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Pedestrian crossing.

Each year, Virginia pedestrians are severely injured and killed by cars and other motor vehicles throughout the Commonwealth. These Virginia pedestrian accidents are not only tragic and devastating for victims and their families, but most of them are preventable. And yet, they continue to occur, even amidst new laws and initiatives that aim to lower the rate of people hurt on roads and highways.

Some strategies used to combat Virginia pedestrian injuries and fatalities include changes and additions to infrastructure, new and updated laws, and public outreach to raise awareness of the dangers that pedestrians face. Since the majority of pedestrian injuries are severe, addressing these dangers in several ways is vital to reducing crashes from occurring.

Cars Must Stop at Crosswalks in Virginia

A recent change in Virginia law, under code § 46.2-924, requires drivers to stop when a pedestrian uses a crosswalk and “is within [the driver’s] lane or within an adjacent lane and approaching the driver’s lane.” Only once the pedestrian has passed the vehicle’s lane may the driver proceed. This applies to crosswalks, crossings, and intersections.

The law originally required drivers to yield in these situations. With the updated law, even drivers in an adjacent lane – and are therefore further from whoever’s crossing – must stop until the pedestrian passes their lane. Virginia drivers cannot simply drive through because the pedestrian has not made it to their lane yet and the driver believes they can proceed safely.

The change to Virginia’s crosswalk laws aims to make it safer for the most vulnerable people on the roads. Pedestrians have no protection against cars, trucks and other motor vehicles, so their injuries are often serious, even fatal, when struck.

The updated law has come at a time when pedestrian fatalities have been on the rise in the U.S., and Virginia has followed this trend. In 2021, there were 125 pedestrian fatalities and 1,186 pedestrian injuries reported in Virginia. While pedestrian accident fatalities in 2021 were the highest they had been in four decades, there were 169 deaths in 2022, easily surpassing the previous year. In addition, Virginia had the second-highest increase in deaths in the nation in 2022.

Having vehicles come to a stop at Virginia crosswalks until pedestrians pass their lane puts more pressure on drivers to pay attention to their surroundings and look for pedestrians, especially at crossings. It should also inform drivers who are approaching a crosswalk where vehicles are stopped that there’s a pedestrian, even if they cannot see them yet, and to prepare to stop.

Pedestrian injuries and deaths are a rising problem in Virginia, and changes to laws like this are integral to reducing preventable accidents. But if you are hurt in a Virginia pedestrian accident, whether at a crosswalk or other area, the personal injury attorneys at Curcio Law have the experience to get fair compensation. A wrongful death lawsuit might be necessary if a loved one dies to hold a negligent driver accountable.

Virginia Pedestrian Accidents Causes and Injuries

The most common causes of pedestrian accidents in Virginia include speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, distracted driving, driver fatigue, failing to obey traffic signals or signs, and illegal passing. 

Virginia pedestrian accidents cause many types of injuries. In many cases, pedestrian car accident crashes cause permanent injuries, requiring lifelong care and future surgeries. The effects of these injuries on victims and their families are extensive, leading to personal, financial and physical health struggles.

Why Hire an Alexandria Pedestrian Accident Attorney

Pedestrian accidents, in many cases, involve catastrophic injuries. There can be short- and long-term effects of a pedestrian accident that cause more than physical harm; victims may be unable to work for weeks or months or suffer permanent disabilities that prevent them from ever working again. Medical bills and care add up quickly, and there are emotional scars from pedestrian accidents that may have lasting effects.

Regardless of the severity, if a driver was negligent and injured pedestrians in Alexandria or elsewhere in Virginia, the injured party should speak with an attorney to discuss their legal options. An Alexandria pedestrian accident lawyer should gather the necessary evidence to prove the driver was at fault, and navigating the relevant laws requires specific skills and expertise.

By seeking legal help, victims can focus on their recovery and family. At Curcio Law, our team of pedestrian accident attorneys has spent years fighting for and protecting the rights of those injured as pedestrians. Contact Curcio Law online or text or call 1-703-836-3366 for a free consultation. 

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