“Pedestrian fatally struck on U.S. 301”

November 3, 2014- Alexandria, Va.

Matthew F. Thompson, age 37, was pronounced dead at the scene after being hit by a car on U.S. 301 at approximately 6:57 PM.

Virginia State Police are reporting that Mr. Thompson “ran out in front of traffic” immediately prior to the accident.

In Virginia, a pedestrian has the right-of-way when crossing a highway or street within any clearly marked crosswalk or at any regular pedestrian crossing at the end of a block, so long as they proceed by the most direct route and are crossing at an intersection where the maximum speed limit is less than 35 miles per hour

When a pedestrian has the right-of-way, the law requires drivers to change course, slow down, or come to a complete stop so that the pedestrian may cross safely and efficiently.

However, Virginia requires that pedestrians exercise a duty to use ordinary care by keeping a lookout for motor vehicles. It is unlawful for a pedestrian to enter or cross an intersection in disregard of approaching traffic.

If a pedestrian does not exercise a duty of ordinary care and injury or death results, a defense of contributory negligence may bar recovery of personal injury damages. Contributory negligence is conduct by the decedent that contributes to his or her own death.

While it is being reported that Mr. Thompson “ran out in front of traffic,” the details of the accident have not come to light. Mr. Thompson’s loved ones may still have an actionable claim for wrongful death against the driver of the vehicle.

A defense of contributory negligence is a question for the jury to consider and generally cannot be determined until after a case begins. An experienced legal representative can perform a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the accident, and ensure justice for Mr. Thompson and his loved ones.