Pedestrian Accidents Attorney in Austin, Texas
According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), pedestrian deaths in 2020 accounted for nearly one in five of all statewide traffic fatalities. There were 4,852 crashes involving pedestrians that resulted in 1,211 serious injuries and 731 fatalities. Deaths were up nine percent from 2019.
Both drivers and pedestrians have rules they are expected to follow, and not every pedestrian accident is the sole fault of the driver. In many cases, both driver and pedestrian share the blame. In some, the pedestrian may be solely responsible.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident in or around Austin, Texas, or nearby in Georgetown, Bastrop, or Marble Falls, contact me at the Greenway Law Firm. I have been helping clients for 26 years pursue claims for personal injury. I will stand up to the insurance adjusters and pursue your just compensation in court if need be.
Rules of the Road
According to TxDOT, the top factors in pedestrian accidents are:
Pedestrians failing to yield the right-of-way to vehicles
Drivers failing to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians
Pedestrians are obviously seriously vulnerable as compared to a driver or passenger in a vehicle, who have not only a metal structure enveloping them, but also seat belts and airbags. Pedestrians have no protection except their own caution and common sense to stay out of harm’s way.
Texas law requires both drivers and pedestrians to observe certain rules to avoid pedestrian accidents.
Pedestrians, like drivers, must observe all traffic control devices – signals, traffic signs, and pavement striping – unless a police officer has taken over controlling traffic. Pedestrians must also stay on sidewalks. If there is no sidewalk, they must walk facing traffic so they can see approaching vehicles.
Pedestrians cannot stand in a roadway to solicit money or rides from motorists.
Vehicles must yield to pedestrians crossing at designated crosswalks.
Pedestrians must not enter a crosswalk if a vehicle is so close the driver may not be able to yield.
Pedestrians cannot cross two adjacent intersections unless they’re in a marked crosswalk.
Drivers in Texas have a duty of care toward other vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians to prevent harm by obeying the rules of the road. This does not absolve pedestrians of also following the rules of the road to stay out of harm’s way.
To win compensation for a personal injury, you must prove that the at-fault driver was negligent in not driving with a duty of care. He or she may have been distracted, speeding, or not observing other roadway rules. However, you as the pedestrian might also be partially or fully responsible by being negligent.
Texas relies on what is called the modified comparative negligence standard. Under comparative negligence, both you and the driver will be assessed a portion of the fault. Yours may be zero, but it also might be 20, 30, or 40 percent. The percentages will be determined by claims adjusters if your claim is solely insurance-based or by a jury if you file a personal injury lawsuit.
Say you walk into a crosswalk without looking and a car is already almost upon you and can’t fully stop in time. You might be assessed 40 percent of the fault, in which case your settlement or jury award would be reduced by that percentage. If the settlement or award is $20,000, you would receive only $12,000.
Under modified comparative negligence standards, if your fault is 50 percent or higher, you cannot receive any compensation.
Insurance companies will generally only compensate you for your medical and treatment expenses and for any wages lost while you’re recovering and unable to work – up to the limitation of the coverage carried by the at-fault driver. In a personal injury lawsuit, you can also recover for noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering, and there will be no insurance caps to worry about. However, you will be limited by the financial resources of the party you’re suing.
In Texas, to pursue a personal injury lawsuit, you must commence it within two years of the date of the accident. Obviously, insurance companies won’t wait that long, so if you have an insurance claim, you must file that almost immediately.
What to Do if You Are Injured
If you are struck and injured as a pedestrian, you should follow the same procedures and cautionary steps as you would as an injured driver. Call 911 and report the accident. If you need medical assistance, request that as well. If the police do come and file a report, be sure to get a copy as soon as it’s available.
Take photos at the scene with your cell phone, including any crosswalks or traffic signs governing your right of way. If there are witnesses, try to get their testimony and contact information, and of course, get the driver’s contact and insurance information. As soon as you can, record or document everything that happened to the best of your recollection.