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There are many physical, psychological, and environmental advantages from walking, jogging, running, and biking. However, there are also inherent risks associated with these activities. Despite the many benefits of these forms of travel, Virginia pedestrian safety is a serious concern. Pedestrian accidents often result in more serious damages because they do not have any protection from injuries if a vehicle strikes them. Although, lawmakers encourage pedestrian safety initiatives, the rate of Virginia pedestrian accidents resulting in fatalities continues to rise. This increase may be related to the prevalence of smartphones and larger passenger vehicles. Virginia pedestrian accidents often result in traumatic injuries with lasting consequences.

In Virginia, the leading cause of pedestrian accidents stems from a driver’s negligence. The most common forms of negligence or recklessness involve aggressive driving, failure to observe surroundings, distracted driving, driving while impaired, fatigued driving, failure to yield, running a traffic light, and speeding. Additionally, many of these accidents occur during low visibility times, such as the early morning or evening hours.

Furthermore, many Virginia pedestrian accidents are hit-and-runs, where the driver either does not realize they hit a pedestrian or purposely leaves the scene of an accident. Under the law, drivers must stop and provide “reasonable” assistance to an injury victim. Additionally, they must provide their contact information to the victim or law enforcement. The failure to follow these requirements may result in serious criminal penalties and increased personal injury damages.

When individuals are hurt in a Virginia car accident, they often assume that the other driver is the only person that they can hold legally responsible. However, accident victims should not automatically make this assumption because, in certain cases, the driver’s employer may be held liable for any injuries their employee caused. This is called the doctrine of respondeat superior. Respondeat superior allows a plaintiff to hold the employer of the responsible party liable if the accident occurred when the employee was performing tasks associated with the scope of their employment.

Recently in Virginia Beach, several people were injured after a crash involving a horse-drawn carriage and a vehicle. According to a local news report, Virginia Beach police responded to a crash involving a horse-drawn carriage and a dark grey Toyota Camry around 1 a.m. Evidently, the carriage was traveling southbound when it was hit from behind by the vehicle. Three people were injured, and one passenger suffered life-threatening injuries. The horse also sustained minor injuries.

In cases like the one above, both the carriage passengers, the carriage driver, and the car’s driver may be able to pursue legal claims. In the case of the vehicle’s driver, he has the possibility to file a legal claim against multiple parties: the carriage driver and potentially even the carriage company.

Virginia is one of the handfuls of states that maintain the archaic, strict, pure contributory negligence rule. Under this model, Virginia law prohibits injury victims from recovering after an accident if they maintain any responsibility for their injuries or damages. Unless the other party is 100% responsible for the accident, a Virginia accident victim cannot recover for their damages. There are certain exceptions to the statute, such as the common carrier exception and Virginia’s seat belt statute. Under the common carrier exception, an injury victim may be entitled to compensation against a bus company and bus driver, if those parties violated a safety code.

Barring a few exceptions, VA Code § 46.2- 1094 requires drivers and front-seat passengers over 18-years-old to wear seat belts while in a vehicle traveling on a public highway. The law imposes a civil fine on those that violate this statute. Defendants often attempt to use non-seat belt use as evidence of contributory negligence. However, VA Code § 46.2- 1094, specifically contravenes this argument. Although, Virginia’s strict contributory negligence laws would typically bar a victim from recovery if they violated a safety statute and contributed to their injuries, the statute expressly provides that a violation of the statute, “shall not constitute negligence, be considered in mitigation of damages of whatever nature, be admissible in evidence or be the subject of comment by counsel in any action for the recovery of damages arising out of the operation, ownership, or maintenance of a motor vehicle.”

Although the statute provides this exception to Virginia’s contributory negligence laws, it is crucial that motorists and passengers wear a seat belt. Studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), found that seat belt use can reduce an individual’s likelihood of serious injuries by close to 50%. However, Virginia residents continue to choose not to wear seat belts. This fact is startling when taken in combination with data that found that over half of the people involved in fatal Virginia traffic accidents were not wearing a seat belt.

When a driver is not paying attention, there can be extreme consequences. If a distracted driver hits a pedestrian, this will often result in the pedestrian’s serious injury, or even death. When a person is killed in a pedestrian accident, their loved ones may bring a lawsuit against the driver. This claim is called a Virginia wrongful death lawsuit, and if the defendant is held liable, they may be required to provide the victim’s family monetary compensation.

According to a local news source, recently in Virginia Beach, a woman was killed after being hit by a car. The woman was crossing the street as she was struck by a car traveling southbound. A witness to the accident tried to help until medics arrived, but the woman was pronounced dead at the scene. According to a local news report, it is unclear whether the vehicle stayed at the scene or if the driver will be charged.

Under Virginia Code §8.01-50, a personal representative of a deceased person may bring an action for wrongful death if their death was caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another person. The statute also requires that the deceased individual would have been able to bring a lawsuit against the responsible party, had they not passed. Using the recent pedestrian accident as an example, the deceased’s loved ones would need to prove that the woman would not have died, but for the driver’s irresponsible behavior. If they can do so, they may have a successful wrongful death suit.

A Virginia appellate court recently issued an opinion addressing whether a plaintiff’s misidentification of a defendant was a “misnomer” or “misjoinder.” The case illustrates the importance of a thorough investigation when pursuing any type of Virginia personal injury claim.

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was a passenger in a vehicle when it was hit by another car after sunset on Christmas Eve in 2016. The record indicates that the other driver ran a red light while making a left turn and hit the vehicle carrying the plaintiff. Approximately two years after the accident, the plaintiff filed a complaint against the other vehicle’s driver. The plaintiff alleged that the driver was negligent in several ways, including failing to keep a proper lookout, maintaining his vehicle, applying his brakes, and obeying traffic signals. The complaint focused on the negligent operation of the other vehicle, and no cause of action against the owner of the car that was carrying the plaintiff.

The plaintiff’s complaint identified the vehicle’s driver as the vehicle’s owner, when, in fact, the owner’s son was driving the car at the time of the accident. The plaintiff misidentified the driver because the police report reflected that the father was charged with violating traffic codes. The plaintiff amended the complaint to reflect the correct driver, after that driver’s insurer notified him of the misidentification. In response, the defendant filed a plea arguing that the new complaint was time-barred. The lower court ruled that the misidentification was a misjoinder, not a misnomer, therefore ruling that the statute of limitations barred the complaint.

Under Virginia law, individuals or their loved ones who suffer personal injuries due to a defective vehicle or component car part may hold the responsible party liable for their losses. Attorneys can assist these individuals in conducting an investigation to determine the liable parties and recover compensation. In some instances, manufacturers may issue a recall for safety-related defects. However, in many cases, a recall occurs only after several people have suffered injuries or died.

The most common vehicle defects that result in motor vehicle accidents and injuries include defective safety parts. For instance, malfunctioning airbags, defective tires and seat belts, malfunctioning brakes, and insufficient side impact protection. These defects may result in various types of injuries. Although some injuries like sprains and bruising may resolve themselves without significant medical intervention, others such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, internal bleeding, and burns can cause life-threatening and long-lasting impacts on a victim.

For instance, Hyundai recently announced that the 200,000 vehicles they recalled should be parked outside, as the car leaks may result in an engine fire. The company received its first report of an engine fire in 2014; however, it did not begin an investigation until 2018. The company reported that there had been about 15 known reports of engine fires caused by fluid leaks. The company claims they are not aware of any injuries; however, after a further review, they determined the cars should not be parked inside a garage until the vehicle undergoes repairs. The recalls include over 200,000 Hyundai Santa Fe SUVs and approximately 440,000 Kia midsize sedans and SUVs.

Losing a loved one is always difficult. However, it can be even more difficult when the person who passes away is a child. In Virginia, when the death was unexpected and the result of another person’s negligence, the deceased person’s loved one can sue the responsible party by filing a Virginia wrongful death claim. While seeking compensation, the family may seek damages for their mental anguish stemming from the loss. While this cannot bring their child back, mental anguish damages are meant to help the family as they emotionally recuperate.

Recently, three children were killed in a car accident on Interstate 95. According to a recent news report, a car traveling southbound was hit in the rear by another car, causing the hit car to crash into the guardrail while the other driver lost control, and their car overturned. While the driver of the rear-ended car received non-life-threatening injuries, the three children in the car were killed instantly.

In situations like this horrific crash, a person can pursue a wrongful death claim if the negligent or reckless act of another caused the death of their loved one. Under Virginia Code section 8.01-52, when pursuing a wrongful death claim, a loved one can ask for compensation for sorrow and mental anguish, loss of income and services, expenses for the hospitalization of the decedent, funeral expenses, and punitive damages (if the defendant acted willfully).

After many Virginia car accidents, police and emergency responders arrive at the scene of the accident. Law enforcement typically responds in order to investigate whether anyone committed a criminal act that caused the accident and to gather information to prevent future incidents. In some cases, the police may arrest an individual or pursue criminal charges against one or more parties involved. An arrest or subsequent charges may impact an injury victim’s personal injury case.

Fundamentally, there are several differences between criminal charges and civil lawsuits. First, the burden of proof is different depending on the type of case. In a civil personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff must establish that the other party was responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries by a preponderance of the evidence. This standard requires the plaintiff to prove that it is “more likely than not” that the other party caused their injuries. In contrast, the burden of proof in criminal cases is much more difficult and requires the state to prove that the defendant is guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This crucial difference means that injury victims are more likely to succeed in a civil case than the state can on a criminal matter, because the burden is significantly lower.

Another key difference is that there are additional damages available to victims in civil cases compared to a criminal case. In some situations, a criminal conviction may allow a victim to recover compensation through a victim relief fund or restitution. However, civil injury plaintiffs might recover damages for losses that restitution or a relief fund does not cover. For instance, civil injury victims may be entitled to compensation for emotional distress, loss of companionship, and pain and suffering.

Every time we get into our cars and drive onto the road there are potential unknown dangers awaiting us. However, no one ever leaves their house for work in the morning expecting to be caught in a major car accident, much less one involving fatalities. When these tragic incidents occur, those who cause these accidents and the deaths resulting from them can be held accountable through a Virginia wrongful death lawsuit.

In a recent news report, a Virginia big-rig accident resulted in one fatality and significant traffic delays. Following a multi-vehicle crash on I-81 on a Friday afternoon, a box truck drove off the left side of the road before hitting a car and two tractor-trailers. One of the trucks proceeded to continue, driving off the left side of the road and into the median. Local authorities are still investigating the incident, and Virginia State Police Wytheville Division Crash Reconstruction and Motor Carrier Safety teams were on the scene retracing the steps of the fatal collision.

In Virginia, the law surrounding wrongful death lawsuits can be complicated. Not everyone can file a Virginia wrongful death claim, and the law is specific about who is eligible. According to state law, compensation for such claims can only be collected by surviving family members defined as “statutory beneficiaries.” The Code of Virginia meticulously highlights an order of priority concerning which relatives may file such claims on behalf of their loved ones who have passed.

Holidays are always a busy time for drivers on the road, but certain times of year are more dangerous than others. Drunk driving is America’s leading killer on the roads every year, but the summer months tend to bring more accidents, especially when it comes to Virginia drunk driving accidents. In the last year alone, there were seven fatalities in Virginia.

Based on a recent news report, July 4th is the deadliest holiday for drunk driving accidents, and Virginia is no exception. On average, there are 450 fatal accidents every year during the holiday across the country. Especially as coronavirus restrictions are being lifted all over the state, more people are out and about traveling over the weekend. The report notes that this holiday was particularly more prone to drunk driving accidents because people want to be outside and enjoy themselves, given that most people have been stuck at home. Often gatherings and events around the Fourth of July involve significant amounts of alcohol.

Local authorities are encouraging the community to have fun, but to plan ahead. Finding a friend or family member to be a designated driver or using a ride share service can save countless lives, as well as your own. Drivers are also advised to be vigilant for people driving erratically, moving in and out of lanes, or having slower than usual reaction times, which are key indications of a drunk driver.

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