In the most recent data available, the NHTSA reported that almost 5,000 pedestrians died in a vehicle accident during 2012. Another 76,000 were injured. In 2014, The Texas Tribune 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. The state’s rate of pedestrian deaths accounted for roughly 10% of the nation’s total.
2015 Pedestrian Fatalities
Those 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.
Determining Fault in a Pedestrian Accident
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.
What if I Was Jaywalking?
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. Texas is a comparative negligence state, 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.
What Damages Could I Get for My Injury?
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.
- Medical bills associated with the accident
- Past and future lost wages
- Damaged property repair or replacement
- Disability expenses
- Emotional distress or mental anguish
- Physical pain and suffering
- Legal fees
- Punitive damages
Your 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.
How Can I Prove Negligence?
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.
Finding an Attorney
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.