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Richmond Personal Injury Lawyer / Blog / Pedestrian Accident / Understanding Pedestrian Injuries Involving Distracted Walking

Understanding Pedestrian Injuries Involving Distracted Walking


Pedestrians who are injured while walking on a sidewalk or crossing a street in Richmond frequently sustain such injuries as a result of collisions with cars, trucks, motorists, or e-bike riders. In many instances, these types of collisions result from the motorist’s negligence — meaning that the person behind the wheel of the automobile or bike was distracted, intoxicated, fatigued, or behaving aggressively by running a red light or speeding. Yet in some cases, a pedestrian’s own negligence due to distracted walking can play a role in a collision with an automobile that results in the pedestrian sustaining injuries. It is critical for pedestrians who are injured in crashes to understand the risks of the seemingly at-fault motorist raising allegations of distracted walking. Our experienced Richmond pedestrian injury lawyers can explain in more detail.

Learning More About Distracted Walking 

According to a recent article in The New York Times, not only is walking while looking at a phone — to read news, compose or review texts, check email, and other actions — potentially harmful to your mental health, but it can also be extremely hazardous to your physical health. As the article underscores, paying attention to a device while walking can result in “inattentional blindness” that can make it extremely difficult for pedestrians to recognize dangers around them. A recent study showed that about 25 percent of current college students who walk regularly are “glued to a device” while crossing the street at an intersection.

The article cites University of Florida assistant professor of engineering Wayne Giang, who emphasizes that people are not “aware of how much they’re distracted and how much their situational awareness changes when they’re walking and using a phone.” One study even found that people who use a phone while walking are so distracted that they are “half as likely to notice a clown on a unicycle” — a spectacle that would be obvious to anyone who was not distracted. Other studies have underscored the risks of distracted walking, and some places have even enacted laws to prohibit phone use while crossing streets.

Consequences of Distracted Walking in Virginia 

If you are using a phone while walking in Virginia and you are struck by a vehicle, can you still seek compensation from the motorist involved in the collision? It will be important to speak with a lawyer to determine fault, and to consider the issue of contributory negligence. A major question is this: would the accident have happened if you were not looking at your phone?

Virginia is one of few remaining pure contributory negligence states, which means that a plaintiff who is even 1 percent at fault for their injuries cannot recover damages from a negligent defendant (even if that defendant is 99 percent at fault). It is important to keep in mind, however, that contributory negligence is a defense that the defendant would raise, and it can be countered with strong evidence that your use of a phone did not play a role in causing the accident in which you were injured.

Contact Our Richmond Pedestrian Accident Lawyers Today 

Were you injured in a pedestrian accident? One of the experienced Richmond pedestrian injury attorneys at Latham & Martin can speak with you today about your case. In the event the motorist involved in the collision has raised the issue of contributory negligence with regard to alleged distracted walking, we can discuss options for countering this narrative in your claim. Contact us today for assistance with your pedestrian accident lawsuit.




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