Houston Pedestrian Accident Attorney – Is the Driver Always at Fault?
Being hit by a car as a pedestrian is a traumatic experience and may result in severe injuries. However, is the driver always at fault for the pain and suffering of the injured pedestrian? Traffic laws give pedestrians the right of way in several situations, but also set clear rules for them. Thus, not every pedestrian accident can result in pursuing the at-fault driver in a personal injury lawsuit. If you were injured in a pedestrian accident, reach out to an experienced Houston pedestrian accident attorney at McDonald Worley law firm. We can discuss your legal rights to help you be successful in your personal injury claim.
There are situations when the pedestrian at fault may have the right to seek compensation. It all depends on their percentage of fault for the auto accident. Since the state of Texas relies on the comparative negligence rules in personal injury law, an experienced Houston pedestrian accident attorney can prove that the driver still breached the duty of care they owed to the pedestrian and caused their injuries and economic damages.
Statistics on Pedestrian Fatalities and Injuries in Texas
Unfortunately, our state has a high rate of pedestrian-car accident events. From pedestrian jaywalks to failure to maintain a safe speed on the road, a pedestrian accident lawyer in Houston knows that almost everyone is at risk of being hit by motor vehicles.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2020 there were 4,844 auto accidents resulting in:
- 717 pedestrian deaths on the Texas roads and highways
- 1,157 pedestrians suffered serious injuries
- 2,994 people suffered non-incapacitating and common pedestrian injuries
While many of these accidents are due to driver error, there are times when the pedestrian is at fault. It is important to know whether you have a case before you file an insurance claim. Otherwise, you may lose time and money only to be proven at fault for breaking pedestrian rules.
Texas Law on Pedestrians’ Right of Way
A common misconception is that pedestrians always have the right of way. The Texas Transportation Code Section 552.001 details the situations when a pedestrian has the right of way on the roads and at crossroads. These rules state that a motor vehicle driver has the legal duty to stop if:
- no traffic signal is in place or in operation
- the pedestrian is on the half of the road in which the vehicle is traveling
- approaching so closely from the other half of the roadway as to be in danger
On the other hand, the pedestrian must give right of way to motor vehicles if:
- they are crossing a road in any other place except for a marked crosswalk
- when a pedestrian tunnel or overhead passing is provided
This means that all road users owe each other a reasonable duty of care, not only motor vehicle operators.
Situations When the Pedestrian May Be the At-Fault Party
In the state of Texas, the comparative negligence rule states that accident victims have the right to file a claim for damages and seek maximum compensation if they are less than 50% at fault for their accident.
These are some circumstances when a jury may decide on a higher degree of blame assigned to the pedestrian:
The Pedestrian Fails to Observe a Traffic Signal
Traffic signals along roadways and intersections are there to prevent dangerous situations and maintain a steady flow of traffic. In a driver-pedestrian accident, the latter may be found to be more than 50% at fault if they are crossing the road at a red light. Likewise, if they fail to give the right of way to vehicles at an unmarked crosswalk, the pedestrian is likely to have a higher degree of fault.
The Pedestrian Crosses the Road between Two Signalized Intersections
If you are trying to cross a busy street between two intersections with traffic control signals, you have a larger proportion of fault for the accident. This is an exception from the general rule stating that you can cross a street mid-block, where there is not a marked crossroad.
The Pedestrian Enters the Road Suddenly
Any reasonable person must assess whether it is safe to cross a road or not. This includes not stepping into traffic suddenly, leaving a car driver not enough time and distance to hit the brakes and prevent an accident.
The Pedestrian Does Not Use the Sidewalk
In a pedestrian accident, a negligent driver may not be at fault if the pedestrian was not using the sidewalk. A pedestrian can only walk on the side of the road when there is no sidewalk present. Also, pedestrians should remember to keep to the right side of the road.
The Pedestrian Is Standing in the Middle of the Road
Pedestrians can be present on roadways while crossing it. You may not stand in the middle of the road to hail a cab or for any other reason. The exception to this rule is an intoxicated pedestrian – vehicle drivers should exercise proper precaution to ensure pedestrian safety when they notice that a person is visibly incapacitated or confused.
How a Houston Pedestrian Accident Attorney Can Help You
If a pedestrian is partly at fault for their accident, they still may be able to receive some compensation. An experienced Houston pedestrian accident lawyer can assess your proportion of fault with great accuracy and determine a reasonable level of compensation for you.
Here is what you need to do after a pedestrian accident:
1. Call 9-1-1
You must receive emergency medical care after an auto accident. Even if your injuries are minor, they may get worse over time if you don’t get treatment. A Houston pedestrian accident attorney will advise all accident victims to go to a hospital as soon as possible. This helps establish the connection between their pedestrian accident and the injuries they suffered.
2. Do Not Talk to an Insurance Adjuster
Insurance companies do not like paying compensation to accident victims. Insurance representatives will use a series of tactics to dissuade injured pedestrians from filing an accident claim. One of these tactics is telling you that you are partly at fault for the accident.
While this may be true, if your proportion of fault is less than 50%, you have the legal right to seek compensation for accident-related losses from the liable party with the higher proportion of fault.
Even if you know this, you should not discuss with the insurance adjuster about your potential claim. Anything you say may be used against you, even the simple statement of “I’m getting better” that anyone would automatically say, without thinking.
3. Talk to An Experienced Houston Pedestrian Accident Attorney
An experienced attorney will help with determining negligence in pedestrian accidents, they know how to prove it and how to justify the compensatory amount they seek. Various statistical data show that people with attorneys usually win higher settlement amounts than accident victims who try to negotiate their accident claim on their own.
If the settlement negotiations fail, personal injury attorneys will assess the likelihood of winning pedestrian accident injury lawsuits and will instruct their clients accordingly.
Hire an Experienced Houston Pedestrian Accident Attorney
At McDonald Worley, your case will be analyzed by an award-winning personal injury legal team with over 20 years of experience. We know that your case is not only about winning money in compensation for your economic and non-economic losses. It is about justice and holding the at-fault party accountable for what they did.
We know how hard it is to deal with mounting medical bills and the thought that you may need a lot of time before you can return to work and start earning wages. For this reason, we don’t charge any fees until we win your case. We work on a contingency fee basis and we collect our fees out of the settlement amount we win for you.
Do not forget that you only have 2 years (the statute of limitations in Texas for personal injury cases) to take legal action, so talk to a Houston pedestrian accident lawyer about your case as soon as possible: 877-721-3423!