Crosswalks and DC Pedestrian Accident Cases
Because of the cris-crossing nature of DC roads, crosswalks are everywhere. They represent a straight line from one curb to the other, usually at intersections. Most crosswalks are marked and include white lines with large bold bars between the lines. Some, however, have been stylized and include paintings or murals. But they are still crosswalks. These crosswalks are extremely important, because this is where most pedestrian accidents happen.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a DC pedestrian accident in a crosswalk, you need to understand how the law is going to impact and mold your claim. Contact a DC pedestrian accident lawyer right away.
Crosswalks and Car Drivers
DC, like Virginia and Maryland, is a jurisdiction that practices the law of contributory negligence. This means that a person who is injured cannot be partly responsible for the happening of the accident. It's important to understand this, because unlike the going logic, a pedestrian does not always have the right of way. A pedestrian has to obey the law.
Drivers have to obey the law too, of course. Drivers also have to obey the rules of the road, which are not always well codified. If a driver, for example, is approaching an intersection, and has a green light, he has the right to assume that no pedestrian is going to cross in front of him. In that situation, it is very possible that a jury is going to find a pedestrian who crosses contributorily negligent, and not find that driver responsible.
Car drivers do have to keep a lookout, and see what is there to be seen. A driver is always responsible for looking in front of him and around him, to keep an eye out, and watch out for, people who are walking in the same direction of travel, along the edges of the roadway.
Pedestrian Accidents at Crosswalks
The most common cause of pedestrian accidents at crosswalks is when motorists disobey traffic control devices, such as stop signs and stop lights. This can happen when a driver is distracted by a cell phone, or simply not paying attention. Moving through these traffic control devices can have terrible consequences for the pedestrian.
Another common crosswalk accident is when a driver is attempting to turn, but fails to look for pedestrians that may be crossing the other street. Anytime a driver is turning, that driver needs to stop and look and make sure the way is clear before proceeding, but often this does not happen because the driver is looking the other way to make sure that cars are not coming. The driver is not always looking for pedestrians in the path of his car's travel.
Unfortunately, another significant portion of crosswalk accidents happen when pedestrians completely ignore the pedestrian "walk/don't walk" signals. If the walk signal says don't walk, then you cannot walk! This walk signal is something the defense lawyer is going to use to allege - and possibly prove - contributory negligence
Turning Right on Red Accidents
Vehicles do have a right to come to a red light and then make a right turn on red, unless it is otherwise prohibited to do so. This, however, requires the driver to stop, look, and to make sure that there is no one crossing the roadway. Pedestrians do have a right to cross when it is safe to do so, and sometimes a pedestrian may do this, and the turning driver is not keeping an eye on this.
A driver turning right on red has an obligation to stop and yield to a pedestrian who is crossing within the crosswalk and has already begun to cross the road.
Washington DC Laws About Crosswalks
District of Columbia Law is generally found in two places: the DC code, and the DC Municipal Regulations, or DCMR. This law determines what is proper for both pedestrians and drivers. Here is where the rules of the road for drivers within the District of Columbia are regulated. It goes without saying, that any driver on a DC road is bound by DC law, regardless of where the car is registered or where the driver is from.
DC Code 50-2201.28 sets out who has the right of away at an intersection, with a crosswalk: https://code.dccouncil.gov/us/dc/council/code/sections/50-2201.28
Here is a summary of the Rules of the Road, as set forth by the DC Department of Transportation: https://ddot.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/ddot/publication/attachments/bike_ped_traffic_reg_summary_0_0.pdf
The Impact of the Law on a DC Pedestrian Accident Case
The law is not merely written down so that people have something to read on the train. This will often be shown, large as life, to a jury in a pedestrian accident case. If a pedestrian is found to have violated the law, this can constitute negligence. And remember, even a small fraction of negligence is enough to torpedo a DC pedestrian accident case. Pedestrians have to stay safe and have to cross when it is safe and lawful to do so.
Contacting a DC Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
If you were a loved one have been involved in a pedestrian accident, then time is of the essence. Because of contributory negligence, it is very easy for insurance adjusters and defense lawyers to make allegations that you, the person who is injured, contributed to the accident. It's important to call a dedicated and experienced lawyer right away, so that our team can get to work immediately, developing the evidence that is going to be necessary to shoot down those allegations made by the insurance companies. You deserve to be compensated for the injuries you sustained as a result of someone else's negligence.
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