Compensation for Pedestrian Injuries
If you were injured while walking or a loved one was killed in traffic because someone else was negligent, you are likely entitled to compensation. Under Texas injury law, “negligent” means that:
- The other party had a responsibility–in a pedestrian accident case, a responsibility to drive safely and follow traffic laws
- They did not live up to that responsibility–this could mean distracted driving, speeding, driving under the influence or other careless driving
- Their failure to live up to the responsibility caused the accident–like when a distracted driver hits a pedestrian
- You have damages because of the accident–some examples include medical bills and lost work time
Some common causes of pedestrian accidents are:
- Alcohol. Though it’s well known that drunk drivers are a danger to pedestrians, many fatal crashes involve an intoxicated pedestrian.
- Distracted drivers. If a driver going 30 mph on a residential street looks away from the road for two seconds, they travel 90 feet blind.
- Speeding. At higher speeds, it takes longer to stop a vehicle. That increases the chance of hitting a pedestrian. A pedestrian hit by a car traveling at a higher speed is much more likely to be killed.
Failure to yield right of way. Texas drivers must yield the right of way to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, or when the vehicle is pulling into or out of a driveway or alley.
What if the Pedestrian Was at Fault?
In some pedestrian accident cases, the pedestrian is partly at fault. This could mean crossing in the middle of the street, weaving into traffic while walking under the influence, or any other careless act. If the pedestrian did anything wrong, the insurance company will likely claim that the driver wasn’t responsible. The truth is that more than one person can be responsible.
Imagine that a pedestrian steps into the street mid-block instead of using the crosswalk. Then, they are hit by a driver who is going 42 mph in a 30 mph zone. Texas law requires a pedestrian to use a crosswalk when available. If there is no crosswalk, they must give the right of way to cars. The pedestrian didn’t follow those traffic safety rules, which is negligent. But, the driver was also negligent. He violated a traffic law by speeding. In other words, both were negligent.
The injured pedestrian may still be able to recover some damages. The amount they receive will be reduced by what percentage of the blame falls on them. For instance, if the jury finds the pedestrian 25% responsible, they will only receive 75% of their damages. If the injured person is more than half responsible, they can’t get any compensation from the driver.
First Steps after Being Hit by a Car
Being hit by a car can cause very serious injuries. So, the very first thing you should do is take stock of how badly hurt you are. Everything else you do right after the accident depends on your injuries. If you’re able, call 911 to report the accident and get medical help.
There are a few things you can do at the scene to protect your claim, but only if it’s safe. If you have any doubt about whether you are well enough to move around, don’t. Wait for the paramedics.
If you are well enough:
- Get the driver’s insurance information
- Take pictures or video of the scene
- Get contact information from any witnesses
- Look for any street cameras or security cameras that may have caught the accident
Your first priority should be to make sure you get the medical care you need. If you’re not sure how seriously you’ve been hurt, don’t wait and see. Motor vehicles weigh thousands of pounds and your body is no match for that.
Once you get checked out, it’s important to follow the doctor’s instructions. Get any tests they order, go to physical therapy if recommended, take any prescribed medications and make sure you keep your follow-up appointments. Neglecting your care can damage your health and your pedestrian accident claim.
Your very next step should be to talk to an experienced pedestrian accident attorney. You may feel like you already have too much going on, with your medical care and recovery. And, you may know that you have two years to file most personal injury claims in Texas. But, there are good reasons not to wait. For instance:
- If you don’t hire a lawyer right away, evidence may be lost by the time you get started
- The insurance company will be looking for a statement from you, and you’re better off to let your attorney handle them
- Witnesses get harder to find over time, and remember less
- Handing your claim off to a qualified lawyer can reduce stress and let you focus on your recovery
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“I called Godsey Martin right after my daughter and I were hit by a drunk driver on the highway. They were very helpful in getting us set up with the medical care we needed and getting us a fair settlement through the drivers insurance. Priscilla Nowlin was my point of contact and kept me up to date with every step of the process. She responded quickly and was very professional. I am very grateful for her and for the Godsey Martin team!”
“Priscilla Nowlin was a great help and very responsive. The process was painless and my settlement exceeded my expectations. Priscilla was very professional and when I notified her of a death in my family she very understanding, she let me know they would continue to work on my behalf and to just focus on my family. Thank you Godsey Martin for having such a great staff who just don’t see you as a client but a human being which is often lost with some law firms.”
Talk to a Texas Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
We founded I Just Got Hit (Godsey Martin, PC) to help the people in our communities. We carefully built a team of lawyers and legal professionals who share that mission, and work hard every day to provide the best service possible to our clients. If you’ve been hit by a car or lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident, let us put our experience and determination to work for you.
Texas Pedestrian Accident FAQs
You might think intersections would have the highest rate of pedestrian accidents, but the opposite is true. Most pedestrians who are killed in traffic were walking in urban areas on a stretch of road without an intersection. The vast majority of pedestrian fatalities happen after dark.
Pedestrians who are hit by cars are more likely to be seriously injured or killed if the vehicle is traveling at a higher rate of speed, and if the vehicle is larger and heavier than the typical passenger car, such as an SUV.
There are many steps you can take to improve safety while walking in Texas. A pedestrian should be sure to always obey traffic signals and cross in a crosswalk whenever possible. Avoid distractions, such as looking down at your phone while you’re walking. Never dim your hearing with noise-canceling headphones or loud music, since being able to hear a car approaching is critical.
It’s best to avoid walking on the street at night. If you must, make sure you wear light-colored or reflective clothing and try to stay in lighted areas. If you must walk along the side of the road rather than on a sidewalk, walk facing traffic and stay as far from the traffic lane as possible.
Finally, avoid walking in areas with traffic if you’ve been drinking or are under the influence of other substances. In one study, more than 40% of pedestrians killed in traffic were found to have alcohol in their systems.
If you were hit by a car and injured, you may be wondering whether it’s worthwhile to hire a Texas pedestrian accident lawyer. There are many reasons an experienced injury lawyer can benefit you, including:
- Taking the pressure off you to deal with insurance companies and other accident-related matters while you’re recovering
- Protecting you from insurance company tactics designed to mislead and take advantage of injury victims
- Gathering evidence and taking witness statements
- Managing deadlines and technical requirements
- Choosing and working with expert witnesses to build your case
- Taking depositions and exchanging discovery materials with the insurer’s attorneys
- Negotiating for a favorable settlement
- Fighting for you in court if that’s the best approach for you
Settlements in pedestrian accident cases vary greatly. The amount you may receive in a settlement or jury verdict after being hit by a car will depend on factors like how seriously injured you were, how expensive your medical bills were, how much income you lost, and whether continuing losses are expected.
The value of your claim is also affected by issues like how solid your evidence is and whether you were partly to blame. When you meet with one of our experienced pedestrian accident lawyers, they can assess your case and tell you more about the types of damages you may be entitled to.