Nobody really expects to get hurt when they’re just out for a stroll, but they do – all the time. Pedestrian injuries are a thing that happens very often, and it helps to know your legal options after an accident. Learn more and reach out to a Texas attorney right here.
The last thing anyone expects when they go for a walk is to get hit by a car, but it happens – frequently.
In Texas, pedestrian accidents occur more often at night (visibility is a factor) and in cities more often than in rural areas.
However, in cities, pedestrian accidents do not happen most often in intersections, like one might assume; they happen in crosswalks, on sidewalks or on the side of the road. These types of injuries can be devastating or fatal.
The offending driver may be held responsible for damages in a negligence case, which could include:
Pain and suffering
Funeral expenses if the pedestrian passes away
Permanent disability or disfigurement
Loss of consortium
The injured plaintiff would have two years from the date of injury to bring a personal injury case (keep in mind that it’s also two years for wrongful death). Let’s take a look at Texas pedestrian laws in detail.
Right-of-way laws for Texas pedestrians
According to the state’s pedestrian and right-of-way laws, walkers must obey official traffic control devices unless those are superseded by a police official who happens to be standing there controlling traffic.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 signals, traffic signs and 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, pedestrians are:
Not allowed to leave the sidewalk until the signal tells them they can
Subject to traffic orders
Not allowed to yield to right-of-way vehicles
To keep to the right half of crosswalks
To cross at a right angle or by the shortest route
Not allowed to cross two adjacent intersections unless they are in a marked crosswalk
There are, of course, more rules... but they are very particular (“Don’t jump from a publicly owned bridge”), and most of them don’t apply to regular people.
Enjuris Tip: Pedestrians must obey traffic signals, markers and signs, except when a police official tells them otherwise.
Why pedestrian accidents happen
Most pedestrian accidents occur because new drivers focus on cars, not people. The most that Driver’s Education classes focus on is “Don’t Hit Those People.”
This can lead to forgetting about pedestrian laws later on or driving in a reckless fashion. Some of the more common reasons for pedestrian accidents include:
Failing to maintain vehicle control
Yielding to pedestrians in a crosswalk but not stopping in time
Drinking and driving
Failing to stop at a stop sign
Slowdowns because of bad weather, crowds or traffic
Enjuris Tip: If you’re walking at night, wear bright clothing that helps you stand out from your surroundings. Reflective strips or headlamps are even better. You might feel ridiculous, but that’s better than being injured or dead.
Types of pedestrian injuries
Think of your car. Even if it’s not very big – a sedan, maybe, or a VW Bug – it could still do some serious damage if it hit something.
Now think of it hitting a person. A tiny person who is not fully clothed from playing goalie at the hockey game. In comparison, the fact that anyone can survive such an encounter is astonishing.
Severe injuries are frequent, because the forward momentum from the car is then transferred to the person, which then flings them forward several feet or yards. When the person lands, that can result in many types of injuries, like:
Basically, this means that a formula is followed to calculate a degree of fault for each driver. The amount of recover you can receive will be reduced by the percentage of your own negligence in contributing to the accident.
So, if you flung yourself in front of the car, you probably won’t receive anything. If you weren’t looking when you walked into the crosswalk, the jury might find you 30% responsible and reduce your damages accordingly.
Furthermore, Texas follows the “51% bar rule,” which means that if you are more than 51% to blame for your injuries, you cannot recover anything. Now, you can still get 50%, but 51% means nothing.
Texas follows 51 percent bar rule, meaning if you're more than 50 percent responsible, you don't get any damages
It helps to have an attorney on your side that can help you stay under that 51% bar and get the damages you need to help while you recover. Check out the Enjuris law firm directory for Texas and talk with a qualified attorney now.