What Duty Do I Have to Avoid Accidents as a Pedestrian in Virginia?

Dec 14, 2021 | Personal Injury

While pedestrians have the right of way over cars at intersections, pedestrians still have a duty to avoid accidents whenever possible. Virginia Law § 46.2-924 states the following:

“No pedestrian shall enter or cross an intersection in disregard of approaching traffic.”

However, the law also states that drivers are to slow down, yield, or change course if a pedestrian is in the crosswalk or entering the crosswalk.

The law goes on to state that the local municipality can require that pedestrians and cyclists stop before entering a crosswalk. Failing to do so could mean that you must pay a fine of up to $100.

Pedestrian Accident Lawsuits in Virginia

If you are injured as a pedestrian in Virginia, you might be able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the driver to receive compensation for your injuries.

Just like you can file a lawsuit against a driver for their negligence in causing a car accident, you can pursue a lawsuit when you are injured by a motorist while out walking.

A pedestrian accident lawsuit is a type of personal injury lawsuit. To win the case, you’ll need to show that the driver was negligent in their vehicle operation.

Negligence shows that another party involved could have prevented the accident had they acted differently.

Determining Fault in Virginia Pedestrian Accidents

Determining fault in pedestrian accidents in Virginia might seem simple. But that isn’t always the case.

In some cases, the driver is only partially at fault or not at fault due to poor municipal maintenance or walkway structures. Sometimes, drivers cannot see pedestrians due to overgrown landscaping or blind intersections. When this happens, your personal injury case might be against the municipality and not the driver.

Other times, the pedestrian is at fault for failing to yield to posted signals or maliciously walking out into the roadway knowing that they were placing themselves in harm’s way.

Pedestrians and motorists both must exercise reasonable care when using roadways. This includes obeying all posted traffic laws. To determine fault, the courts will look at which party violated the posted laws.

This means that the pedestrian can be at fault for the incident and face a lawsuit for their part in the accident.

Contributory Negligence

Then there are cases where both the pedestrian and the driver are at fault. If that’s the case, under Virginia law you cannot recover any financial damages if you are found at all at fault for an accident. That means that if you fail to yield or stop before entering the roadway as a pedestrian, you might be prohibited from seeking compensation for the accident.

For example, if you are intoxicated and out for a walk where you jaywalk and another motorist hits you, the courts might find you partially responsible because you were not of a sound mind while out walking.

Or if you are walking and texting and not giving the roadway your full attention, you might be partially responsible for a pedestrian accident.

Start Your Claim with a Free Consultation

Having a good personal injury attorney is essential to winning a settlement in Virginia due to contributory negligence laws. One wrong word or misstep in the case could mean you are prohibited from getting compensation for your injuries. 

Contact Geoff McDonald & Associates for legal insights after a pedestrian accident. We offer a free initial consultation to get to know you and your case.

Geoff McDonald and Associates: 804-888-8888.


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