A "pedestrian" is any person on foot (whether walking, jogging, running, or otherwise). When a pedestrian is hit by a car, truck, motorcycle, or another motor vehicle, the crash is referred to as a “pedestrian accident.”
Unfortunately, the Lone Star State isn’t immune to pedestrian accidents. On the contrary, pedestrian accidents occur frequently in Texas—especially at night and in large cities like Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio.
If you or a loved one is injured in a pedestrian accident, you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries. Whether or not you will receive compensation depends primarily on whether someone other than you caused the accident.
The majority of pedestrian accidents happen because motor vehicle drivers are focused on other cars (or their smartphones). However, pedestrians can cause pedestrian accidents as well.
Here are some of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents:
How can pedestrians help prevent injuries and deaths from motor vehicle crashes?The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has 3 tips for pedestrians:
Unlike motor vehicle drivers and passengers, pedestrians are completely unprotected. Perhaps someday a startup out of Silicon Valley will invent airbags for pedestrians, but it hasn’t happened yet.
The result of this lack of protection is that pedestrian accidents often result in serious injury and even death.
Think about it: Not only can the initial impact cause significant injuries, but further injuries can be sustained when the person lands.
Under Texas law, pedestrians must obey official traffic control devices (signals, traffic signs, pavement striping, etc.) unless a police officer is overruling the traffic control device.
If there isn’t a sidewalk to use, pedestrians must use the left side of the road facing traffic—that way, they can see whoever is coming toward them.
Other important Texas laws for pedestrians and motor vehicle drivers to keep in mind include:
There are, of course, additional laws, but they’re very specific to certain circumstances and don’t apply to most pedestrians. (For instance: “No person may carry a white cane on a public street or highway unless the person is totally or partially blind.”)
So what happens if you’re injured in a pedestrian accident? Can you sue someone for your injuries?
It depends. To receive compensation for your injuries, you have to show that someone else caused the accident that led to your injuries. In most cases, this means you have to show that someone else was negligent.
Motor vehicle drivers are required to exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian on a roadway. If a driver fails to exercise due care (by, for example, texting while driving) and collides with a pedestrian, the driver is probably negligent.
In some cases, the accident might partially be the driver’s fault and partially the pedestrian’s fault.
Texas follows the theory of modified comparative fault. This means that a plaintiff’s damages are reduced by their percentage of fault. What’s more, if the plaintiff was more than 50% at fault, they’re prohibited from recovering any damages.
Let’s look at a hypothetical.
Case example: Texas pedestrian accident
Willie Nelson was driving his Ford pickup down Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas while changing a song on his smartphone. As Willie approaches a crosswalk, Troy Aikman, who’s chasing after a poorly thrown football, suddenly runs into the crosswalk. Willie Nelson collides with Troy Aikman. Troy is injured and sues Willie.
In the above hypothetical, a court might find that Willie Nelson was 60% at fault for the accident (because he wasn’t watching the road) and Troy Aikman was 40% at fault for the accident (because he ran suddenly into the road).
Under the theory of modified comparative fault, Troy would only be able to recover 60% of his damages. While this isn’t ideal for him, if the court had found him 51% at fault, he would be prohibited from recovering any damages.
A personal injury lawyer helps individuals who have sustained injuries in accidents to recover financial compensation. These funds are often needed to pay for medical treatment, make up for lost wages and provide compensation for injuries suffered. Sometimes a case that seems simple at first may become more complicated. In these cases, consider hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer. Read more