Statistically, young drivers are among the most reckless, being involved in the most accidents of any age group. However, at Akins High School in South Austin, young people have been the victims lately. The student body has experienced multiple pedestrian accidents in recent weeks, with both occurring on the same road, in the same general area. While one pedestrian accident is a tragic accident, two or more occurring in the same place at roughly the same time may imply that a duty of care is not being met.
Texas Has Poor Record on Pedestrian Safety
Texas’ record in pedestrian safety is decidedly subpar, or at least it has been in recent years, though changes are being implemented slowly. In 2017, there were 614 pedestrian fatalities in the state, which is a drop of approximately 10 percent. However, the national total remained roughly the same, according to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA)’s preliminary data. Only California and Florida reported more pedestrian fatalities in 2018 than Texas, which is a trend that has existed for a number of years now.
Certain initiatives to lower pedestrian deaths and injuries have begun to be instituted, such as Austin’s Pedestrian Safety Plan. These programs try to assess walkability of roads, effectiveness of traffic patterns and other urban planning issues to determine how the cities and towns they serve can be made safer for pedestrians. However, these plans alone may not alleviate all the potential trouble spots, and sometimes it may take legal action to identify areas where pedestrian accidents are most likely to happen.
Who Is Liable?
In an isolated accident, the questions asked to determine liability primarily revolve around whether or not the defendant exercised reasonable care toward the plaintiff. If someone were to try and assign liability for the accidents near Akins High, the same question would be asked, but the defendant must be identified first. If someone is in an auto accident, they may, in theory, sue multiple defendants if they believe that multiple defendants each played a role in causing their injuries, but many times a plaintiff will choose to sue only the defendant most closely linked to the accident. In this case that might be either Travis County, who maintains most non-highway roads in Austin, or it might be Akins High School, depending on the specific locations of the accidents.
The reason that the most applicable defendant, in this case, is somewhat ambiguous is a reason that can reoccur in anyone’s case – without further information, it can be difficult to assess what the true cause of these accidents is. The school does have a duty to exercise reasonable care toward its students during school hours, but if the accidents occurred after school hours, Akins might be found to have acted appropriately. If, by comparison, there is no traffic light or crosswalk where perhaps there should be one, or that the light malfunctions, it might be that Travis County is at fault for failure to maintain the road. If you are injured in a pedestrian accident, your case may be somewhat clearer.
Call Our Pedestrian Accident Lawyers
While the Akins High students escaped serious injury, it is not guaranteed that anyone else involved in an accident at the same location would be so lucky. If you have been hit by a car, you may sustain serious injuries that can derail your life if not handled appropriately. The skilled New Braunfels pedestrian accident attorneys at the Bettersworth Law Firm are happy to sit down with you and try to help answer any questions you may have about going forward. Call us today to schedule an appointment.