In the most recent data available, the NHTSA reported that 6,516 pedestrians died in a vehicle accident during 2020. Another 54,769 were injured. In 2021, U.S. News reported on Texas’ poor pedestrian ratings with information from the National Complete Streets Coalition at Smart Growth America that ranked Texas as the 10th most dangerous state for pedestrian commuters.
These statistics highlight the need for the extreme caution pedestrians should exercise when walking around the cities and towns of Texas. Following road signals and signs may not be enough to keep you safe. Always look for road hazards before crossing and make eye contact with drivers, when possible, to prevent careless collisions.
Dallas is an especially dangerous city for pedestrians. With a population of about 1.3 million and over 2 million vehicles registered, vehicle and pedestrian traffic often intersect. If you or a loved one was injured in a pedestrian accident in Dallas, the Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert can help. Our local pedestrian accident lawyers can help you hold a driver accountable. Contact us for a free consultation in Dallas.
Understanding Texas’s pedestrian laws can help you avoid getting into an accident. Traffic laws are in place to keep pedestrians and vehicles separate. Obeying the laws that apply to you can help keep you out of harm’s way. Knowing the laws can also allow you to better understand your legal rights if a motor vehicle driver strikes you while walking or jogging in Dallas. Below are some highlights of the current pedestrian laws in Texas:
Pedestrians should always use sidewalks and pedestrian tunnels when available rather than walking alongside the road. Even if a pedestrian is breaking a rule and crossing the road illegally, however, a motor vehicle driver has a responsibility to exercise due care to avoid hitting the pedestrian. This may include blaring the horn or hitting the brakes. Motor vehicle drivers have extra duties of care when the pedestrian is a child or an obviously confused or incapacitated person in the road.
Collecting financial compensation for a pedestrian accident in Dallas requires proof that someone else caused your crash. The insurance company of the at-fault driver or party will seek evidence of its policyholder’s fault. It will be up to you or your personal injury lawyer to prove who or what caused your accident. This could be a careless or reckless driver, a roadway defect, or bad weather. Common causes of Dallas pedestrian accidents include:
Motor vehicle drivers are often behind pedestrian accidents in Dallas. To hold someone responsible for your pedestrian accident, you must prove that the accident would not have happened but for the defendant’s action or omission. This is the causation test, and it requires clear and convincing evidence to meet the burden of proof in a pedestrian accident claim. You may need an attorney to help you gather evidence of fault.
According to Texas state law, pedestrians may not always have the right of way in traffic. Determining liability can often be a difficult and complex process. Pedestrian accidents tend to be very injurious to the person hit, sometimes to the point that he or she cannot make a statement at the scene. In these cases, a driver’s statement may influence the outcome of an investigation and leave a victim at a disadvantage.
Drivers are responsible for driving with reasonable duty of care. They should not be distracted, speeding, or fail to follow the rules of the road. Around children, drivers are expected to show extreme caution. Children can behave unpredictably, and drivers should exercise extra care around playgrounds, schools, and in residential areas.
Pedestrians are also responsible for maintaining a degree of care to protect themselves. They should not jaywalk, ignore walk signals, or dart into traffic. Doing so could be considered contributory negligence in an accident case.
Contributory negligence is the failure of an injured accident victim to act in a reasonable and prudent manner, as considered to be a contributory factor in the injury being claimed. Depending on the law in your state, your contributory negligence as an injured pedestrian could get in the way of your ability to recover financial compensation. Luckily, Texas is a comparative negligence state, not a contributory negligence state.
Only a few states still use a contributory negligence law. This type of law states that if a plaintiff is found to be any percentage at fault for his or her own injuries – even just 1 percent – he or she is barred from obtaining financial compensation from a defendant. Most states, including Texas, have adopted some form of comparative negligence law, instead. This law allows injured victims to still recover at least partial financial compensation even if they are found to have contributed to the accident.
Texas uses a modified comparative negligence law with a cap of 50 percent. This means that as long as you are found to be less than 50 percent at fault for your Dallas pedestrian accident, you will remain eligible for financial compensation. However, the courts will reduce your monetary award by an amount equivalent to your percentage of fault. If the courts allocate 10 percent of fault for a pedestrian accident to you for walking while distracted, for example, the defendant will owe you 10 percent less in financial compensation.
If the defendant succeeds in proving that you have the majority share of fault for the pedestrian accident, this could bar you from financial compensation altogether. This is why it is important to hire an attorney to represent you if you believe you might have contributed to your accident. An attorney can help you combat the comparative negligence defense, as well as search for evidence to prove that someone else is responsible for the wreck.
Jaywalking is a colloquial term for a pedestrian crossing the street without a crosswalk or intersection. It is a dangerous practice that could lead to vehicle-pedestrian collisions. It is not, however, against the law in Texas. State Statutes section 552.005 says that if crossing at a point other than a crosswalk, a pedestrian must yield the right-of-way to any oncoming vehicles. A pedestrian cannot cross the street a point other than a crosswalk if it will force vehicles in the road to stop.
If you were jaywalking at the time of your accident, it will not mean you are automatically liable for the collision. The driver could still be liable if he or she reasonably should have seen you and stopped. If you stepped out in front of oncoming traffic, however, you could be at least partially liable for damages. You have a responsibility to cross the road safely and to yield drivers the right-of-way when applicable. Under Texas’s comparative negligence law, meaning you and the driver could split responsibility for the accident.
You could receive a smaller compensation award if a judge believes jaywalking contributed to your pedestrian accident. If the courts decide that a reasonable and prudent pedestrian would not have left the curb when you did, you could absorb a portion of fault. The courts will then reduce your compensation amount by your percentage of fault for the pedestrian accident. If the courts find you more than 50% responsible, however, you could lose any right to compensation.
After a serious pedestrian accident, you may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit for several damages connected to the collision. Damages could refer to the losses you suffered as well as the financial compensation one or more defendants may owe you. If a driver or another party contributed to your accident, that party could owe you reimbursement for economic and noneconomic damages.
Your Dallas personal injury lawyer from the Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert can evaluate your claim to help you understand what it might be worth. Different pedestrian accident victims will be eligible for different types of damages in Dallas. Your specific life, losses and injuries can determine how much you may receive in compensation.
Before an insurance company, judge or jury will award you compensation for a pedestrian accident, you or your lawyer must prove negligence. The burden of proof rests with your side of the case in the civil justice system. Hiring an attorney could help you prove fault through a professional investigation and the gathering of key evidence. The main elements you will need to prove negligence are duty, breach and causation.
First, the defendant in your case must have owed you a duty of care. For example, all drivers owe pedestrians and bicyclists a duty to drive safely and to reasonably prevent accidents. Second, the defendant must have negligently, wantonly or intentionally breached this duty of care. Third, the defendant’s actions or failure to act must have caused your damages. Proving negligence for a pedestrian accident may take speaking to witnesses, hiring experts and taking other steps to build a case against the at-fault party.
Some of the most common acts of driver negligence that lead to pedestrian collisions in Dallas are texting and driving, drowsy driving, driving under the influence, speeding, red-light running, and failing to yield the right-of-way. If you believe a driver is guilty of any act of negligence, speak to our attorneys to start your claim. A lawyer could help you gather important evidence right away, starting at the scene of the accident.
If you’ve been hit by a car while getting around Dallas on foot, try to take the following steps to protect your rights:
Don’t worry if you can’t manage to complete all of these steps. A lawyer from the Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert can take care of necessary tasks for a claim on your behalf.
A law known as a statute of limitations gives you a strict filing deadline in Texas of two years from the date of the accident. For the most part, if you fail to file within your two-year window, the courts will deny your case and any financial recovery that you otherwise would have been eligible to receive. This makes it highly important to contact an attorney about a potential pedestrian accident claim in Texas as soon as possible.
Note, however, that an exception to the rule might apply if the injured victim was a child. In this case, the victim may have two years from his or her 18th birthday to file a personal injury lawsuit. Conversely, if you wish to hold a government agency responsible (such as for a dangerous road design), you may have less than two years to file. Different counties in Texas can determine their own deadlines for claims against the government. The shortest is 45 days.
Pedestrian accident cases are rarely ever straightforward. They include a wide range of injury possibilities or death, and cases involving children require special considerations. At the Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, we specialize in personal injury trial law. Our founding attorney, Aaron Herbert, is one of less than 2% of practicing attorneys in the state who are board-certified in personal injury trial law. This distinguishing accomplishment sets our practice apart in terms of skill and experience. For more than ten years, his team has been successfully resolving cases in and out of court.
Pedestrians may be fighting a legal battle for compensation from the hospital or while recovering at home. As an accident victim, your first priority should be getting well, not struggling with endless medical bills, loss of work, and undue hardship. Attorneys at the Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert understand the intricacies of pedestrian accidents and offer complete legal services. From negotiating with insurance adjustors and medical claims representatives to holding the responsible party accountable, our job is to make your life easier in the wake of an injurious accident, whether it happened in Dallas or in surrounding areas in the state of Texas.
When we take on a case, we use a network of investigative professionals and expert witnesses to build a case based on fact. With more video surveillance on streets and people recording accidents with their phones, it’s becoming easier than ever to set the record straight with quality investigative work and a well-developed case.
Whether you were injured or your loved one died in a pedestrian accident, you deserve to have a knowledgeable and compassionate advocate on your side through your difficult time. Let us help you find the right course of action to secure the compensation you need to start living your life again after an accident. Contact our team in Dallas today for a free case evaluation.