Houston is not known for being a walkable or pedestrian-friendly city. In 2019, there were approximately 6,000 car accidents involving pedestrians in Texas, in which 656 Texans lost their lives. As a pedestrian, even in a city designed for cars, you have certain rights that protect you as you travel on foot. If you or a family member has been injured in a pedestrian accident, the experienced Houston injury attorneys at Dax F. Garza, P.C. can help guide you through the complicated process of obtaining fair compensation for your damages.
More Houstonians are opting to walk to work or walk to nearby stores, however, there has not yet been corresponding increased regulation of drivers who break the law regarding pedestrian right of way. Pedestrian accidents are usually the fault of the driver who may not be paying attention to the road, is driving while distracted, or is not actively looking for pedestrians crossing the street. If the pedestrian is using a crosswalk or sidewalk, and has the right of way, the drivers in those accidents will be found legally at fault.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Texans must follow a set of traffic laws meant to keep pedestrians and drivers safe. This includes following the instructions of all traffic signals and signs while driving and walking. If drivers break the rules and do not pay appropriate attention to the road, they may fail to yield to a pedestrian who has the right of way. The most common causes of pedestrian accidents include:
- Failure to yield the right of way to a pedestrian: At a crosswalk, if the pedestrian has the walk signal, they have the right of way to cross the street. If there is no crosswalk signal at the intersection, but it is safe to cross, they also have the right of way. Drivers that do not yield to these pedestrians or go through intersection without looking can cause deadly accidents.
- Driver Distraction: Distracted driving is on the rise as there are more and more drivers taking their eyes off the road to use their cell phones. If a driver takes their eyes off the road for even an instant, they could miss a pedestrian cross the road or swerve into the side of the road onto the sidewalk where pedestrians are supposed to be safe.
- Malfunctioning Traffic Signals: A poorly designed intersection or intersection that has malfunctioning traffic signals can be deadly for both drivers and pedestrians. Even if all parties follow all traffic laws and obey the signals, a deadly accident may occur. The city or state could be at fault for this type of pedestrian accident.
- Parking Lot Dangers: Many pedestrian accidents occur in parking lots where people are walking to and from their cars. Drivers may not be as attentive as they should in a parking lot and expect pedestrians to get out of their way. Pedestrians still have the right of way in a parking lot and drivers who hit these pedestrians must pay the price for injuries they cause.
Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries
When a pedestrian is involved in a car accident, the extent of their injuries depends on their height, how fast the car was going, and where they were hit. Often the injuries sustained by the pedestrian will be in their lower extremities, since that is where the car will hit first. Severe injuries to the legs, knees, hips, and shins are very common. If the pedestrian subsequently hits the hood or side of the car, or is thrown any distance away from the car, they can sustain neck, head, or upper extremity injuries. For children, initial impact will often injure the head, face, and neck first.
Many pedestrian accident injuries are extremely severe because the pedestrian has no protection from the vehicle that hits them. These injuries can be life-changing and cause the victim extreme pain. Common injuries include:
- Broken / fractured bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord / neck injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Bruising / contusions
- Road rash / burns
Many of these injuries can result in death or permanent disability. Car accidents involving pedestrians almost always injure the pedestrian much more than the driver of the vehicle.
You Have Rights as a Pedestrian
Pedestrians in Texas have specific rights; and, if you have been hit by a car as a pedestrian, you should understand your rights and the compensation you are entitled to. Victims of pedestrian accidents have the right to be compensated for all injuries sustained as a result of the accident as well as any pain and suffering, lost wages, and mental anguish suffered.
The Houston pedestrian accident attorneys at Dax F. Garza, P.C. are ready to help you and your family seek justice. If you are in a pedestrian accident and the driver’s insurance company attempts to contact you for a recorded statement, decline the request and call our office for guidance through this process. If you think you may have contributed to the cause of the accident by violating a traffic law or jaywalking, do not give up hope. If you were at fault for less than 50% of the accident, you could still recover damages from the other party involved according to Texas law. Hiring a personal injury attorney will be critical to navigating this process. Call the lawyers at Dax F. Garza, P.C. today, as there is limited time to make your claim after the accident occurs.