Look left, then right, then left again before crossing the street. This has always been good advice for pedestrians. They are among the most vulnerable users of the roadways in the country after all, including in West Virginia. Every time pedestrian steps onto a surface shared by vehicles, whether it is a highway, street or parking lot, the possibility of being involved in a pedestrian-versus-car accident increases.
That's what happened in the parking lot of the Sky Room Lounge in Martinsburg just about one year ago. A man struck a pedestrian with his car and then fled the scene. On July 12 of this year, a jury of his peers convicted the man of felony unlawful assault, misdemeanor assault, and leaving the scene of an accident with injury.
His conviction on these charges may result in his facing jail time in West Virginia. He's due to be sentenced sometime next month. But in addition to that, it may bolster any claim for a monetary judgment for damages such as medical bills and pain and suffering occasioned by the injuries sustained. It is unknown whether the injured pedestrian has filed or will file such a personal injury claim.
Once convicted of charges stemming from a car accident, that conviction may be relevant and, in many circumstances, serve as proof of liability in a civil court action. That's because the burden of proof in civil court actions is not as strict as in criminal cases. Therefore, any civil action filed against someone convicted of a crime that establishes negligence in a car accident may use that conviction as evidence of liability in a personal injury case regarding the same accident.
Source: Herald-Mail, "Jury convicts Martinsburg man accused of striking person with vehicle in parking lot," July 13, 2012