Pedestrian Accident Lawyers
Austin Pedestrian Accident Lawyers
Pedestrians are completely unprotected and vulnerable to injury in accidents with motor vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 4,735 pedestrians died in traffic crashes in 2013, and another 66,000 were injured. In the state of Texas, 480 pedestrians were killed in 2013, accounting for 14.2 percent of all traffic fatalities.
If you have been injured as a pedestrian in a traffic accident with a motor vehicle, it is in your best interests to consult with a knowledgeable Austin accident attorney as soon as possible. When you work with the Texas pedestrian accident lawyers Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP, we will thoroughly investigate your accident to determine who was at fault and actively pursue a pedestrian accident claim for compensation on your behalf.
Our firm was founded in 1959 and we have been helping accident and injury victims in Austin and the surrounding areas for more than 50 years. Our experienced personal injury attorneys are skilled trial lawyers with a history of success in the courtroom as well as in negotiating settlements. The other side in your case are more likely to negotiate a favorable pedestrian accident settlement when they know you are represented by a firm with extensive trial experience.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Various factors on the part of pedestrians and motor vehicle drivers contribute to pedestrian accidents, injuries, and fatalities. As discussed by NHTSA:
- 92% of pedestrians who died in traffic crashes in 2013 were killed in accidents involving a single motor vehicle.
- Pedestrians were more likely to be struck by the front than by any other part of a vehicle.
- 20% of the pedestrians killed were struck in single or multi-vehicle accidents involving hit and run drivers.
- Pedestrian fatality rates for large cities with populations greater than 500,000 were generally higher in 2013 than the national average of 1.50 per 100,000 population. Austin had 21 pedestrian deaths at a fatality rate of 2.37 per 100,000 population, which is considerably higher than the national average.
- Alcohol consumption was a factor in pedestrian accidents for both drivers and pedestrians. An estimated 15% of fatal pedestrian accidents involved drivers with blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher.
Any type of driver negligence, including speeding, disregarding traffic signals and signs, failure to yield the right-of-way, distracted driving, fatigued driving, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can cause pedestrian accidents. Pedestrians are frequently hit when drivers making left hand turns at intersections fail to see them in time.
A person who is injured in a pedestrian accident may have to deal with more than physical injuries. Often, a victim of a pedestrian accident also suffers emotional injuries. The victim may be unable to return to work or enjoy the style of living that he or she enjoyed before the accident. Medical expenses can leave a pedestrian accident victim financially destitute.
Most pedestrian accidents and injuries are completely preventable. They occur because of driver negligence. Some of the most common causes of pedestrian injuries include:
Of course, some pedestrian accidents truly are accidents. They may occur because the pedestrian made an error or the driver simply could not see the pedestrian. For instance, a collision may occur because it was night, and the pedestrian wore dark clothing.
When you are a pedestrian, it is very important that you wear bright clothing, put distractions away and pay attention to your surroundings in order to reduce your risk of being involved in a collision with a motor vehicle.
Injuries in Pedestrian Accidents
Accidents involving pedestrians can lead to serious injuries in collisions with 3,000 lb passenger vehicles. A publication by NHTSA lists the following serious injuries commonly resulting from pedestrian accidents:
- Bone fractures
- Internal injuries
- Severe cuts
- Severe general shock requiring hospital treatment
Other less serious common pedestrian injuries include:
- Neck whiplash
- Slight cuts
- Slight shock requiring roadside medical attention
Pedestrian Accident Statistics in Texas
While that number may seem to be alarmingly high, it actually marked a 1.4 percent decrease from the previous year. According to the Texas Tribune, Texas is the 10th most dangerous state in the nation for walking commuters.
Pedestrian Rights and Responsibilities
Pedestrians are not always at fault for the accidents in which they are involved. Often, careless drivers cause these accidents. Regardless, it is important that all pedestrians in the state of Texas understand both their rights and their responsibilities when walking. Doing so may help to save lives.
For instance, pedestrians often assume that they have the right of way. However, this is not true. Under Texas law, pedestrians have the right of way only when a pedestrian is:
- Crossing a roadway at which a control signal is displaying the word “walk”
- Walking in a crosswalk, and no traffic control signal is in place or in operation
- Walking on the half of the roadway on which the vehicle is approaching or is close enough to the vehicle to be in danger
- Passing on the sidewalk.
Pedestrians are required by law to yield to cars on the road. When a traffic control signal is displaying words or symbols that tell a pedestrian, “Don’t walk,” the pedestrian loses the right of way. A pedestrian also lacks the right of way when crossing at a place other than a crosswalk.
Additionally, a pedestrian has the duty to walk on the sidewalk whenever possible. If a sidewalk is not available, the pedestrian is to walk on the left side of the roadway, or in the direction of traffic.
In addition to giving pedestrians the right of way in many instances, Texas law also requires that drivers of automobiles “exercise due care.” This means that a driver shall do everything possible to avoid a collision with a pedestrian such as giving a pedestrian in danger a warning by honking the horn.
Texas law also requires that drivers “exercise proper caution” when a child or obviously incapacitated person is in the roadway.
Avoid Bicycle-Car Accidents in Austing
Obey and Understand Traffic Laws
Most bicycle-car accidents occur from one party or both parties disobeying traffic laws. One common occurrence of how many bicyclists disobey traffic laws is the situation involving a bicyclist waiting at a traffic light amongst many vehicles. Since bicycles are much smaller than cars, many bicyclists ride through the line of cars so that they are at the front of the line of cars that is waiting at the traffic light. In doing so, the surrounding cars may not be paying attention to a cyclist that is next to their car and may be putting most of their attention on the traffic light. In these situations, the bicyclist disobeyed a traffic law and also put themselves at risk of being hit by a car who has not noticed them.
It should go without being said, that bicyclists and cars/trucks alike need to follow traffic laws. The laws are set up in a way that allows for everyone on the road to know what is expected of them. If you are aware of what the laws are, you can better protect yourself and know your rights. Violating traffic laws constitutes as driving or riding negligently. If you are the one acting in a negligent manner, you may not be eligible for compensation.
The first line of defense that you can have against getting into an accident is to know the laws and understand what your rights are as a rider.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
When you choose to ride on busy streets as a cyclist, you are accepting the legal responsibility to keep a look out and ride with awareness. You must anticipate and observe what other drivers are doing. It is best to expect the worst and prepare yourself, but hope for the best when riding. Accidents are not fun for bicyclists. If you are observant enough, it can keep you from being in an accident.
The number one excuse for bicycle car accidents is that the driver did not see the bicyclist. It is best to try and make yourself as noticeable as possible. This can be done by being aware of your surroundings and the current conditions. If it is raining, foggy or very dark outside, it may be best to find other means of transportation. Many drivers struggle with such conditions on their own. It may be even more difficult for them to see a cyclist in these conditions than on a regular day with better weather. It is also a good idea to draw attention to yourself with bright clothing or by adding lights or reflectors to your bike. The more attention you draw to yourself, the more likely the surrounding drivers will be able to see you and adjust their driving accordingly.
Who Pays for Damages After a Pedestrian Accident in Texas?
If you are involved in a pedestrian accident that was the fault of the driver involved, the driver’s bodily injury liability coverage should pay for your damages up to the driver’s policy limit.
The Texas Department of Insurance mandates that all drivers carry at least $30,000 worth of coverage for the bodily injury of one person ($60,000 per accident). If you carry medical payments coverage as part of your own plan, then this coverage, too, may be used after an accident.
An Austin personal injury lawyer can guide you through the process of filing a claim for compensation through the at-fault driver’s insurance.
Legal Help for Injured Pedestrians
If you were a pedestrian involved in an accident, you may be entitled to file a claim for damages. Contact our firm to arrange for a consultation with one of our knowledgeable pedestrian accident attorneys. You can have confidence knowing we will work hard to help you fight for fair compensation for the full extent of the injuries you have suffered.