The last thing anyone expects when they go out for a walk is be involved in a pedestrian accident, but it happens – all the time. When you are walking legally around and/or across public roadways or in parking lots, drivers have a duty to avoid hitting you. After all, their vehicles weigh thousands of pounds, and even at slow speeds, they can cause you serious injury. However, according to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, walking across the street is more dangerous than it has been in more than a quarter-century. In fact, the Governors Highway Safety Association projects 6,227 pedestrians were killed on U.S. roads in 2018, which represents the highest number in nearly three decades.
The group recently estimated that over 6,000 pedestrians were killed by automobiles for the second straight year. The Texas Department of Public Safety reports that in 2017 there were 5,767 accidents in Texas involving pedestrians, with 614 people being killed and almost 3,500 others suffering serious and potentially disabling injuries.
If you or a family member are injured in a pedestrian accident, the attorneys at Chandler | Ross, PLLC will help you gain compensation for your injuries. In addition, if your loved one was one of the many thousands of pedestrians killed by an automobile, we can help you get justice and compensation for their wrongful death as well. Whatever losses and suffering you have endured, we will fight make sure that you get fully compensated.
According to the right-of-way laws in the Texas Transportation Code, pedestrians must obey official traffic control devices unless those are superseded by a police official who happens to be standing there controlling traffic. A device would include control signals, traffic signs, crosswalks and other pavement striping.
If there isn’t a sidewalk there to use, walkers should only use the left side of the road facing traffic; that way, they can see whoever is coming toward them.
When crossing the street, some of the Texas rules for pedestrians include the following:
What are the Main Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?
When a pedestrian gets struck by a vehicle, it’s generally due to the negligence of the driver. Most pedestrian accidents occur because new drivers focus on cars, not people. The most common causes of pedestrian accidents include:
Types of Pedestrian Injuries
Think of your motor vehicle. Even if it’s not very big – a sedan, maybe, or even a sports car – it could still do some serious and permanent damage if it hit something. As such, severe and catastrophic injuries are frequent when a pedestrian is involved in accident with a motor vehicle, because the forward momentum and weight of the motor vehicle which is then transferred to the person, which then either crushes the pedestrian or catapults them forward several feet or yards. This can result in many types of injuries, like:
Fault in Texas — Contributory Negligence for Pedestrian Accidents
Texas is a modified contributory negligence state. Modified comparative negligence doctrine is a legal principle whereby the negligence is apportioned in accordance with the percentage of fault that the fact-finder (judge or jury) assigns to each party. According to this doctrine the plaintiff’s recovery will be reduced by the percentage of negligence assigned to the plaintiff.
Comparative negligence essentially assigns a percentage of fault to the driver and the pedestrian involved in an accident. If a pedestrian decides to sue for damages, the plaintiff must be found less than 50% at fault for the accident in order to receive compensation. Texas follows the 51% Bar Rule, under which a damaged party cannot recover if it is 51% or more at fault. However, the damaged party can recover if it is 50% or less at fault, but that recovery would be reduced by its degree of fault.
For example, if a pedestrian is injured by a motor vehicle in Texas, he or she cannot recover damages from the other party if he is 51% or more at fault for the accident. By definition, comparative fault (which Texas officially calls “proportionate responsibility”) is just that: The defendant argues that he was not the only one who was careless and that the pedestrian shares some of the blame for their own injuries. In cases involving comparative fault, the jury will be asked to determine the percentage of responsibility of the pedestrian and for the driver of the motor vehicle. After hearing the evidence, the judge will instruct the jury to assign a percentage of responsibility to everyone. If the pedestrian is found to be less than 50% at fault for causing the accident, his or her recovery will be reduced by whatever percentage of fault he/she is found responsible for. For example, if a pedestrian is awarded $100,000 in damages and was found to be 20% at fault, while the motor vehicle driver was found to be 80% at fault in total, the pedestrian would be entitled to recover $80,000. However, if the pedestrian is found to be 51% or more at fault, then he or she will be barred from any recovery.
This means that if the pedestrian sues for damages after the accident, they can only receive compensation if they are found to be less than 50% at fault for the accident. For example, if the pedestrian sues the driver for striking them while speeding, but the pedestrian is found to be the main cause of the accident because they were crossing the street illegally, the pedestrian cannot receive compensation for their injuries.
Does Car Insurance Cover Hitting a Pedestrian?
Yes, a motor vehicle driver’s automobile insurance will cover most motor vehicle accidents involving a pedestrian. The amount of coverage will depend on the policy limits of the applicable liability insurance policy. If the pedestrian’s injuries are extensive and the driver only has the state minimum amount of liability coverage, the pedestrian may not accept the settlement from the insurance company because it is not enough. In this case, the pedestrian will likely bring the driver to court.
It is also important to remember that the driver may sue the pedestrian if the driver believes the pedestrian to be the main cause of the accident. Whether you’re the driver or the pedestrian involved in the accident, it’s important to consult with an attorney to determine who may be mostly or completely at fault for the accident.
Contact our Pedestrian Accident Attorneys at Chandler | Ross PLLC. With offices in Denton, Dallas, and Fort Worth, we are well positioned to provide the most effective and highly-skilled representation possible. Don’t wait, and don’t compromise – contact us today for a Free Case Evaluation and see how we can help you. In most cases, you pay nothing unless we settle your case or win a verdict. Contact Us now at (940)-800-2500 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your free personal injury case evaluation and consultation.