There have been three traffic accidents in Morgantown, West Virginia this year involving cars and pedestrians, and one of them was fatal. This has put Morgantown law enforcement on high alert.
According to Chief of Police Ed Preston in Morgantown, everyone who is driving and walking must be aware of their surroundings. It is important for both drivers and pedestrians to pay attention to what they are doing.
In the fatal accident, a 21 year old woman and WVU student was killed when she was walking in a crosswalk. A 20 year old driver from New York was charged with negligent homicide. Investigators determined the woman was legally walking in a crosswalk in Morgantown on the WVU campus when she was struck by the man’s SUV.
As long as the pedestrian is following the street signals, he or she has the right of way in a crosswalk, the police chief said. The driver must stop. Still, the pedestrian should be aware of the possibility of driver error and keep watch when crossing.
In this case, the police chief did not detail why he thought the accident happened, but he said that there have been other cases in recent years where the driver was distracted by a cell phone.
Another 20 year old WVU student also was hit in a crosswalk in late February, and as of March, she will still in the hospital recovering.
National statistics suggest there has been a sharp increase in the number of pedestrian accidents in the last few years. According to recent statistics, as many as 5,000 pedestrians die each year across the country. Government data shows that many of these accidents happen at night. The above story noted that at least one of the accidents at WVU happened at night.
Our personal injury attorneys in Virginia wish to caution both drivers and pedestrians to use extreme caution and make sure that both are following the rules of the road. Even in a case where a pedestrian has the right of way in a cross walk, there is a possibility at night especially that the driver will not see the pedestrian. It is better to be safe than sorry when you are in a crosswalk, even if you have a legal right to be there.
If you are in a crosswalk legally and are struck, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Pedestrians injuries in an accident can be severe, and you may desperately need the funds recovered in a lawsuit to help you get back on your feet.