Spiderman, princesses, ghosts and goblins. Trick-or-treaters will be out in full force as soon as the sun goes down on Halloween. Sadly not all of them will come home. More than twice as many children are killed in pedestrian-car accidents on Halloween between the hours of 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. than on any other day, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Wearing reflective clothing, staying on the sidewalk and only crossing at intersections and crosswalks are all great tips to stay safe but don’t guarantee safety. If you’re a pedestrian who was hit by a car while you were crossing the street, you have statutory protections. According to Virginia law (specifically § 46.2-924 of the Virginia Code), the operator of a vehicle on a highway must yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian crossing such highway at any clearly marked crosswalk, whether at mid-block or at the end of any block; at any regular pedestrian crossing included in the prolongation of the lateral boundary lines of the adjacent sidewalk at the end of a block; and at any intersection when the driver is approaching on a highway or street where the legal maximum speed does not exceed 35 miles per hour.
What if you opt to stay off the street and are just traveling by car this Halloween, are you any safer? Unfortunately no, you may find yourself injured at the hands of an impaired driver. Halloween is one of the deadliest holidays of the year on our roadways. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), from 2007-2011, 52 percent of all national fatalities occurring on Halloween night involved a drunk driver. But what if the drunk driver gets off the criminal charge of DUI, can you still recover for your personal injuries? Yes, you still should have an excellent claim against the drunk driver for negligently causing your injuries whether or not the drunk driver gets convicted. It’s better if they plead guilty, because that can be used in the personal injury civil case. But even if they get off the criminal charge, evidence of intoxication is normally admissible in personal injury cases.