When a vehicle hits a pedestrian, the pedestrian will lose every time. Because of their complete exposure to the full impact of an oncoming vehicle, pedestrians are at a much higher risk of suffering severe injury or death in the event of an accident. When they survive, pedestrian accident victims are often left struggling to pay mounting medical bills while unable to work due to their injuries.
At Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, we proudly defend the rights of injury victims throughout our community and state. We believe that no injury victim should lack excellent legal representation in their hour of need, and we strive to provide that representation each and every time. If you or a loved one were injured in a pedestrian accident you did not cause, contact us today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.
Pedestrian Accident Statistics in West Virginia
Pedestrian accidents are a serious problem in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 7,000 pedestrians were killed in auto accidents in one recent year, which translates to about one death every 75 minutes!
According to the West Virginia Department of Transportation, the numbers show little signs of improvement within our state. The agency reports that 31 pedestrians died in another recent year, up from 22 fatalities the previous year. Those 31 deaths represent the highest number of pedestrian fatalities statewide since 2012. Looking at the numbers differently, those 31 pedestrian deaths made up about 12 percent of all traffic fatalities in the state, up from 9 percent in 2012.
Common Injuries Sustained in Pedestrian Accidents
Again, because pedestrians have virtually zero protection from the impact of an oncoming vehicle, they are at a much higher risk of sustaining catastrophic or fatal injuries in the event of an accident. Even a low-speed impact can lead to serious injuries. Some common injuries we see in pedestrian accident cases we handle include:
- Bruises, lacerations, and puncture wounds
- Soft-tissue strains, sprains, and tears
- Dislocated, fractured, and broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries (SCIs), including full or partial paralysis
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
- Burn injuries, including “road rash”
- Scars, permanent disfigurement, and loss of limb
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Wrongful death
How to Prove Negligence in a West Virginia Pedestrian Accident
Plaintiffs in personal injury cases normally secure compensation by proving that someone caused an accident by behaving negligently. Negligence arises when someone fails to take a reasonable level of care to avoid harming others through their actions.
However, in cases where an at-fault driver’s failure to follow a traffic regulation put in place to keep people safe causes an accident, plaintiffs may be able to circumvent the traditional elements of negligence and instead rely on the legal doctrine of negligence per se. This legal theory is based on the idea that failure to obey safety laws is inherently negligent.
No matter which legal theory a claim is based on, plaintiffs must prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence. In other words, they must prove that the defendant was more likely than not responsible for the accident. Common types of evidence used in pedestrian accident cases include:
- Police accident reports
- Photos and videos of the crash site
- Footage from traffic, surveillance, and dash cameras
- Testimony from eyewitnesses
- Testimony from accident reconstruction specialists, traffic engineers, doctors, and other experts
- Cellphone, GPS, and traffic signal logs
- Medical treatment records
What Compensation Can I Receive Through a Pedestrian Accident Lawsuit?
If you successfully prove the defendant’s responsibility for your pedestrian accident, they will owe you compensation for both the economic and noneconomic impact your injuries and losses have on your life. Among other things, our attorneys can help you pursue compensation for things like:
- Medical and rehabilitation bills
- Lost wages during recovery
- Reduced future earning capacity
- Lowered quality of life
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Damaged personal property
What to Do If You Are Injured in a Pedestrian Accident
If you were struck by a vehicle as a pedestrian, there are a number of steps you can take to protect yourself and your legal right to compensation from the at-fault party. The remainder of this page goes over a few proactive steps you can take:
- Call 911 and report the collision – First, this will ensure that the scene is brought under control and that medical personnel arrives in time to provide emergency assistance if needed. Second, this will give the responding police officers an opportunity to conduct an investigation and prepare a police accident report, which will become an important piece of evidence in your case.
- Talk to the driver who hit you – If your injuries permit, ask the driver for their name, address, vehicle registration number, insurance provider’s name, and insurance policy number. If possible, also take pictures of their vehicle and license plate.
- Look for nearby surveillance cameras – Traffic and security cameras can provide crucial evidence in a pedestrian accident case. This is because they provide an unbiased view of how the accident unfolded. If you see any traffic or surveillance cameras nearby, take a picture marking its location.
- Check for eyewitnesses – If you see anyone nearby who might have witnessed the collision, ask them for their name, phone number, and address.
- Seek medical treatment – No matter how insignificant your injuries may seem after a pedestrian accident, you should always have them evaluated by a doctor. Even if you feel fine in the moments immediately following the accident, remember that many injuries (e.g., whiplash and concussions) may take some time to show symptoms after an accident. Seeking medical attention right away will ensure that these latent injuries are detected early on.
- Save your medical records and receipts – Your medical records and receipts will serve as essential evidence of your physical and financial losses from your pedestrian accident. Therefore, you will want to save these records to support your personal injury claim.
- Avoid talking to insurance companies – Be very careful when speaking with insurance adjusters, as they will be on the hunt for any reason they can find to legally deny your claim.
- Hire a pedestrian injury attorney – The sooner you speak to a pedestrian accident lawyer, the sooner they can start working on your case and help you recover the money you need.
Contact Our West Virginia Pedestrian Accident Lawyers Today
Pedestrian accidents are some of the most serious we see. Fortunately, you do not need to face the aftermath alone. While you focus on your physical recovery, let the legal team at Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, focus on recovering the full and fair compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer.
This post was originally published on June 2021 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness on May 2023.