Walking is good exercise. Doctors recommend it for weight loss and overall fitness. Many people jog or run for fun or competition. It’s healthier to walk a short distance than get in the car to reach the destination—unless tragedy strikes and the person walking or jogging is hit by a car. Pedestrians have nothing protecting them from an impact with any type of motor vehicle or non-motorized vehicle, such as a bicycle. If the pedestrian isn’t killed in the collision, they often suffer severe, permanent injuries. A Dallas-Fort Worth pedestrian accident lawyer can help you receive the compensation you deserve.
Texas Ranks Second in Pedestrian Deaths
In 2015, 550 pedestrians were killed on Texas roadways. Many more suffered life-changing injuries. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) lists Texas as having the second highest number of pedestrian deaths in the country, trailing only California. In 2012, 40 pedestrians died in Dallas, and half that number in Fort Worth. Nationally, approximately one-third of pedestrian accidents occur at night, and most victims are males. People over age 65 make up 20 percent of pedestrian accident victims.
Common Causes of Pedestrian-Motor Vehicle Collisions in Texas
- Texting, eating, or other distractions
- Driving under the influence
- Driving through a red light or stop sign
- Turning without using your indicator light
Pedestrian accidents are not always the fault of the driver. The pedestrian must obey traffic signals, cross at marked crosswalks, and use sidewalks if they are available. An accident may occur if the pedestrian is drunk or otherwise under the influence of drugs.
Determining Fault in a Texas Car-Pedestrian Accident
Texas law has a comparative fault rule, and both the cyclist and the driver may be partially at fault for the accident. As long as the cyclist’s fault does not exceed more than 50 percent of the reasons for the collision, the cyclist may still receive compensation. Determining the percentage of fault lies with the insurance companies, but it is possible to contest their determination. Doing so requires strong documentation.
If the cyclist died from their injuries, survivors may file a wrongful death suit. The suit may focus not only on the fault of a motorist involved but also on any defects in the bicycle or bike helmet that may have caused or contributed to the fatality. If a roadway issue contributed to the crash, an attorney can hire a transportation engineer to examine the site to determine whether safety standards were met.
Filing a Claim After a Texas Pedestrian Accident
If a pedestrian is injured in an accident and was not at fault, they may file a claim against the driver responsible for the collision. File the claim as soon as possible with the driver’s insurance company, but remember that an insurance company wants to pay as little as possible. Your attorney will help you through the insurance process and in obtaining a fair settlement. If the insurance company does not offer a good settlement, under Texas law, a plaintiff may file a lawsuit within two years of the date of the accident.
If the driver responsible for the accident did not stop after hitting the pedestrian or report the accident to the police, they face criminal as well as civil charges. That is also true if the driver was under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
If the driver is never found, that does not mean the injured party doesn’t have options. Personal insurance may cover medical and other costs, and expenses not covered by insurance may be eligible for compensation through the Texas Crime Victims’ Fund. A Dallas-Fort Worth pedestrian accident lawyer can help with filing claims.
Potential Damages You May Recover From a Pedestrian Accident Claim
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Lost quality of life