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TX accident lawyerIn Austin, a woman was recently killed when she was struck by a pickup truck while crossing the road at a crosswalk. This unfortunate incident serves as an example of the fact that despite Texas traffic laws aimed at protecting pedestrians, accidents still occur and leave victims and their families struggling to recover.

What Does Texas Traffic Law Say About Pedestrians?

In Texas, drivers are required to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians who are crossing at a crosswalk with a walk signal, or at a crosswalk for which no signal is in place if the pedestrian is on or closely approaching the side of the road on which the driver is traveling. In general, drivers are also required to exercise due care to avoid striking a pedestrian. Failure to follow these traffic laws may justify a claim of negligence if it results in injury to a pedestrian.

Contributing Factors in Pedestrian Accidents

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that nationwide, more pedestrians died in car accidents in 2018 than in any year since 1990. Some of the factors associated with pedestrian accidents include:

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TX injury lawyerA gas station near the corner of Pleasanton Road and East Vestal Place was the site of a hit-and-run accident on a recent night after a man ran from an argument he had been having with four other individuals. The four all got into one car, appearing to hunt down the man and strike him near a fast-food restaurant. He was transported to Brooke Army Medical Center in “serious” condition. While these suspects appear to have had intent to commit a crime, even a suspect who has not acted with malice or recklessness may still be on the proverbial hook for your injuries. Pedestrian accidents are far too common in Texas, and even if no crime is determined to have been committed, you may be able to file a civil suit for monetary compensation.

Rights and Responsibilities

Texas registered 621 pedestrian fatalities in 2018, which was approximately a one percent increase from 2017. The statistics can also track other trends: for example, that the majority of pedestrian-involved accidents, such as the one involving the man at the fast-food restaurant, happened at night when visibility is lowest and alcohol consumption is highest. There are several reasons why these accidents and fatalities happen in Texas; distracted driving and speeding are near the top of the list, especially when combined with Texas’ higher speed limits in many counties.

If you are out walking or otherwise minding your own business, and you are struck by a vehicle, the potential liability for the driver can be quite serious. Pedestrians do have responsibilities when out using the road, such as crossing only at crosswalks and obeying traffic lights, but even if the defendant argues that you failed in upholding these responsibilities, the odds are in your favor in terms of being able to obtain monetary compensation. Florida honors a doctrine called comparative fault, meaning that even if you are ruled to be partially responsible for your own injuries, you should still be able to recover.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_truck-accident_20191014-234021_1.jpgRecently, a man was struck by an 18-wheeler as he tried to run across Loop 410. While the pedestrian’s injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, he was taken to Brooke Army Medical Center as a precaution, The truck driver did stop at the scene of the accident, though as of this writing no charges are expected. While the pedestrian involved in this accident thankfully escaped serious injury, this kind of accident is not uncommon, and very often, pedestrians involved in accidents like this will be stuck with significant medical bills. If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, contacting an experienced attorney can help you in seeking compensation.

Statistics and Causes

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) reports that approximately 5,700 crashes that involved pedestrians happened on Texas roads in 2018, which was roughly a two percent decrease from 2017. Fatalities in those accidents rose just barely - not even one percent - and suspected serious injuries were almost identical. While it cannot be assumed that all of these were pedestrians, it is reasonable to assume that a majority are - after all, drivers and passengers of automobiles have infinitely more protection between them and the road.

There are many different causes of pedestrian accidents, though many are sadly preventable. Certainly, some pedestrians may act recklessly - it is generally not recommended, for example, to try and jaywalk across Loop 410 - but at the same time, drivers are just as capable of acting recklessly. For example, many pedestrian accidents occur because drivers do not slow to a complete stop at crosswalks, or they may not sufficiently check their surroundings when turning, especially with left turns. Liability differs with each case.

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TX wrongful death lawyerOn the night of August 14, a man was trying to cross I-37 N between Cesar Chavez Boulevard and Florida Street when he was struck by a 2012 Kia Optima. Afterward, he was then struck by more vehicles in quick succession and later pronounced dead at the scene. While law enforcement currently do not anticipate charges being filed in the man’s death, it is still possible that his family may choose to file wrongful death charges in civil court. If you have been unfortunate enough to lose a loved one in a traffic accident, this may be an option for you and your family to try and recover some of the expenses incurred.

Establishing Negligence

Everyone passes away eventually, but if you lose a loved one suddenly, it can be devastating. Losing someone due to another person’s recklessness or negligence is something that no one should have to deal with. A wrongful death claim in Texas hinges around establishing that your loved one’s passing would not have occurred but for the negligence of the defendant, and that had they lived, they would have had cause to bring their own lawsuit against the defendant for the injuries they incurred.

For example, if one looks at the I-37 N accident, it can be argued that the man’s family could bring a wrongful death suit against the driver of the Optima because had the Optima not struck him, the man might have lived. Also, had the man survived being struck by the Optima, he would conceivably have been able to sue the driver for his injuries. This does not necessarily mean that the suit would automatically be successful - but the factors would all be present that would allow either the man or his family to sue.

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TX injury lawyerRecently, a New Braunfels man was struck by a car and killed while he was pushing a shopping cart across I-35 South. The pedestrian was wearing dark clothing, and the young driver did not see him until it was too late to take evasive action. The pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene. As of this writing, no charges are being filed against the driver, but in many pedestrian accidents, this will not be the case. If you or a loved one has been injured due to a driver’s negligence, you may be able to seek compensation for your medical bills.

Pedestrian Fatalities on a Net Rise

Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report a very slight decrease in pedestrian fatalities in 2017, with just under 6,000 being reported. Many of the reported correlations from past years remained the same, however - for example, over two-thirds of those killed in pedestrian accidents were male, which has been the case for several years running. Another notable correlation is timing - for the last few years, the highest percentage of fatal accidents with pedestrians occurred between the hours of 6 pm and 9 pm.

Generally, pedestrians have a fairly high injury and fatality rate simply because they have little to no protection from the heft and velocity of an automobile. However, certain demographics tend to be injured or killed more often, for a variety of reasons, many of which have to do with lower income and/or poor infrastructure. For example, those in lower-income neighborhoods are more likely to be in accidents because streetlamps and sidewalks are more likely to be in bad repair.

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The sooner you call, the sooner we can build your case, secure evidence and get maximum compensation for your injuries.

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