Factors Impacting Liability in Leesburg Pedestrian Accidents

There are a number of factors that may have an impact on the liability decision in pedestrian accidents. One of the main factors is the speed of the vehicle. Was the vehicle approaching the pedestrian at a safe speed or were they traveling faster than the posted speed limit? If the driver was traveling so fast that they could not stop safely, that may have an impact on their ability to claim that they were not liable for the accident. Additional liability factors include actions surrounding crosswalks, the pedestrian and driver’s distraction, the age of the victim – specifically children, and the concept of contributory negligence.


Another factor is the placement and use of a crosswalk  Virginia has defined terms for the controlled and uncontrolled intersection laws regarding accidents that occur in a controlled intersection such as a stop light or traffic control device. It is important to understand whether or not a pedestrian has a right of way. Did they have a walk sign or a red hand telling them not to walk? Were they walking with the light or against the light? All of these factors are important to consider when determining if there may be a liability in a controlled intersection.

Distraction Liability

Another factor is distraction liability. Distraction has an impact on liability and affects the pedestrian and the driver who strikes the pedestrian. Was the pedestrian on their phone, perhaps playing Pokémon Go? Or were they doing something else that kept them from being as aware as they should be with their surroundings? Pedestrians are responsible for their own safety and for taking care that they avoid an accident.

The same thing is true for drivers. Were they paying attention to the intersection? Do they know that they must yield to pedestrians who are already in the intersection? Were they driving while texting? While driving, were they talking to passengers in their vehicle or changing stations on the radio? There are a variety of factors that may include driver distraction.

Children’s Involvement

Lastly and perhaps most importantly, when the pedestrian victim is a child, liability factors are examined with even more scrutiny. Children are taught the rules of the road and pedestrian rules by their parents. However, they are often given much more latitude in observing these rules. When a driver approaches an intersection in which a child is present, they should act with even more caution as children are unpredictable in these situations.

Contributory Negligence

Contributory negligence is a huge factor in pedestrian liability cases. Virginia, along with the minority of other states, is a contributory negligence state. Contributory negligence means that even if an individual is even one percent at fault for their own injuries as a result of a pedestrian accident, they are legally barred from recovering damages.

The majority of states are comparative negligence states. That means if you contribute less than 30% to your own injury, your potential recovery is deducted pro rata of the amount in which you are at fault. In Virginia, however, even the slightest bit of fault can be a bar to recovery.

For pedestrian accident cases, this means that you failed to observe the crosswalk rules, walked against the light, were distracted and walked into a lane of travel, or did other things that would violate typical standards of care for a pedestrian. You may be barred from legal recovery even if the driver was otherwise not paying attention and you were seriously injured.

Liability in Leesburg Pedestrian Accident Cases