As one of the most dangerous cities for pedestrians in the state, Charleston sees more than its fair share of accidents. An accident can be more dangerous when one of those parties is a pedestrian, who has little or no protection from an oncoming vehicle. Even a bicycle can cause severe injuries to someone on foot.
Many people are of the belief that the pedestrian always has the right of way. Sometimes, though pedestrians can be partly or entirely responsible for a car accident. Determining fault in a West Virginia auto pedestrian accident is a process that will take time to figure out exactly what happened.
The Police Report
Like most accidents, there will likely be a police report after an auto pedestrian accident Charleston, WV. The report will require the officer’s observations, statements from both parties, possible witnesses, and pictures from the accident scene. While it’s not as detailed as something you’ll see on a TV show, a report is one account for the accident with at least some amount of evidence. While the police do their best to be accurate, occasionally, they miss things or make mistakes. That’s why it’s important to gather other evidence at the scene off the accident.
Statements From Witnesses
Included in the police report, observations and accounts from bystanders go a long way in determining who did what and when. These could be bystanders, other drivers or bicyclists, companions of the pedestrian, or anyone who happened to be in the right place when the accident happened.
A witness may see more than either party would see, and be able to provide a first-hand account of the auto pedestrian accident from another standpoint. This is why it’s important to get contact information from any and all eye witnesses to the accident, and make sure you and your attorney can contact them later for statements.
Accident Scene Evidence
If you are able, use your cell phone (or a standard camera, if you have one) to take as many pictures of the accident scene as you can, from as many angles as you can. The police officer will take some pictures, but you should take supplemental pictures that give a bigger picture. The more evidence you can preserve, the better. If you have damaged property as a result of the auto pedestrian accident, such as broken glasses, a damaged watch, etc., those should also be kept in a safe place.
While many larger cities have red-light cameras, West Virginia has a law specifically outlawing them. But traffic cameras and private CCTV video may have recorded your Charleston, WV auto pedestrian accident. A local business in the vicinity may have cameras, and bigger chain stores always have them. Video footage offers hard-to-dispute evidence of either a driver’s or a pedestrian’s negligence, particularly if cell phone or distracted driving was involved. It can also accelerate negotiations and the settlement phase, and possibly keep the case out of court.
You’ll need to acquire a copy of the video, but you should probably ask your accident attorney to acquire it. Many smaller businesses would probably not mind giving you a copy, but larger stores, such as big-box stores, will probably require a formal request or a subpoena in order to hand over footage.
Determining The Fault
Once all the evidence is gathered and statements taken, your attorney will be able to examine everything and make a determination of fault for a claim and a possible court case later.
For instance, if the driver and a witness said you were texting when you were hit, but your companion says you weren’t, surveillance video may prove your claim that you weren’t texting. You’ll be able to corroborate your side of the story and show that you really weren’t at fault. Should your attorney decide to take the case to court, he or she will be able to prove your claim to a jury.
Comparative Negligence And Your Auto Pedestrian Accident
West Virginia is one of a number of states that uses comparative negligence in determining fault in accidents. If it’s possible that you were partly at fault for your auto pedestrian accident in Charleston, but not entirely, your settlement could be reduced, depending on how much you were at fault.
For instance, if you did look at your phone before crossing the street, but put it back into your bag before you proceeded into the crosswalk and didn’t see the car, you may be assigned 10% fault for your injuries. That means a $10,000 settlement becomes $9,000. However, if you’re assigned more than 50% of fault, you won’t be able to recover any damages from the accident.
Your Auto Pedestrian Accident Attorney In Charleston
After an accident with a car, you’ll need time to heal from your injuries. The Love Law Firm can help you if you need to file a claim against a driver.
Attorney Chad Love has been helping accident victims in the Charleston area for over 20 years. If you’ve been involved in an auto pedestrian accident Charleston WV, or have another type of personal injury case you’d like to discuss, contact us at The Love Law Firm online, or call us at (304) 344 5683. Your consultation is free, and we only collect if we win your case.