Pedestrian Accidents in Fairfax Can Have Devastating Results
When you are a pedestrian you are particularly vulnerable
No matter how careful you are as a pedestrian, you may still find yourself the victim of a car accident. As the person outside the vehicle, you’re the one most likely to suffer the most serious injuries. However, because of the laws in Virginia you may still be found at fault for your pedestrian accident. If you were injured in such a situation, you need a skilled personal injury attorney with experience in Virginia pedestrian accidents to help you.
Being hit by a vehicle is shocking and traumatizing. It can result in permanently disabling and life-threatening injuries. You may require long-term medical care, ongoing therapy, and months or years of recovery. It’s a huge financial burden to take on yourself.
Meanwhile, if you were hit by a vehicle, you may be considering a Virginia personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver. To be successful, you’ll need a strong case, with facts, witnesses, videos, and photos, in order to fight against the insurance company’s attempts to minimize or deny your claim.
In today’s world, there are many tools available to putting together the necessary evidence to build your pedestrian personal injury claim. However, it is critical to act quickly to gather that evidence before videos are deleted, photos are lost, and witness’s memories fade.
Shockingly, police investigations into pedestrian accidents are not always as thorough as we might expect. Recently, we represented a young lady who was hit in a crosswalk. The information about the offending driver was extremely minimal, their reported address was incorrect, their reported insurance carrier and policy number was wrong, and the driver had not even been interviewed by the police about how the collision occurred. In a situation like this, it can become very easy afterwards for that driver to use the benefit of time to develop a story behind how the accident happened.
In order to mount a successful personal injury claim when a pedestrian has been hit by a vehicle, it is incredibly important to consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to launch an immediate investigation, finding witnesses, dashcam videos, photos, 911 calls, and more.
In another auto collision case which our firm handled, the parties had word-vs-word explanations for how the accident happened, and the insurance carrier then denied our client’s claim. However, due to the exhaustive investigation we immediately launched, we were able to find an eyewitness who placed fault 100% on the negligent driver. Only then did the insurance company accept that their driver was negligent and therefore liable to our client for their injuries and damages.
At Jennifer Porter Law, PLLC, we will help you by building a strong case for you, looking for the witnesses and evidence, dealing with the insurance companies and guiding you so you avoid any errors that weaken your case. We will make sure you understand your rights and options, so you can move forward with your case confidently, knowing you’re making the best decisions possible.
We are here to help you through this bad situation and to fight to ensure your rights are respected.
Pedestrians have legal responsibilities in Virginia
Even though you are likely to suffer more serious injuries than anyone in a vehicle if you are hit by a vehicle, you have responsibilities as a pedestrian. If you don’t meet those duties, you may be found responsible for your own injuries.
Listing all of a pedestrian’s duties would be lengthy, but the most basic duties include:
- Use sidewalks when they are available
- Walk on the shoulder of the road if there is no sidewalk
- Obey “Walk,” “Don’t Walk” and other crossing signals
- Yield to motorists if you are crossing a road with no crosswalk
- Look for oncoming vehicles even if you have the right of way in a crosswalk
- Avoid stepping into the road if you may not be seen due to other vehicles, structures and so on
- Do not linger in the road or loiter on highways or bridges.
Not only is it possible you may be found responsible for your own injuries and issued a ticket even if you’re injured in an accident, if you don’t follow those rules and a driver suffers injuries because of that failure, you may face a lawsuit against you.
Contributory negligence can result in you not being compensated for your injuries
Insurance companies are focused on minimizing payments in an attempt to protect their profits. They have an added incentive because thanks to the law of contributory negligence in Virginia, if they can prove you were partially responsible for your accident, they cannot be forced to compensate you for your injuries.
The law of contributory negligence in Virginia means that insurance companies will do anything they can to prove you contributed to the accident happening. They’ll try to show you weren’t paying attention, or weren’t visible to other drivers, or stepped out into traffic when you weren’t supposed to.
This means that you’ll likely face two challenges in your claim. The first is showing that the other party was responsible for the crash and your injuries and the second is being prepared to show that any allegations an insurance company makes about your responsibility in the accident are baseless.
The auto insurance company has a lot at stake. We have seen insurance companies paint our clients as liars and exaggerating in an attempt to show them as opportunistic vultures looking to make money by faking their injuries. It’s shocking to have insurance companies say this about you when you’re legitimately trying to recover from the trauma of an accident you didn’t cause.
We’ve successfully shown such allegations against our clients are false and that their injuries are legitimate and were caused by the incident in question. We’ve held insurance companies accountable for the harm caused to our clients by using common sense and evidence to show that our clients are entitled to compensation.
Photo evidence can help you
If it is safe to do so and you are able without harming yourself further, take as many photos of the accident scene as you can, from a variety of angles. Show the area around the accident scene, as well. Talk to witnesses and get their contact information. As soon as possible, write down every detail about the accident that you can remember. Ask if anybody had a dashcam that might have video recorded the accident. This can all be used as evidence to strengthen your case.
Pedestrian accidents are not always clear-cut. While there are some scenarios in which blame is easy to determine, there are others–such as parking lot accidents, where there is no clear right-of-way–that are more difficult to sort out. That’s why photos, videos, camera footage and witness testimony can help you.
Navigating the insurance process is complex
Insurance companies resort to many tactics to protect their profits. They have different rules for filing claims and appealing denials and they do what they can to deny or minimize payment.
In addition to claiming you are responsible for your injuries, they may try to show that you didn’t seek medical attention quickly enough or that you didn’t follow medical advice to assist in your recovery. Or, they may argue that your injuries were pre-existing or non-existent.
See a doctor right away
Even if it appears you haven’t suffered severe injuries, it is possible that serious injuries will arise in the days or weeks following the accident. Seeking out medical care right away will give a doctor an opportunity to document your injuries and advise you of symptoms to be on the lookout for that indicate a more serious condition, such as a traumatic brain injury.
There’s a difference between fault and liability
Who you file your claim with depends on the circumstances surrounding your Virginia pedestrian accident. If you were hit by a passenger vehicle on the street, insurance might be clear-cut. But if that person was driving a commercial vehicle during work hours, there might be different insurance companies to file a claim with. Or you may have been hit by a car in a chain reaction, where one car hit another car and that second car hit you.
Fault refers to the person who caused the accident. Liability refers to who is legally responsible for paying you for the accident.
That’s why filing claims can be complex. It takes a thorough review of the evidence and in-depth knowledge of the insurance claims process and the relevant laws to successfully navigate the claims process and protect you.
Not only do we have extensive experience representing personal injury victims, Jennifer Porter used to work for insurance companies, defending the at-fault driver. This experience is a benefit to our clients because we know and understand the defense strategy to discredit the injured person. We use that experience and knowledge to help our clients avoid mistakes that might damage or weaken their claim.
How we help you following your Virginia pedestrian accident
At Jennifer Porter Law, we want our clients to focus on the most important thing: Making a full and complete recovery. We help our clients focus on their self-healing by taking care of the needs of the claim. We enable you to have the space and energy to focus on healing by:
- Communicating with insurance companies on your behalf
- Collecting the evidence and finding the witnesses
- Determining who is at fault for your accident
- Proving negligence against the at-fault driver and their liability for your compensation
- Pursuing compensation for you, either through a fair settlement or a lawsuit
- Protecting your rights
- Advocating for you at every step of the process
- Providing you with vital information so you can make informed decisions about your claim.
Our focus is on providing you with compassionate, empathetic guidance so you feel confident moving forward with your claim. We will advise you of your rights and options and explain the process to you so you feel prepared for the process. I’ll also work with medical providers to ensure you receive proper treatment and may be able to negotiate on your behalf to reduce fees related to your treatment.
You need the time, space and energy to focus on your recovery. I’ll manage your case so you can do exactly that.
Contact us to find out how we can help you following your Virginia pedestrian accident.