Houston Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
In the blink of an eye, your life can change dramatically. Every year on Texas roads, pedestrians are struck down by careless or distracted drivers. What started as a pleasant stroll or quick walk home from school can quickly spiral into a nightmare.
Numbers from the Texas Department of Transportation found that in 2018, there were 621 pedestrian fatalities in the state, an increase from 2017. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that in 2017, a pedestrian was killed, on average, every 88 minutes. For those lucky enough to survive being hit by a car, they may face severe injuries, steep medical bills, and a lifelong recovery process.
Unfortunately, a pedestrian accident doesn’t just impact the victim’s physical health, it can derail their entire financial future. Should one moment of carelessness ruin a victim’s entire life? At Gibson Hill Personal Injury, we don’t think so.
Our team of experienced personal injury lawyers has the knowledge and resources it takes to investigate your accident, examine the evidence, build a strong case, and fight for the fair compensation you’re owed. We even offer victims a free case review. Call our Houston office today at (713) 659-4000 to schedule a consultation.
Steps to Take After a Pedestrian Accident
- Move to safety. Move out of the flow of traffic and to a safe place where you can assess any injuries and determine what your next steps should be.
- Seek medical care if needed. If you’ve been seriously injured, call 911 and request emergency medical services. Even if the injury does not appear to be severe, you may still require assistance. Injuries like internal bleeding, spinal or brain injuries can be present with no outward symptoms.
- Call the police. Give them the location of the accident and names of those involved.
- Watch what you say. It’s important that you don’t admit fault or say anything incriminating. Refrain from posting details about the accident on social media, and refrain from discussing who was at fault with anyone else involved. Your words can be used against you in negotiations with the insurance company or in court.
- Gather information. Gather contact information from anyone directly or indirectly involved in the accident. This can include the driver of the vehicle, other drivers who witnessed the accident, and other pedestrians who saw what happened.
- Take pictures. Document the scene of the accident, the driver’s car, and any injuries you may have sustained. Photographic evidence can be used by an attorney to help you in a personal injury claim.
What Is Involved in a Pedestrian Accident Investigation
A pedestrian accident investigation can be a lengthy and difficult process and is best handled by an experienced lawyer.
The first step is usually to determine the level of insurance coverage for all involved, be it auto insurance or medical insurance. Does the driver have current insurance? Do they have comprehensive coverage or just liability? These are some of the questions that might be asked following the accident.
The next step will be the discovery phase. During this period, attorneys on both sides will send questions about the accident to both parties involved requesting information about exactly what happened. This information is reviewed by both sides and responses are carefully written detailing the particulars of the accident, whether any injuries occurred, if anyone witnessed the accident, or if any medical treatment was sought.
Next comes the oral discovery phase. During this phase, a deposition of the defendant is taken, and more detailed questions about the accident are asked. The driver might answer questions regarding the time and place of the accident, traffic or road conditions at the time, past convictions, or past accidents.
Witness statements would be taken, and police reports would be obtained during this phase.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
There are a variety of reasons that pedestrians can quickly turn into victims. Reckless or negligent drivers who are not paying attention to their surroundings may miss seeing a pedestrian until it is too late. Unfortunately, drivers may even ignore the rules of the road and fail to yield to pedestrians when they have the right of way. Although the circumstances may differ, the results are often traumatic and even deadly for the pedestrian caught in the path of a 3,000-pound vehicle.
These are some of the common causes of pedestrian accidents on our roadways:
- Distracted Driving – Cell phones, texting, eating, grooming, navigation systems, even loud music, these things are all distractions that can take a driver’s eyes off the road long enough to miss a pedestrian crossing the street or walking on the side of the road.
- Unsafe Roadway Conditions – Bad weather, poor visibility, and poor lighting conditions, such as at dusk or late evening, can contribute to pedestrian accidents.
- School Zones – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finds that almost 19 percent of pedestrian fatalities involved children 14 years old and younger. School zones are filled with children walking to and from school; they can be dangerous places when drivers are not paying attention to their surroundings.
- Construction Zones – Drivers not using caution, slowing down, and heeding construction warning signs and speed limits can veer off course and hit workers along the road. The National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse calculates that, in 2017, there were 129 fatal crashes involving pedestrians in work zones and 132 worker fatalities.
- Reckless Driving – Excessive speeding, sudden lane changes, running red lights – any type of reckless driving behavior can spell disaster for an unsuspecting pedestrian.
- Left-Hand Turns – Drivers making left-hand turns may be more prone to striking pedestrians. Studies have indicated that drivers making right-hand turns tend to be more vigilant in watching the intersection, other drivers, and crossing pedestrians. Drivers turning left may not pay as much attention to their surroundings.
- Intoxication – Drivers driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol are less vigilant in watching for pedestrians, and slower to react when they see a pedestrian in their path.
- Speeding– Speeding drivers have less time to react when they see a pedestrian in their path, or they may fail to notice the pedestrian at all.
Injuries from Pedestrian Accidents
There are no two ways about it, pedestrian injuries can be severe and extreme. A pedestrian out on a walk doesn’t stand much of a chance when a 3,000-pound vehicle comes barreling down upon them. Pedestrian accidents can often be fatal. Those who do survive can be left with traumatic injuries that forever change their lives.
Some of the common injuries that can result from a car versus pedestrian accident include:
- Limb amputation
- Fractured bones
- Traumatic brain injury
- Head, neck, and spine injuries
- Soft tissue damage
- Internal injuries
- Wrongful death
The more severe the injury, the more expensive medical bills may be. Lengthy hospital stays are only a small part of the equation. Follow up doctor’s visits, surgeries, prescriptions, and months, if not years, of potential physical and rehabilitation therapy can add up. These bills are enough to financially cripple most American’s, leaving them in debt and their financial stability in jeopardy.
Costs can also skyrocket when you take into consideration the significant and life-altering changes that can be brought on by a serious pedestrian accident. People who suffer traumatic brain injuries, paralysis, or the loss of a limb may have to alter their homes to accommodate their new situation. A victim may also be in need of long-term care or home health assistance.
At Gibson Hill Personal Injury, we firmly believe that a victim should not be financially ruined because of the actions of a negligent or reckless driver. Our team allows victims to focus on their physical and emotional recovery from this traumatic event, while we focus on fighting for their rights and securing them the compensation they need and deserve.
Damages You May Be Compensated for After a Pedestrian Accident
Not every pedestrian accident happens the same way or under the same set of circumstances. An experienced attorney will always carefully examine the facts and the evidence in a case before assigning a dollar amount to an accident injury case. There are a number of different factors that can go into determining how damages are awarded to victims in the state of Texas.
Texas is what is known as a “modified comparative fault” state when it comes to vehicle accidents. In a modified comparative fault state, a jury will need to take into consideration two main factors when determining how to award damages: the total dollar amount of the damages, and what percentage of the fault lies with each party.
Consider this example: a pedestrian is not properly using a designated crosswalk when a reckless and speeding driver slams into them. In Texas, a jury may find that the victim is 30 percent at fault for the accident because they were not properly using the crosswalk. The driver of the vehicle is then found to be 70 percent responsible for causing the accident because they were speeding and driving recklessly. In this scenario, the victim would be entitled to the full amount of damages, minus 30 percent.
In Texas, if you are found to be more than 50 percent at fault for causing an accident, you will not be able to recover any financial damages.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a pedestrian accident, there are a variety of damages you may be entitled to. Here is a list of common forms of compensation you may be able to recover following a serious accident:
- Current medical bills
- Future medical bills related to the accident
- Loss of income
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Property damage
- Physical impairment or disability
- Pain and suffering
It is important to note that, in Texas, there is a time limit for filing a personal injury claim. The state only gives you two years from the date of the accident to seek legal recourse. At Gibson Hill Personal Injury, we know that you are overwhelmed and physically suffering following your pedestrian accident. You need time to process what has happened and figure out what your best move is going to be. Unfortunately, the state doesn’t give you unlimited time to weigh your options. Getting an attorney on your side quickly means that they will be able to secure crucial evidence before it’s lost or destroyed.
The compassionate legal team at Gibson Hill Personal Injury will fight to protect your rights. You are facing enough pressure as it is right now, we don’t want to put more pressure on your shoulders. That’s why we offer a free case review. To schedule a consultation, call our Houston office at (713) 659-4000.
How Much Does a Pedestrian Accident Injury Attorney Cost?
Here at Gibson Hill Personal Injury, we believe everyone is entitled to high-quality legal representation. We know that you’re dealing with additional expenses right now due to the medical care required by your injuries. The last thing we want to do is burden your already stretched financial situation.
For that reason, we operate on a contingency-fee basis. This means you pay nothing upfront. It also means that we will only get paid for our services if we obtain a settlement for you or if the court issues a judgment in your favor. If we don’t win money for you, you don’t owe us a thing.
Statistics on Pedestrian Accidents
According to the National Safety Council and National Center for Health Statistics, 7,668 pedestrians died in traffic or non-traffic-related accidents in 2019, and 6,205 pedestrians died in traffic accidents on public roads.
Nearly 80% of these deaths occurred at night or during low-light conditions. Over 80% were in urban areas, and almost 75% were on open roads away from intersections.
Pedestrian deaths in traffic accidents have seen a sharp increase since 2009. Between 2009 and 2019, there was a 51% increase in pedestrian fatalities on public roads. This increasing trend has tapered in the last few years. In 2019, pedestrian deaths accounted for just over 17% of all traffic fatalities for the year.
Laws and Statutes for Pedestrian Accident Cases in Texas
If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident in Texas, the driver of the vehicle that hit you is not always at fault. Even if you were obeying traffic laws and using a crosswalk, you still may be partially at fault for the accident.
Pedestrians have the right of way in Texas in the following circumstances:
- Crossing the road at a marked crosswalk when the Walk sign is illuminated
- Crossing the road at a marked or unmarked crosswalk while walking parallel to traffic with a green light
- Crossing an alley, driveway, or private road with a vehicle emerging
Vehicles have the right of way in Texas under the following conditions:
- If the pedestrian is crossing the road when the traffic light is yellow or red
- If the pedestrian is crossing the road at a crosswalk with the “Don’t Walk” sign illuminated
- If the pedestrian enters the roadway without giving passing vehicles ample time to stop
Pedestrian Accident Process in Texas
Filing an insurance claim or lawsuit in Texas starts with contacting the right attorney. Gibson Hill Personal Injury is standing by to speak with you about your accident and get the process started. As stated above, the investigation is first. Both the insurance company and your lawyer will do an investigation. Your attorney will gather all available evidence to show that the driver was at fault for your injuries. Your attorney will obtain police reports, speak to witnesses, and investigate the event to build your case against the driver who injured you.
The next step is usually filing a personal injury claim with the driver’s insurance company. Your attorney will present the evidence gathered during their investigation and request compensation for medical bills, lost wages, or other damages.
The insurance company will decide whether to pay or deny your claim. They may offer a settlement amount. The settlement offer is compensation offered to an injured party to try to make them drop the case against their insured and settle out of court. The problem with most settlement offers first presented by the insurance company is that the amount is much too small to cover all your losses. Any settlement will need to cover your expenses to date and any expenses you may have in the future that relate to your accident. Your attorney will scrutinize your case, expenses, and medical records to determine what an appropriate settlement amount should be.
If you and your attorney agree that the settlement amount is fair and you don’t wish to pursue any further damages, the case is closed and you receive payment. Many potential people choose this option because:
- It takes less time. Legal proceedings can be a long, drawn-out process, and many people need compensation right away to pay for medical bills or cover lost time at work.
- They want to avoid embarrassment. Legal proceedings are matters of public record, and once a legal judgment is entered, it can be very difficult to remove.
Bear in mind that when you accept a settlement from the insurance company, your claim is closed for good. If you develop additional complications related to your injuries from the accident later on, you will be unable to obtain additional compensation.
If you and your lawyer decide the settlement amount is not enough, you may need to file a lawsuit against the insurance company.
How Gibson Hill Personal Injury Can Help Following a Pedestrian Accident
The Houston personal injury attorneys at Gibson Hill Personal Injury want to help you get what you’re owed following an accident with a negligent or reckless driver. Our main priority is to fight for the compensation you deserve, while taking the stress and anxiety of the legal process off your shoulders. Take the first step toward fighting for your rights and regaining your financial stability. Call our office at (713) 659-4000 to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.