Over the last decade, pedestrian fatalities have been on the rise across the United States. Fortunately, this trend has not occurred in West Virginia, where the number of fatalities has decreased over the last 10 years. At least 20 pedestrians die in traffic accidents each year in West Virginia, not including the hundreds that suffer injuries.
Pedestrian accidents are among the most treacherous and potentially deadly of all traffic accidents. Those who walk, run, jog, etc., do not have the same protection as people riding in motor vehicles, increasing their risk for severe and fatal injuries. Sometimes pedestrians cause accidents, but most pedestrian accidents happen because of careless and negligent drivers.
If you have sustained injuries in a West Virginia pedestrian accident or lost a loved one from fatal injuries sustained in a pedestrian accident, West Virginia law permits you to sue the negligent driver responsible for the accident and injuries. The skilled legal team at Wagoner Desai understands the challenges that come in the aftermath of a pedestrian accident and is here to help. If you live in West Virginia, contact our West Virginia pedestrian accident lawyers online or call (304) 470-2056 to discuss the events leading up to your pedestrian accident, your injuries, and the best path forward for you and your family.
Negligent Drivers Cause Preventable West Virginia Pedestrian Accidents
In rare circumstances, a driver might intentionally hit a pedestrian. However, most of the time, drivers accidentally hit pedestrians. These accidents are entirely preventable and typically a result of negligent driving behaviors. Examples of common negligent choices behind the wheel that can lead to a pedestrian accident:
Drug and alcohol use impair drivers and make it difficult for them to safely operate a vehicle, putting others on the road at risk for injuries, including those on foot. Impaired drivers cannot process information rapidly enough to judge space and time, sometimes resulting in severe and fatal accidents. Even if an impaired driver sees a pedestrian, avoiding an accident is not always possible because of poor muscle coordination that affects vision and reaction time. Prescription drugs also put pedestrians at risk for an accident, especially when drivers mix them with alcohol and do not use them properly.
Failing to Give Right of Way to Pedestrians
West Virginia drivers have a legal duty to pay special attention to pedestrians running, jogging, or walking. Drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians cause preventable accidents that lead to injury and sometimes death. Pedestrians have a duty to use crosswalks when possible, but West Virginia drivers must yield even when they do not. Sometimes drivers assume a pedestrian will stop for them and end up striking them when the pedestrian does not stop. Failing to yield to a pedestrian is often a result of impaired or distracted driving.
Cell phone use is likely the most common distraction that leads to pedestrian accidents. Texting and driving is hazardous because it is a visual, manual, and cognitive distraction for those behind the wheel. It’s illegal to use a cell phone while driving in West Virginia unless a driver uses a hands-free device. This does not deter some irresponsible drivers who text and cause pedestrian accidents.
Other driving distractions that sometimes lead to dangerous pedestrian accidents include:
- Adjusting vehicle features such as the radio, climate controls, or GPS
- Reaching for items in the backseat or on the floor
- Food and drink
- Other passengers, especially children
- Personal grooming such as brushing hair and putting on makeup
- Focusing on an event outside a vehicle, such as an accident
Fatigued and drowsy motorists who do not get enough rest risk falling asleep at the wheel and running into others on the road, including pedestrians. Research shows that drivers who go 18 hours without sleep experience the same level of impairment as drivers who have a blood or breath alcohol content of 0.08, the legal limit for drivers. Shift workers and truckers are susceptible to drowsy driving, as well as those with untreated medical conditions and sleep disorders.
Some motorists have a complete disregard for the safety of others on the road and the rules of the road. Aggressive drivers who speed and go too fast for conditions put pedestrians at risk for severe accidents. Careless and reckless drivers are not looking for pedestrians, and even when they see one, they typically do not have enough time to react and avoid striking someone on foot.
Seeking Compensation for Damages After a West Virginia Pedestrian Accident
If you prevail in your pedestrian accident claim, you could receive compensation for some or all of the following damages often associated with pedestrian accident injuries:
- Medical expenses including ambulance and emergency services, hospitalization, diagnostic tests, surgery, followup care, and prescription medication
- Estimated future medical expenses when pedestrian accident victims suffer permanent injuries that require ongoing treatment, sometimes in a long-term nursing care facility
- Costs for assistive devices such as wheelchairs, artificial limbs, crutches, and canes
Lost income from missing work due to pedestrian accident injuries
- Lost earning capacity when a pedestrian accident leads to a catastrophic injury that makes it impossible for a victim to return to their job or work in the future.
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium with a spouse
- Diminished quality of life and loss of enjoyment
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Punitive damages in rare cases that involve intentional harm or gross negligence
Contact a Skilled West Virginia Pedestrian Accident Attorney Today
The experienced West Virginia personal injury accident attorneys at Wagoner Desai understand the gravity of your situation if you have sustained pedestrian accident injuries, and we want to help you through this challenging time. We can investigate the circumstances of your accident, gather evidence, and build the strongest case possible against the driver who struck you. If you live in West Virginia, contact us today online or at (304) 470-2056 for a free consultation to discuss the details of your pedestrian accident, your injuries, and the best path forward to recover compensation for your injuries.
Wagoner Desai, PLLC
265 High Street 3rd Floor, Citizens Bank Building
Morgantown, WV 26505
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