Pedestrian safety is paramount in all jurisdictions throughout West Virginia. In general, pedestrians have significant rights of way throughout the state. Here, we want to give a brief overview of pedestrian laws in West Virginia so that both drivers and pedestrians understand their rights and obligations on and around the roads.
Responsibilities of Drivers
Motorists in West Virginia frequently encounter pedestrians, on sidewalks, getting out of vehicles, walking through intersections, entering and exiting a buildings near the road, and more.
In general, motorists need to understand that pedestrians have the right-of-way in many (though not all) circumstances. Motorists are required to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks when there is a signal that tells pedestrians when they can and cannot cross the roadway. Motorists are also required to yield to pedestrians when there is a sigh indicating as such.
Pedestrian right-of-way is not absolute, but the reality is that motorists have significant responsibilities when it comes to protecting pedestrian safety on the roadway. Pedestrians have very little protection from the force of the vehicle slamming into them, and motorists should do everything they can to avoid striking a pedestrian.
Responsibilities of Pedestrians
It is possible that a pedestrian could be partially at fault for a car accident. West Virginia law requires that pedestrians look for and obey all traffic signals at crosswalks. If there are no crosswalks, pedestrians will not generally have the right-of-way. In these cases, pedestrians must yield the right-of-way to all vehicles that are traveling on the roadway.
When sidewalks are present, pedestrians must stay on the sidewalk unless they are crossing at a marked crosswalk. However, sidewalks do not exist in many areas throughout the state. When a sidewalk is not present, West Virginia law requires that pedestrians walk on the left side of the street, facing oncoming traffic. This is a safety measure designed to reduce crashes in cases when pedestrians cannot see the motorist.
Penalties for Violating the Right-of-Way
Drivers and pedestrians who fail to yield the right-of-way as required by law could be cited by law enforcement officials and face significant fines. However, a more serious consequence of these right-of-way violations is the severe injuries and fatalities that can occur in a vehicle hits a pedestrian. It is not uncommon for a pedestrian to sustain the following injuries in these incidents:
- Broken or dislocated bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Open head wounds
- Spinal cord trauma with paralysis
- Other severe back and neck injury
- Lacerations or road rash
- Internal organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Crush injuries or amputations
Contact a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer in West Virginia
If you or somebody you care about has been injured in a pedestrian accident caused by the careless or negligent actions of another driver, contact the team at Tiano O’Dell for help. Our car accident attorneys in Charleston are standing by with the resources necessary to conduct a complete investigation into your case. Our goal is to ensure that you receive the compensation you are entitled to, which can include coverage of your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering damages, property damage losses, out-of-pocket expenses, and more.