Pedestrian Accidents Attorney in Austin, Texas
Pedestrians share the roadways with a lot of other people. Everyone, including pedestrians, owes everyone else a duty to obey the rules of the road and remain vigilant while using them. However, most of them are on two wheels or four, and someone walking is no match for them if they are struck.
Injuries from a pedestrian vs. motor vehicle incident are often critical and even deadly. If you are a pedestrian hit by a car and injured, or if a loved one has been incapacitated or has died, it is vital to talk about the circumstances of the accident. You may be able to recover compensation for your injuries, the injuries of a loved one, or file a wrongful death claim.
Before I opened Rodman Law Office, I defended insurance companies when claims were filed against their insureds. I know how insurance defense attorneys think, what they look for to assign blame to victims, and the tactics they use to pay those victims as little as possible or nothing at all.
Now, I put that knowledge to work for injury victims and their loved ones in Austin, Texas, including Travis, Williamson, and Hayes counties. If you’re interested in pursuing a claim, I’m ready to help.
Texas has what is referred to as a “Pedestrian Right of Way Law.” That means the responsibilities pedestrians have are spelled out in state statute.
Among those responsibilities are:
Obeying all traffic lights, including those used by vehicles and walk/don’t walk signs;
Not crossing an intersection when the only green light is a turn arrow indicator for vehicular traffic;
Keeping to the far right side of the crosswalk when possible;
Using sidewalks when they are present and walking on the far left side of the roadway, facing oncoming traffic when they are not;
Staying out of a roadway to solicit money, work, or rides;
Not entering a roadway on a red, yellow, wait, or don’t walk light;
Not entering a roadway without right of way or warning; and,
Yielding the right of way to traffic if crossing the roadway where there is no controlled intersection available.
Of course, Texas law also prescribes the responsibilities motor vehicle drivers have when using roadways. Obeying traffic signs and signals are among them, but they also have certain duties with regard to pedestrians.
If a pedestrian is crossing the intersection in the crosswalk when obeying the lights and signage and a motor vehicle enters the intersection to turn, the auto operator is required to yield the right of way to the pedestrian. Likewise, a motor vehicle crossing a sidewalk to enter or exit a garage, parking lot, or other points must yield to a pedestrian using the sidewalk.
Although the law dictates that pedestrians do not always have the right of way, it also upholds the vehicle operator’s duty to avoid striking a pedestrian. They must warn a pedestrian if they are approaching them, for example, by honking the horn if they are legally turning left on a green arrow when a pedestrian enters the crosswalk. They are also charged with being vigilant for children, the disabled, the elderly, and those pedestrians confused or impaired.
Because Texas is a fault state, those whose negligence causes an accident is financially responsible for the injuries, death, and damages they cause. However, liability in a pedestrian accident is also affected by the state’s recognition of a principle called “comparative fault,” which means more than one person, including the injured individual, can be held partially responsible and therefore, liable. That responsibility would stem from the driver’s, as well as the pedestrian’s duty of care under the law.
Let’s say you are walking toward the intersection, and as you step into the crosswalk, there are only a few seconds left on the walk light, but you proceed anyway. The left turn arrow comes on, and a vehicle enters the intersection to make the turn and strikes you. The driver owed a duty of care to yield the right of way to you even if making a legal left turn, stopping even in mid-turn to allow you to pass. However, you entered the crosswalk when you should not have because you didn’t have sufficient time to get to the other side before the “don’t walk” light came on. In this case, you would probably be assigned some of the liability for the accident.
Here is how this example of comparative fault could play out in court. A jury might find the driver 70% at fault and you 30% at fault. If the jury determined your damages are $100,000, you would receive only $70,000. That is because your award would be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you.
Statute of Limitations
Texas has established a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury and wrongful death claims. If you don’t settle your claim with the insurance company or file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit before two years from the date of injury or death, you forfeit your right to pursue compensation.
You can seek compensation for economic damages, such as the cost of medical treatment and rehabilitation, the future cost of medical treatment for severe injuries, and in the case of wrongful death, the cost of funeral and burial expenses. Economic damages also include lost wages and lost financial support in the death of a loved one.
Recoverable noneconomic damages include pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of consortium, companionship, and guidance.
What Do I Do Next?
If you are a pedestrian injured by a driver, or if you have a loved one who has been incapacitated in a pedestrian accident, seek the appropriate medical attention. You will need a diagnosis relating the injuries to the accident.
If your loved one died as a result of a pedestrian accident, and you are the spouse, parent, or child of the decedent, you can file a wrongful death action against the driver.
In any case, the best thing you can do is call Rodman Law Office. The statute of limitations is brief; therefore, it is vital to begin pursuing your claim right away.
Pedestrian Accidents Attorney Serving Austin, TX
Fault in pedestrian accidents is not always clear. Insurance companies will do whatever they can to place the blame on you rather than their negligent insured. You need to work with a strategic pedestrian accident attorney. One who used to work for insurance companies, as I did, is even better. Consultations for personal injury and wrongful death claims are free, so there is no need to wait. Call Rodman Law Office in Austin, Texas.