Unfortunately, there have been many accidents in WV lately involving pedestrians who have been seriously injured or killed. It is important to look at what WV law actually says about situations where pedestrians are struck by cars and suffer personal injuries or death. What better way to look at this than to examine jury instructions that are actually given to juries considering these issues. Following you will find proposed jury instructions that instruct jurors in personal injury cases as to WV law regarding pedestrians. These jury instructions were provided by the State of West Virginia, and can be found here.
Pedestrians Crossing Highway Other Than Crosswalks
Every pedestrian crossing a roadway, at a point other than a marked crosswalk, shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway. Nevertheless, every driver of an automobile shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian so crossing upon any roadway and shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary.
Statutes: 17c-1O-3; 17c-1O-4
Caselaw: Kretzer v.Moses Pontiac Sales, Inc., 201 S.E.2d 275
Pedestrians Crossing Highway Within a Crosswalk
When traffic control signals are not in place or not in operation at a crosswalk, the driver of a motor vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the motor vehicle is traveling, or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger. Every driver of a motor vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian upon any roadway and shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary.
However, no pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a motor vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.
Statutes: 17c-1O-2; 17c-1O-4
General Instruction Concerning Duty of Driver to Pedestrian
Every driver of a motor vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian upon any roadway and shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary.
Duty of Driver to Child, Confused or Incapacitated Person Upon the Roadway
Every driver of a motor vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian upon any roadway and shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary. In addition, the driver of a motor vehicle shall exercise proper precaution upon observing any child, or any confused, or any incapacitated person upon the roadway.
Passing a Vehicle Stopped at a Cross Walk When a Pedestrian is Present
Whenever any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk, or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to allow a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching the stopped vehicle from the rear shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle.
Statute: 17c- 1O-2b
Lastly, regarding these statutes, violation of a statute by a driver itself is prima facie evidence of negligence. Thus, usually the following jury instruction is given regarding violation of a statute:
Violation of a Statute Instruction
Prima fade evidence of negligence is evidence that is sufficient in and of itself to establish a given fact. In other words, if you find that the defendant violated any of the statutes regarding the operation of motor vehicles in the State of West Virginia, then the establishment of that fact is in and of itself sufficient to establish negligence on the part of the defendant.
For the defendant to overcome this evidence, the defendant must present evidence himself that said negligence was not a proximate cause of the plaintiffs injuries and damages.
Caselaw: White v. Lock 332 SE. 2d 240 (W Va. 1985).
– John H. Bryan, West Virginia Car Accident Attorney