Factors that Impact Liability in Virginia Beach Pedestrian Accident Cases
Many factors impact liability in Virginia Beach pedestrian accident cases. Many of these components deal with the actions of the defendant leading up to the accident. If you need help following a pedestrian accident, the skilled legal team at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers could build your case against the negligent driver who hit you.
Traffic Violations and Liability
In Virginia Beach, a driver committing a traffic violation can influence liability in a pedestrian accident case. If a motorist receives a ticket for a traffic violation, such as running a red light or failing to yield, and the driver prepays it or pleads guilty, that admission of guilt can be used in a civil case. This would be a huge factor in showing that the defendant is liable for the injuries caused.
If the defendant refuses the ticket and pleads not guilty, this violation cannot be brought up in the civil trial. However, if the police officer had some evidence that demonstrates that the defendant was at-fault, it could give the attorney some leads to look into to prepare for trial.
Additionally, the speed of the vehicle impacts liability in Virginia Beach accident cases. It is against the rules of the road to speed, and if an at-fault driver is speeding just before or at the time of a collision with a pedestrian, that is a factor that may count against the defendant in making a liability determination.
Does Distracted Driving Contribute to Liability in Virginia Beach?
A distracted driving scenario impacts liability in a pedestrian accident case. Distracted driving is a huge problem in Virginia Beach, especially with the outset of cellphone usage by people who are behind the wheel. This behavior may result in texting, emailing, and checking social media while driving. Jurors do not like hearing that a defendant was not paying attention to the road in front of them, especially if they were on their cellphone.
There are several ways to determine if the driver was distracted. One primary way is to determine if there was a traffic camera at or near the accident scene. If this is the case, a lawyer may submit a Freedom of Information Act request to the appropriate governmental entity. If the accident happened near a private business, a spoliation letter may be sent to the private business to preserve the video footage. If an attorney can obtain this footage and it shows the defendant on their cellphone, for instance, then this evidence could be used at trial.
Another method to determine if a driver was distracted is by sending a subpoena duces tecum for the at-fault driver’s cellphone records. The cellphone records are very detailed. They have the time of any incoming or outgoing calls and their duration. An attorney may compare these records with the police report and any 911 calls and determine if they match the time of the collision.
Does a Driver’s Record Impact Liability in a Pedestrian Accident Case?
A jury cannot use somebody’s traffic record in determining liability in a Virginia Beach pedestrian accident case. Generally, somebody’s prior driving history is not going to be admissible in a trial where liability is an issue. Most of the decisions on this issue are because of the proposition that somebody with a terrible driving history does not mean that they were more likely to cause the accident.
An exception to that would be in a punitive damages DUI case. If the defendant has a long history of DUI convictions and the person was suspected of drinking and driving when they hit the claimant, then this history could be used at trial on the issue of punitive damages. It also could be used to show that this defendant should be punished not just for violating the rules of the road but for acting with extreme disregard for other’s safety.
Retain a Lawyer to Learn About the Factors that Influence Fault in a VA Beach Pedestrian Accident Case
An attorney works to build a case establishing liability in a pedestrian accident case by gathering the appropriate evidence, such as statements from all parties and the police crash report. A legal representative also may try to find any video footage of the incident as well as any eyewitnesses. In general, our attorneys use all of the pieces of evidence to build a case that shows that the defendant is at fault and should ultimately pay damages. Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers could review your situation during a free consultation and explain the factors that may impact liability in your Virginia Beach pedestrian accident case.