Pedestrian accidents can happen in Houston. If you’re one of the many pedestrians in Houston, you can be vulnerable to the dangers that can occur walking in a big city. Whether walking by choice or necessity, walking anywhere in Houston requires your full attention. In spite of that, you may still be injured as you are walking, crossing a street, or waiting for a ride or public transportation.
As one of the largest city in America, we have a large population, including a large number of pedestrians. One of the most dangerous spots in the city is along Westheimer west of and near the Galleria, where pedestrians have to walk across eight lanes. But that is far from the only dangerous place in the Houston area. The Texas Department of Transportation reported that in 2022, there were 5,751 pedestrian accidents in Texas, with 828 fatalities—one of the highest in the US.
The TxDOT Pedestrian Safety Campaign was instituted to share safety information for both pedestrians and drivers to help recognize the dangers and limit the chances of pedestrian accidents.
The Texas Transportation Code requires pedestrians to exercise care, walk on sidewalks where available, and follow crosswalks and traffic control signals wherever they exist.
Pedestrians also have a responsibility to obey traffic signs, lights, and other signals, and do not dart into the street into oncoming traffic. For example, a pedestrian on a corner should not walk if the light clearly says, “Don’t Walk.”
Pedestrians generally have the right of way in most situations. But even if you do, you need to realize that will be of little comfort if you get hit by an irresponsible driver. Be careful and if it looks like a driver may not be slowing down or seems unaware of you, do not step into their path.
Drivers are usually required to yield to pedestrians, especially when entering a road from a private building or driveway. Pedestrians also have the right of way in parking lots and areas with large numbers of people on foot. A driver must also stop if a pedestrian approaches the car from the other side of the road, with or without a marked crosswalk.
It’s important to note that even though they are not cars, bicycles, motorcycles and even the new e-scooters are considered vehicular traffic in Texas. Therefore, these vehicles must follow the same rules as automotive drivers.
Even though people know they shouldn’t, one of the most frequent causes of accidents is distraction by a smartphone. Whether the driver or the pedestrian isn’t paying attention—or both—the distraction prevents someone from taking proper care when walking or driving.
Other distractions of drivers include:
• Passengers especially children or pets in the vehicle
• Grooming or eating while driving
• Handling interior controls, such as climate and the radio
Speeding is another cause of pedestrian accidents. With less reaction time, a driver may fail to see a walker until it is too late. Nighttime accidents are frequent too because drivers aren’t able to see someone walking as well as in the daylight.
Sadly, drunk drivers cause a considerable number of accidents involving pedestrians, according to the CDC.
In 2020, pedestrian deaths included:
• 20% were children under 15 and
• 17% were children over 15
• 20% were aged 65 and older
Another stat is that most pedestrian deaths happen in urban areas like a big city and after dark.
It is possible that a pedestrian may share responsibility for the accident, or be solely responsible. For instance, if a pedestrian is jaywalking, or intoxicated, it is possible that the driver may not be responsible for the accident, only the pedestrian.
Because Texas recognizes modified comparative negligence, if a pedestrian that is partially responsible, they may have a percentage of fault assigned to them. In the jaywalking example, a drunk driver may bear 80% of the responsibility, but the pedestrian may have partial responsibility of 20%. This can reduce any settlements they may receive by that percentage.
If you were not at fault or even if you believe or were told that the accident was your fault, we urge you to contact our office immediately to learn more about your legal options.
Generally a pedestrian is unprotected from the massive weight and speed of a two tons or more of car. Pedestrians hit by a car, truck, motorcycle or any fast moving vehicle will likely need emergency medical care after the accident, and more care once they leave the emergency room.
If a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle, they can suffer serious injuries such as:
• Bone fractures and breaks
• Crush injuries
• Soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash and joint damage
• Bruising and lacerations
• Traumatic brain injury
• Spinal cord injuries
• Internal injuries to organs
• Internal bleeding
• Amputations and even;
These injuries may require long-term or even lifetime medical care. Some accident victims may never return to work or have the same life they had prior to the accident. Families who have lost a loved one are also entitled to compensation for their losses.
A pedestrian accident can leave someone with serious and debilitating injuries that may prevent them from working for a time, or permanently disabled and unable to work. While they are out of work with no income, they will also need medical care that will cost. How can they pay the bills when there is no income?
That is where compensation can help. Filing a claim can help you pay those bills, get the medical care you need, and concentrate on recovery and healing. Your personal injury attorney can help you get compensation for:
• Medical expenses, such as emergency care
• Future medical expenses, including continuing care, medical equipment, therapy, prescriptions, and other needs
• Other accident-related expenses
• Lost wages, current and future
• Lost earning capacity
• Property damage from the accident
• Pain and suffering
In a wrongful death claim, a survivor can also receive damages on behalf of their loved one:
• These same expenses above that the deceased could have received if they survived
• Funeral and burial expenses
• The loss of the loved one, which can include lost future wages and other expenses in a survival action
• Possible punitive damages
We understand how insurance companies conduct business. They are not interested in your wellbeing, nor are they interested in helping you recover. Their goal is to avoid paying your claim, or pay as little as possible.
That’s why we recommend that you don’t speak with them directly and refer them to your legal counsel.
Will you have enough to cover all your losses? Probably not. Don’t try to negotiate with them. Talk to us first. A Houston pedestrian accident lawyer can help you understand how to proceed and get the compensation you need.
In some cases, you may be able to receive punitive, or “punishment” damages from the driver. These damages aren’t always awarded except in exceptional cases. But it does not hurt for your attorney to ask for them.
The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the other party for egregious behavior that led to the accident and your injuries and serve as a deterrent to others who might consider engaging in the same type of conduct. A plaintiff will have to show that the defendant acted with gross negligence or acted willfully, especially in a wrongful death claim.
Pedestrian accidents can leave you with debilitating injuries that can last a lifetime. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident, call the Paxton Law Firm. We have represented accident victims for many years and have the skills to help you.
Texas’ statute of limitations allows just two years from the date of the accident to file a claim. So it’s vital to start your claim immediately to make sure we have time to get your claim in. Do not talk with or sign anything with an insurance company representative until you discuss it all with us. Even your own insurance company may not offer you a fair and comprehensive settlement. We strongly suggest that you contact our office immediately to avoid any chance or a premature settlement.
Let us review your case and advise you of your rights and what you may be entitled to. Richard Paxton and our associates and staff believe in working hard for our clients and doing our best to take a negative situation and turn it into the best outcome possible. We offer free consultations, work on contingency basis, and do not get paid until we recover for you. Call us at 281-978-2244 or use our website contact form to get in touch.
Do you believe you have a case? Understand that time is of the essence in getting you the justice you deserve! We would love to hear from you.