When walking or biking on a sidewalk or road, no one expects to be hit by a car. When you’re struck by the negligent driver of a motor vehicle, your life could completely change.
At the offices of Milano Legal Group Accident Attorneys, we know that being involved in a pedestrian crash can uproot your life. If you’ve been hit and aren’t sure where to turn or what your rights are, our experienced legal professionals can help.
Please reach out to us today for a free consultation to learn more about your legal rights and options.
Pedestrian Accidents a Serious Problem in Houston
Pedestrians accidents should never happen but, unfortunately, they happen at an alarmingly frequent rate, and are even becoming more prevalent in certain parts of the country.
According to data provided by the Texas Department of Transportation (DOT), more people were killed in pedestrian accidents in a single year in our state than in motorcycle crashes – more than 600 pedestrians in a single year. Data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that overall, pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely to be killed in a crash.
And of course, because of the nature of pedestrian crashes, where 4,000 or more pounds of steel collide with a person’s body sans protections, pedestrians who are involved in crashes are much more likely to suffer severe injuries than are occupants of motor vehicles. If injuries are not fatal, they very well may be permanently disabling.
Who Can I Hold Responsible for My Injuries?
After a pedestrian accident occurs, it’s important to review all of the facts of the case to determine who may be at fault for the crash. Liability in Texas is based on fault – parties who cause accidents are responsible for paying for them. Our Texas pedestrian accident attorney can investigate your crash to get to the bottom of how it happened and who you can hold responsible.
Parties who may be to blame for your injuries include:
- The driver of the vehicle that hit you. Driver negligence is a top cause of pedestrian crashes in our state. Examples of driver negligence that lead to crashes include failing to yield, speeding, drunk driving, distracted driving, failing to look, and driving aggressively.
- The party responsible for road or traffic light maintenance. Sometimes, pedestrian accidents occur because of defective road conditions, confusing signage, or broken traffic lights. For example, if the light signaled to both a pedestrian and a driver that they had the right-of-way, it’s easy to see how an accident could occur. Or, if a road is poorly maintained, a pedestrian could trip and fall in the roadway, an accident that could be exacerbated by then being hit by a motor vehicle.
In some cases, another third party may be to blame, such as the manufacturer of defective brakes that caused the crash. Again, our pedestrian accident lawyer will thoroughly investigate your case to determine who’s to blame and against whom a claim should be filed.
How Much Compensation Can I Recover?
The amount of compensation that’s available in a pedestrian injury claim varies on a case-by-case basis depending on numerous factors.
That being said, the types of damages that you have the right to seek in your claim include:
- Economic losses. Economic losses are those losses that have an actual financial value, such as medical expenses and lost wages. You can seek compensation for all economic losses related to an accident, including both present and future damages.
- Noneconomic losses. Noneconomic losses, on the other hand, do not have an actual financial value. Instead, these damages are intangible. The value of a person’s pain, suffering, and emotional distress are examples of types of noneconomic damages.
Your recovery award in a pedestrian accident claim will be based, in large part, on the value of the damages types above. Those who have suffered more significant damages will typically be able to recover larger settlement awards. However, this is not the only thing that affects a settlement. Two important additional factors to consider are:
- Degree of fault. Texas follows a modified comparative fault rule, which holds that a plaintiff can still recover damages from another party so long as the plaintiff is not more than 50 percent to blame for the accident. If a plaintiff is partially to blame, they can still seek damages, but their recoverable damages award will be reduced in proportion to their degree of fault.
- Insurance coverage available. Another consideration in a pedestrian accident claim is that of the amount of insurance available. Even if a pedestrian wasn’t at all to blame for their accident, and even if they have suffered significant damages, if there isn’t insurance coverage in place (i.e. the at-fault driver is uninsured and the pedestrian doesn’t carry their own insurance), then recovering a fair compensation award will be difficult, if not impossible.
Most Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in Houston
Driver negligence is the number one cause of pedestrian accidents in Houston. Pedestrians are frequently in danger due to driver inattention and other traffic law violations. Below are the most common forms of negligence that occur:
- Distractions or recklessness. Use of cell phones and other electronic devices, driving while fatigued, speeding, running red lights, etc. is very dangerous. Especially if a pedestrian who has the right of way steps out onto the road, and a driver isn’t looking up at the time.
- Failure to yield the right of way: The right of way changes based on the traffic scenario, making it important for pedestrians and drivers alike to pay constant attention. Pedestrians are three times more likely to be hit by cars turning left than when cars are turning right. The reason being that both parties are often looking elsewhere when an accident occurs. Drivers are negotiating the intersection, while pedestrians are looking straight ahead.
- Poorly designed intersection: Signaled crosswalks can significantly reduce the risk of a serious pedestrian accident. However, many roadways in Texas lack crosswalks and are not designed to accommodate pedestrians. When an accident occurs due to a poorly designed intersection or a faulty traffic signal, the city may be liable for damages.
What To Do After a Pedestrian Accident in Houston
After a pedestrian accident, first contact local law enforcement. They will make an accident report, with the evidence documented, and an assessment of fault. It will also contain the names and contact information for everyone involved, including witnesses, in case you are unable to obtain it yourself. Secondly, take photos of your injuries and of the scene itself.
It is also very important to get medical attention as soon as you can. Even if your injuries seem minor, you could have an internal injury that only a medical exam can discover. In addition to making sure you are on the road to healing, seeing a doctor will also document your injuries. This is vital evidence when it comes to filing a claim. Lastly, consult with and hire a pedestrian accident attorney to assist you with speaking to the insurance companies and obtaining the compensation you need.
Preventing Pedestrian-Vehicle Collisions
The best way to prevent pedestrian related accidents is people working together to ensure that roads are safe for everyone. That means drivers must remain vigilant and limit distractions such as phone use while driving, even if that means turning it off. Likewise, it is crucial that pedestrians stick to designated crossing areas. Other things to keep in mind are:
You can prevent a pedestrian accident when you’re a driver by:
- Slowing down in pedestrian areas.
- Looking for eye contact.
- Not assuming when the car ahead of you stops.
- Observing school crossing signs and school bus rules.
- Only driving while sober, and not when under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Taking the weather into account.
- Being patient with seniors and other people with challenges.
With a few extra steps, accidents can be avoided if you:
- Don’t expect drivers to see you.
- Stay far away from the curb when you need to stop for cars.
- Look around stopped vehicles before crossing.
- Use crosswalks and stay observant.
How Can a Pedestrian Accident Law Firm Help Me?
If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident, you may be at a loss of what to do when it comes to the aftermath of your crash – should you pay your bills? Do you need to file a claim? Will a lawsuit be necessary? These are all pressing questions, and ones that can be difficult to answer without a skilled legal professional on your side.
When you work with our Texas pedestrian injury lawyer, our lawyer will help you to understand everything there is to know about the claims process, how to file a lawsuit, and what your rights are. Our law firm will also manage the investigation of your case, bring a claim on your behalf, and negotiate your settlement.
Call Our Pedestrian Accident Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured, we’re here to help. Start the claims process by contacting our law firm today and requesting a free case consultation. We can travel to your location and schedule your consultation at a time that’s convenient for you.