Virginia: Car Accidents – a Lawyer’s Pedestrian

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On February 12, 2016, the Virginia Supreme Court issued Simms v. Van Son, No. 150191, an unpublished Order. It reversed the Circuit Court of Brunswick County holding at jury trial that a pedestrian struck by an auto was contributorily negligent as a matter of law and a proximate cause of the accident. Id. at 1, 6.

Notably Plaintiff in Simms was hit while traversing a post office parking lot, which the parties stipulated was a “highway” under Va. Code §46.2-100; instead of using the sidewalk. Id. at 1-3. The Virginia Supreme Court distinguished Simms from several cases of contributory negligence “in which pedestrians were barred from recovering against defendant drivers [when] struck while jaywalking between the intersections on busy streets,” id. at 5; and held “a reasonable jury could find that any negligence on the part of Simms was a mere remote, rather than a proximate, cause of the accident”. Id. at 6.