Walking around during an average day is an essential part of our daily lives, whether going to work, running errands, or simply taking a walk with our dog. However, the inherent risks of being a pedestrian cannot be ignored, especially in a state as busy and vehicle-heavy as Texas.
Understanding how these incidents occur can significantly enhance your safety on the roads, help you navigate legal options, and seek compensation should an accident impact you or a loved one.
Pedestrian Accident Statistics
The rising number of pedestrian traffic fatalities in Texas mirrors a concerning national trend, highlighting the urgent need for increased road safety measures and public awareness.
- Over the past five years, Texas has witnessed a significant 29.6% surge in pedestrian traffic fatalities.
- Data from 2022 reveals that Texas experienced 5,764 traffic crashes involving pedestrians.
- These unfortunate incidents led to 829 tragic deaths and left 1,526 individuals with severe injuries, according to a recent press release from TxDOT.
- While pedestrians are involved in only 1% of all traffic crashes in Texas, they tragically account for a disproportionate 19% of all traffic-related fatalities.
These statistics underscore the urgent need for infrastructural improvements and heightened road safety measures to protect pedestrians in Texas.
Common Causes of Texas Pedestrian Crashes
In Texas, pedestrian accidents occur for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common ones include the following:
Lack of Sidewalks and Safe Pedestrian Crossings
Inadequate infrastructure can often contribute to accidents. Without designated spaces such as sidewalks or safe crossings, pedestrians may have no choice but to share the road with vehicles.
Driving While Intoxicated
Another significant trigger for these unfortunate incidents is people who are driving while intoxicated. Alcohol and drugs impair judgment and slow reaction times; this dangerous combination can easily result in tragic outcomes, especially for unsuspecting pedestrians going about their daily routines.
In today’s tech-heavy era, distracted driving has also become a pressing issue. It’s not uncommon for drivers to be seen using their mobile phones to text or use their GPS apps. This divides their attention, leading to a decreased awareness of pedestrians, which creates the potential for serious accidents.
Pedestrians can also be distracted by their phones, which may not give them a chance to see oncoming vehicles until it’s too late.
Poor Visibility Combined with Speeding or Failing to Yield
Limited visibility due in part to poor weather conditions or nighttime driving hours is another significant cause of serious accidents. When drivers also make the mistake of speeding or failing to yield in these conditions, they might not have enough time to stop upon seeing a pedestrian.
Unfortunately, these incidents tend to result in severe injuries to pedestrians, given the size and weight difference between a human being and a vehicle.
Prevention and Safety Tips
Preventing a Texas pedestrian crash involves commitment from both drivers and pedestrians.
Drivers have to make a strong commitment to taking necessary precautions to avoid people who are walking near the roadway, as an accident can cause serious injuries and fatalities. Here’s what they can do to promote safety on the roads:
Yield to Pedestrians: As a driver, it is imperative that you yield to pedestrians at marked crosswalks and intersections as mandated by law. Not only will this reduce your risk of causing an accident, but it will also teach other drivers around you by example.
Adhere to Speed Limits: Always stick to the posted speed limits; they have been set for a reason. Doing so allows you more time to see a pedestrian in the roadway and react accordingly. Additionally, take note of road conditions and drive slower than the speed limit if it seems necessary.
Don’t Drink and Drive: Consuming alcohol is illegal and compromises your ability to operate a vehicle safely. If you’ve been drinking, it’s safer to find an alternate means of transportation including rideshare through Uber, Lyft or some other service.
Pedestrians must also take certain precautions to avoid these deadly accidents:
Use Crosswalks and Sidewalks When Available: Utilize designated walking areas whenever possible – these areas provide a buffer between you and motorists.
Wear Bright Clothing: Make yourself visible, especially at night. Wearing reflective clothing or accessories can help make sure drivers see you.
Also, consider using a flashlight when walking late at night or early in the morning.
Stay Alert and Avoid Distractions: Like drivers, pedestrians must also avoid distractions when walking, particularly near roadways. This includes using mobile phones or headphones that could prevent you from hearing or seeing approaching vehicles.
Always Assume the Worst: Walk Defensively: Assume that drivers may not always see you or yield to you. Stay aware of your surroundings, make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street whenever possible, and never assume a vehicle will stop.
Remember, safety is a shared responsibility between pedestrians and motorists. Understanding these preventive measures can go a long way in reducing accidents across Texas.
Proving Someone Else is Responsible For Your Injuries
To establish that another party was liable for your pedestrian accident so you can recover compensation, you’ll typically need to demonstrate the four elements of negligence.
Here’s how this might look in a situation where a driver is at fault for running a stop sign:
Duty of Care
The driver has a responsibility or “duty of care” towards others on the roadways – including pedestrians – to operate their vehicle safely and obey all traffic laws. This includes stopping at stop signs, yielding to other traffic that has the right of way, and entering an intersection only when it is safe to do so.
Breach of Duty
If the driver runs a stop sign, they’ve failed to uphold this duty, which is a violation of their responsibility. In legal terms, the driver has breached their duty by not following a rule for safe driving.
You must then connect this breach of duty to your injuries – in other words, establish causation and show that the driver’s failure to stop at the sign was the cause of your injury.
Finally, you must prove that the incident caused physical, financial, or emotional damages. This could include medical care expenses, loss of earnings, physical impairment, or pain and suffering.
Demonstrating these four elements is required to succeed in a personal injury negligence claim. To provide the best likelihood of success, it is best to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can guide you through this complex process to ensure maximum compensation.
Recoverable Compensation After a Texas Pedestrian Crash
After a pedestrian accident in Texas, you may have the right to compensation. The kind of damages that might be recovered typically fall into three categories: economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
These types of damages compensate for quantifiable financial losses as a result of the accident. They can include past and future medical expenses, loss of earnings if you had to take time off work or aren’t able to work anymore due to your injuries, loss of earning capacity, and rehabilitation costs like physical therapy sessions or other treatments. Property damage can also be recovered.
This category refers to less tangible losses – often referred to as “human damages” – that don’t have an objective price tag. This typically includes pain and suffering resulting from your injuries, physical impairment, mental anguish, disfigurement, reduced quality of life, and loss of consortium.
These are meant to punish the responsible party and deter the wrongdoer from engaging in similar behavior in the future. Punitive damages are rare but can be recovered if you can prove that the person at fault acted with fraud, malice, or gross negligence – meaning they knew their actions carried significant risk and still chose to proceed.
What should I do after a pedestrian accident?
Following a pedestrian accident, your top priority should be to seek immediate medical attention for your injuries. Documenting your injuries by taking photos and getting appropriate medical care is critical.
Also, notify the police about the accident, as they will investigate and create an accident report recording what happened, witness identification, and the cause of the incident. When possible gather information from the people involved, including driver names, contact details, and insurance information. Record any witnesses’ names and contact details and save the documents related to your medical expenses and lost wages.
Why do I need a lawyer after a pedestrian accident?
It’s crucial to hire a lawyer after a pedestrian accident as they can significantly impact the outcome of your case. An experience personal injury lawyer will be able to navigate the legal system, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in court when necessary.
How much time do I have to file a lawsuit after a pedestrian accident in Texas?
In Texas, the general rule for the statute of limitations for personal injury claims resulting from a pedestrian accident is two years from the date of the incident. This is a general rule that has exceptions, which is one of the reasons why it is so important to consult with a lawyer and rely on that lawyer’s advice in light of the specific facts of the incident. It’s critical to act promptly, as failing to file within the given timeframe can result in losing the right to pursue legal compensation.
It’s important to note that there are exceptions that can shorten or extend this deadline, so always speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney can guide you through the legal process and ensure timely filing.
Contact Callahan Law Firm To Schedule a Free Consultation
Understanding common causes of pedestrian accidents helps everyone to stay safe on Texas roads. However, accidents can happen even when you’re doing everything right. If you or a loved one ha’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident due to someone else’s negligence, legal help is available.
At Callahan Law Firm, our team has over 25 years of experience in personal injury law, including complex cases involving pedestrian accidents in Houston and Pasadena. Our attorneys provide quality legal representation with the goal of getting full justice and maximizing compensation for the people we represent. Don’t hesitate – call us today at Callahan Law Firm for a free consultation.
Talk to an Experienced Texas Personal Injury Lawyer Now
After a serious accident, your focus should be on your health and your family. Let our attorneys handle everything else. Contact The Callahan Law Firm now for a free review of your case. Our attorneys are here to answer your questions and explain your legal options.