Whether you live in or are just visiting Virginia Beach, you may have noticed just how easy it is to get around without a car. In fact, Virginia has been rated as the third most walkable city in the United States! Yet walking and running can still be dangerous. In 2021 alone, there were 1,399 pedestrian accidents in Virginia – including 125 fatal crashes.
If you are hit by a motor vehicle while walking or running, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover financial compensation. The at-fault driver may be responsible for all of your losses, including property damage, lost wages, medical bills, future medical treatment, and pain and suffering. A Virginia Beach pedestrian accident lawyer can help you file a claim so you can get the money that you deserve.
Based in Virginia Beach, the Jeff Brooke Team represents injury victims who have been hurt in car accidents, slip and falls, pedestrian accidents, and more. We offer free initial consultations, and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. To learn more or to set up an appointment with a member of our legal team, give us a call today.
How Do Pedestrian Accidents Happen?
In Virginia, motor vehicles are required to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians crossing the street in a crosswalk, a regular pedestrian crossing, and in many intersections. Despite these laws, pedestrian accidents are all too common in our state. Walkers, runners, and joggers can suffer serious or even fatal injuries when they are struck by a car, truck, or SUV.
Driver negligence – or carelessness – is one of the biggest causes of pedestrian accidents in Virginia Beach. Negligence can take many forms, such as:
- Distracted driving (such as texting and driving)
- Drunk driving
- Failure to properly signal before turning
- Failure to yield at crosswalks and pedestrian crossings
- Reckless driving
In some cases, pedestrians may contribute to the accident by making their own careless decisions – such as jaywalking or not paying attention when crossing a road.
People who are hit by a car often suffer catastrophic injuries. This may include anything from broken bones to spinal cord injuries to traumatic brain injury (TBI) to internal organ damage. In some cases, their injuries are so serious that they pass away. In these situations, their loved ones may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Can I File a Lawsuit for My Pedestrian Accident?
If you are hit by a car when walking, jogging, or running, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible driver. These cases are usually based on a theory of negligence. This legal term means that a person failed to use the level of care that a reasonable person would use in a similar situation.
An injury victim (plaintiff) can prove that the driver (defendant) was negligent in any number of ways. For example, if the defendant ran a stop sign and hit them, then they can seek compensation for their injuries. Similarly, if a driver was on their phone and failed to see a pedestrian, they would be considered negligent for causing a pedestrian accident.
However, it is important to know that Virginia is one of just a handful of states (including Washington, D.C., and Maryland) that follow a pure contributory negligence rule. Under this rule, if the defendant can prove that you were even partially at fault for the accident, you won’t be able to recover financial compensation for your injuries. This incredibly harsh law is often used by insurance companies to deny legitimate pedestrian accident claims.
The question of negligence can be complex, and a skilled attorney may be able to prove that the accident was not actually your fault. The best way to protect your interests is to reach out to a Virginia Beach pedestrian accident lawyer to schedule a free initial consultation.
What Compensation Can I Recover for a Pedestrian Accident?
In a personal injury case, you may be entitled to financial compensation for three types of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive. Economic and non-economic damages are compensatory, which means that they compensate an injury victim for their losses. Punitive damages are designed to punish a wrongdoer who acted intentionally or recklessly.
Economic damages cover direct financial losses. Depending on the facts of your case, they may include property damage, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, medical expenses, and future medical care. Your attorney can prove your economic damages using evidence like invoices, medical bills, and pay stubs.
Non-economic damages compensate injury victims for intangible losses. Examples of non-economic damages include pain and suffering, emotional distress, scarring, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life. These damages can be harder to prove, but your lawyer will consult with experts and use their knowledge of similar cases to put together a strong claim for damages.
Finally, punitive damages are available in some personal injury cases when the defendant acted intentionally or recklessly. For example, if a drunk driver hit a pedestrian, they may be liable for punitive damages. Virginia law caps punitive damages at $350,000.
How Can a Virginia Beach Pedestrian Accident Attorney Help?
After being hit by a car, you may be approached by an insurance adjuster. They may ask you to give a statement. They may even offer you a settlement.
You should not talk to the at-fault driver’s insurance company until you have had a chance to speak with a lawyer. The reason why is simple: the insurer is not on your side. Their goal is to pay out as little as possible, not to make sure that you get maximum compensation.
By contrast, your attorney is obligated to represent your best interests. They’ll take on the big insurance company for you, working hard to get you top dollar for your injuries. Throughout the process, they will fight for your rights – and stand up to the insurance company.
Most personal injury law firms handle cases on a contingency fee basis. With this type of arrangement, you don’t pay anything upfront and only pay a fee if your lawyer recovers money for you through a settlement or verdict at trial. This type of fee agreement aligns your interests with your attorney’s, as you both want to get the most money for your claim as quickly as possible.
Studies show that people represented by legal counsel recover an average of 40% more than people who represent themselves in personal injury cases. If you have been hurt in a pedestrian accident in Virginia Beach, your best option is to consult with a lawyer as soon as you are able to do so.
Call the Jeff Brooke Team Today
Being struck by a car can be incredibly traumatic. In the weeks and months after your accident, you may be overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next. Our law firm can help.
The Jeff Brooke Team advocates for injury victims in the greater Virginia Beach region. We fight to get our clients the best possible recovery for their injuries, taking on the insurance company so they can focus on what is truly important: their health. To learn more or to schedule a free initial consultation, give us a call at 757-552-6055 or fill out our online contact form.