Can I Sue a Driver Who Hits Me When I’m in a Crosswalk?

May 25, 2021 | Personal Injury

Yes, at least in most cases. However, in Virginia, a crosswalk injury lawsuit is much more complex than it is in most other states. As outlined below, the answer often depends on the color of the light at the crosswalk.


In 2019, although the number of overall traffic fatalities increased slightly, the number of fatal pedestrian accidents hit a 30-year high. Even if victims survive these accidents, they often face permanent injuries. When a 3,000-plus pound vehicle strikes an unprotected man or woman, the results usually are extensive injuries to the pedestrian.


These injuries are incredibly costly. Therefore, insurance companies usually do all they can to reduce or deny compensation to these accident victims.


If you sustained an injury from being struck by a vehicle in a crosswalk, you need a dedicated Richmond personal injury attorney to level the playing field. Our attorneys are committed to getting the maximum compensation for victims. This compensation usually includes payment for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Green Light


If the victim was in the crosswalk and walking with the light at the moment of impact, the tortfeasor (negligent driver) is clearly responsible for the resulting damages.


These accidents happen much more often than people think, mostly when the tortfeasor is turning right. In these situations, drivers usually only look to the left in order to gauge oncoming traffic. Since the crosswalk is to the right, these drivers often never see individuals in the crosswalk until it is too late.


Making matters worse, many of these drivers quickly accelerate when they turn to the right. As a result, the victim bears the full brunt of a speeding car.


When are you “in” the crosswalk? Typically, a crosswalk is a bit like a batter’s box. If any part of the hitter’s foot is on any part of the line, the batter is in the box. Similarly, if any part of the pedestrian’s path is on any part of the line, the pedestrian is “in” the crosswalk.

Red Light


If the victim was in the crosswalk yet crossing against the light, Virginia’s contributory negligence defense usually applies. In the Old Dominion, if the victim is partially responsible for the accident, the victim is ineligible for compensation.


There are a few exceptions. Sometimes, the crosswalk light is defective. Other times, the crosswalk countdown timer is either defective or not properly timed. In these cases, the city or authority responsible for the light could be liable for the aforementioned damages.

Yellow Light


Virginia’s crosswalk law is already complicated. If the light was yellow, things get even more complicated.


First, let’s talk about a yellow light at a permanent crosswalk. Assume Jerry steps into the crosswalk when his light is green, but he doesn’t make it to the other side before the light turns red.


Jerry might or might not be entitled to compensation based on several factors. Some crosswalk lights do not have countdown timers or walk/don’t walk signals. If that’s the case, Jerry’s claim for compensation is higher. There was no way he could estimate the amount of time he had to cross the street. If Jerry was close to the other side when the light turned red, he also has a pretty strong claim. An oncoming driver clearly should have seen him.


Then again, from a strictly legal standpoint, Jerry was clearly in the wrong. He was in the crosswalk when he did not have the right-of-way. A judge or jury could easily conclude that Jerry is ineligible for compensation.


Now, let’s talk about a flashing yellow light at a virtual crosswalk. At these crosswalks, the pedestrian presses a button that activates flashing yellow lights. Drivers are supposed to stop in both directions.


Not all drivers stop. That’s especially true if the flashing yellow light is on the side of the street instead of an overhead light. At the same time, many pedestrians aren’t very careful. They press the button and immediately step into traffic assuming everyone will stop.


Learn More with a Free Consultation

Pedestrians who are injured in crosswalks are generally entitled to compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Richmond, contact Geoff McDonald & Associates, P.C. Virtual, home, and hospital visits are available.

Geoff McDonald and Associates: 804-888-8888.


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