Pedestrian Accident Attorneys in Charleston, WV
Each year, thousands of Americans are killed, and hundreds of thousands are seriously injured by pedestrian crashes. Pedestrians have very little protection compared to motor vehicle drivers, and when they are involved in a traffic-related incident, they are far more susceptible to severe injuries and fatalities. Pedestrian accidents have been on the rise in recent years, and it is becoming increasingly dangerous for those who are out walking to get where they are going.
During the past decade, pedestrian crash fatalities have increased by approximately 30%, and this increase has been caused primarily by preventable factors. If you or someone close to you has been injured or killed in a pedestrian crash, you may be entitled to significant compensation. But in order to recover the just compensation you deserve it is best to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
At Bailey, Javins & Carter, L.C., we have over 40 years of experience representing victims of pedestrian crashes, and those who have suffered all other types of personal injuries in West Virginia. Our lawyers have extensive knowledge of this area of the law, and over the years, we have secured tens of millions of dollars in damages and settlements for our clients. We have a successful track record with even the most complex cases, and we work closely with our clients, fighting hard to recover maximum compensation on their behalf.
Why are Pedestrian Fatalities Increasing?
Pedestrian crashes can happen anytime and anywhere, but they are most likely to occur during morning and evening rush hours when commuters are trying to get to and from work, after dark, on poorly maintained roads or parking lots, on local roads with unsafe crossings, and on weekends. Young children and the elderly are the most at risk for serious injuries when a vehicle collides with a pedestrian.
Some of the most common causes of pedestrian crashes in West Virginia include:
- Aggressive/Reckless Driving: People always seem to be in a hurry these days, and this is reflected in their driving habits. In order to save a minute here or a minute there, many motorists routinely drive aggressively, and in some cases, it crosses the line into recklessness. Speeding, tailgating, running stop lights and stop signs, making sharp and dangerous turns, and similar behaviors are often contributing factors in a pedestrian accident.
- Distractions: Motorists and pedestrians are susceptible to numerous types of distractions. Examples include eating and drinking, grooming, handling passengers, staring too long at billboards, and looking down at their cell phones.
- Intoxication: Alcohol plays a role in approximately 50% of all pedestrian accident cases. And in approximately two-thirds of pedestrian crashes that involve alcohol, it is the driver who is intoxicated.
- Drowsiness/Fatigue: Another growing problem in our society is drowsy driving. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), 20% of drivers admit to having fallen asleep while behind the wheel during the past year, and 40% admit that this has happened to them at some point since they started driving. Anyone who does not have a proper amount of sleep is susceptible to drowsy driving, but it is especially common among commercial vehicle drivers.
- Dark Clothing: As we touched on previously, a large percentage of pedestrian accidents occur after dark. After the sun goes down, it is harder to see someone who is wearing dark clothing when they are walking. A good practice for pedestrians who walk at night is to wear bright or reflective clothing.
Experts point to a number of factors that have caused pedestrian crash fatalities to increase during the past several years, these include:
- Societal Changes: Our population has grown significantly during the past couple decades, and we have also become a much more health conscious society. These two factors have resulted in a sharp increase in pedestrian traffic, which is one of the reasons why more crashes are occurring.
- Larger Vehicles: A combination of economic growth and lower fuel prices in recent years has resulted in more Americans purchasing large vehicles, such as vans, full-size pickup trucks, and SUVs. Larger-sized vehicles have a higher ground clearance and bigger blind spots, making it more difficult to see out of them. In addition, when a bigger and heavier vehicle collides with a pedestrian, the chances of severe and catastrophic injuries increase.
- Safety Feature Malfunctions: Many new vehicles are equipped with safety features such as pedestrian detection systems that are supposed to reduce the number of accidents. But a study conducted by AAA found that these features had a failure rate of more than 50%.
- Smartphone Use: Widespread smartphone use by both drivers and pedestrians is most often cited as a major reason why pedestrian accidents are increasing. Motorists who look down at their phones for even a few seconds to send a text can wind up causing a major crash. And pedestrians also need to be careful to pay attention to the road rather than their phones, especially when they are crossing the road.
Damages from West Virginia Pedestrian Crashes
Victims of pedestrian crashes may be eligible for a wide range of damages, including:
- Emergency Room/Hospitalization Costs
- Cost for Surgeries and Other Types of Treatment
- Rehabilitation Expenses
- Costs for Ongoing Medical Care
- Lost Wages
- Loss of Earning Capacity
- Physical and Emotional Pain-and-Suffering
- Diminished Quality of Life
- Permanent Injury
- Funeral and Burial Expenses (in the case of a wrongful death)
West Virginia uses a modified form of comparative negligence with personal injury claims. Under this system, a plaintiff can recover damages for the losses they have sustained as long as they are no more than 50% at fault for the underlying accident. But if the injured person is partially responsible for the accident, their damage award is reduced in proportion to the percentage of fault that they share.
Here is an example of how this might work. Let’s say you were a pedestrian who was hit by a driver, and you sustained a total of $200,000 in losses from your injuries. But let’s say you are also found to be 20% at fault for the accident. In this case, your damages would be reduced by $40,000, leaving you with a total of $160,000.
You can be absolutely certain that the insurance company for the party that injured you will look for any way they can to minimize the amount of compensation they have to pay, and one way they might do that is to try to put some of the blame for the accident on you. This is one of the reasons it is vitally important to get an experienced attorney involved as early as possible after your accident. Otherwise, your right to full and fair compensation could be jeopardized.
Contact Our Seasoned West Virginia Personal Injury Lawyers
If you or a loved one suffered injury in a pedestrian crash, Bailey, Javins & Carter, L.C. is ready to go to work for you! Message us online or call our office today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979 for a free consultation and case assessment with a member of our legal team.
We work on a contingency basis. We don’t get paid unless you do.