One in five people killed in a traffic accident in Texas is a pedestrian. Nearly 6,000 crashes in 2019 involved pedestrians. More than 1,300 pedestrians suffered serious injuries and nearly 670 of them died. Unlike a vehicle driver, pedestrians have none of the safety features and protections afforded by vehicles, and they are no match for 3,000 pounds of metal, glass, and steel.
If you or a loved one was a pedestrian injured by a car, or if a loved one was killed, you may be able to receive compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost income, funeral expenses, and more. Most importantly, you may be able to hold the responsible party accountable.
At The Law Office of Aaron Fonseca, I represent clients and their families in Edinburg, McAllen, and Missouri, Texas, and throughout the Rio Grande Valley after they have suffered the devastating damage caused by a pedestrian-versus-auto accident. Reach out to me today to schedule a free consultation.
Pedestrians and drivers alike owe one another a duty of care when using Texas roadways. Contrary to popular belief, the pedestrian does not always have the right of way:
Like vehicle operators, pedestrians must obey all traffic signals, signs, and roadway markings, unless a police officer is overriding those signals.
If there is an accessible sidewalk adjacent to the roadway, pedestrians are required to use it. If there is no sidewalk, pedestrians must walk on the left edge or shoulder of the roadway, facing oncoming traffic.
Pedestrians are prohibited from standing in the roadway, hitchhiking, or soliciting business, employment, or donations from vehicles.
Pedestrians may not suddenly leave the curb to enter traffic, creating a hazard.
Pedestrians may not cross two adjacent intersections (jaywalk) unless they are in a marked crosswalk.
Pedestrians should not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Either party — the pedestrian or driver — may fail to uphold their duty of care and cause an accident. The negligent person is assigned fault for the accident.
Texas law uses a “modified comparative negligence” rule that allows apportionment of fault to multiple parties. Settlements and jury awards are reduced by a party’s percentage of fault. Furthermore, if any party is found to be 51% or more at fault, that party is prohibited from pursuing a claim against another party at all.
For example, a pedestrian enters an intersection without warning and is hit by a texting driver. The driver has $100,000 in bodily injury liability coverage. The pedestrian is found to be 30% at fault and the driver is 70% at fault. If the jury awards the policy limits, the pedestrian’s recovery amount would be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to them (30%). In this example, the pedestrian would receive $70,000 (70% of the $100,000).
Texas law allows personal injury plaintiffs to recover economic damages, non-economic damages, and in some cases, punitive damages.
Economic damages include easily quantifiable damages such as medical expenses, lost income, and in the case of a wrongful death claim, funeral expenses, and loss of future financial support.
Non-economic damages are those more difficult to quantify, including pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment, physical impairment and disfigurement, and loss of companionship.
Punitive damages are reserved for cases in which the negligent party displayed a willful, wanton, malicious, and reckless disregard for the safety of others. Punitive damages of a significant monetary sum may be awarded to punish the negligent party for failing to take steps to protect others.
The first step you should take is to seek medical attention at the scene. You will also want to obtain contact and insurance information from the vehicle driver and contact information for any witnesses to the incident. Then, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can assess your claim and guide you through the process.
If you were a pedestrian who was injured due to the negligence of a vehicle operator, you will need to file a claim against the driver’s auto insurance bodily injury coverage. You would first attempt to negotiate a settlement with the insurer. If unsuccessful or if nearing the two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims, you can file a lawsuit.
If your loved one was incapacitated or died as the result of being hit by a car, you should consult with an attorney immediately to file a wrongful death action against the negligent driver. The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in Texas is also two years.
The key to establishing negligence in any traffic accident is to fully investigate the circumstances, interview witnesses, preserve evidence, and determine fault. The key to establishing the value of your damages is to not settle your claim before you have recovered as fully as possible from your injuries.
This is not something you want to handle on your own. It is a wise decision to retain an experienced Texas pedestrian accident attorney who knows how to document your claim and, if necessary, litigate it in court.
Clients in Edinburg, McAllen, and Missouri, Texas, and throughout the Rio Grande Valley rely on me at The Law Office of Aaron Fonseca to represent them in personal injury and wrongful death claims resulting from pedestrian accidents. The statute of limitations allows a brief window, and evidence must be preserved, so do not delay. Consultations are free. Call me today.