crossing at an intersection.
- Chemically Impaired Driving: Those who get behind the wheel after having too much to drink or using drugs typically make very poor driving decisions. Some become tired and sleepy and may even fall asleep while driving. Others abandon their inhibitions and drive recklessly. Either way, those who drive while intoxicated put themselves and others on the road in much greater danger.
Here are some ways that a pedestrian may be at fault for a crosswalk collision:
- Distractions/Inattentiveness: Pedestrians can also be distracted by their smartphones and other things. For example, a pedestrian could be sending a text, watching a video, or taking a selfie while crossing the street and not realize that there is a vehicle approaching.
- Improper Crossings: Pedestrians are only allowed to cross at an intersection when it is their turn. If they try to cross when the light is red, they risk walking into oncoming traffic.
- Chemical Impairment: Like motorists, some pedestrians also consume too much alcohol or drugs, which often causes them to make poor decisions when they approach a crosswalk.
Crosswalk Accident Claims in Virginia
When someone is injured in a pedestrian accident and another party was at fault, they have a right to compensation in the form of damages. Compensatory damages may include not only actual monetary losses such as medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and property damage, but also more intangible losses such as pain and suffering, psychological distress, diminished quality of life, disfigurement, and loss of consortium.
There are some rare cases in which an additional damage award known as punitive damages may be added on top of compensatory damages. This category of damages is there to “punish” the party responsible and discourage them and others from similar behavior in the future. To be awarded punitive damages, you must show clear and convincing evidence that the responsible party acted with malice or gross negligence. In Virginia, punitive damages are capped at $350,000 (§ 8.01-38.1).
Crosswalk accidents can be very complicated cases because there is sometimes a question about who was at fault. Insurance companies often try to pin at least some of the blame on injury victims in hopes of taking advantage of Virginia’s defendant-friendly “contributory negligence” legal doctrine.
Under contributory negligence, if an injured party is found to be even 1% responsible for the underlying accident, they can be barred from recovering damages. This is why it is absolutely essential to get an attorney involved as early as possible in the process, so a thorough investigation can be conducted immediately, and your legal right to recover compensation can be preserved.
Speak with a Skilled Virginia Crosswalk Accident Attorney
If you or someone close to you was injured in a pedestrian accident that was the fault of another party, seek immediate medical attention, then get in touch with Schilling & Esposito to discuss your legal rights and options. Call our office today at 804-261-1001 or send us a message through our online contact form to schedule your free consultation and case assessment.
We accept all personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, so you only pay attorney fees if we win your case