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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 car accident lawyerIn August 2020, law enforcement was finally able to identify a 58-year-old man who was struck and killed while walking on I-35 North in April. He was hit by a truck in the early evening, but due to his lack of identification, could not immediately be identified upon his passing. While the man’s family can now at least get some closure, it is important to keep in mind that pedestrians are the most likely people on the road to suffer serious, life-changing injuries due to another person’s negligence. If you have been struck by a vehicle, you may be able to seek compensation for the harm you have suffered.

Pedestrians Are Vulnerable

The most recent available data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that approximately 6,300 pedestrians died in traffic crashes in 2018, with the highest percentage of fatal accidents happening between 6 PM and 9 PM. While senior citizens are the most likely to be involved in a pedestrian accident, every age group is affected by the factors that lead to these types of crashes - for example, poor infrastructure, such as a lack of sidewalks or streetlights, may lead to pedestrians walking in the road.

The causes of individual pedestrian accidents are varied, though some tend to reoccur more often than not - speeding, distracted driving, lack of visibility, and substance abuse are some of the most commonly seen factors that can lead to pedestrians being struck by vehicles. Injuries in these types of accidents also tend to be more severe than those involving multiple vehicles, simply because pedestrians do not have the protection of vehicle passengers and drivers. The sheer weight and velocity involved can lead to life-changing injuries.

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Posted on in Car Wrecks

TX injury lawyerRecently, a man was hit by a pickup truck and killed as he and a friend walked along northbound I-35. According to the friend, they were walking south on the northbound lanes when a pickup truck struck the man walking on the outside, and sped off after the fact. While pedestrians walking along busy I-35 is less common than one might anticipate, this does not mean that both drivers and pedestrians do not need to be well aware of their rights and responsibilities while on the road.

Why Do Pedestrian Accidents Happen?

Pedestrian accidents are a perennial issue in Texas, with its miles of rural roads and higher-than-average speed limits. The most recent available data from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) estimates approximately 5,700 crashes involving pedestrians in 2018, with roughly 615 fatalities. This is one of the higher state totals in the country for the last few years, despite several Texas municipalities enacting ordinances trying to regulate speed limits and other plans to fight against reckless driving in the works.

Infrastructure in Texas is also an issue for pedestrians. The think tank SmartGrowth America ranks metropolitan areas by their degree of danger for pedestrians (from drivers and also the lack of infrastructure like sidewalks, curb cuts, and traffic lights), and in 2019, six Texas cities/metro areas ranked in the top 50, with the McAllen/Edinburg/Mission area being deemed the most dangerous (#16), with San Antonio/New Braunfels (#21) and Houston/The Woodlands/Sugarland (#23) not far behind.

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TX injury lawyerA true tragedy happened on February 20, when a 10-year old riding her bicycle fell into traffic, losing her life after being struck by a passing SUV. The accident happened in West Bexar County, in the Valley Ranch area, and while law enforcement does not anticipate filing any charges in the matter, it can be hugely traumatic for both the driver and the family of the deceased person when accidents like this occur. No criminal charges also does not mean that the family of the girl cannot file a civil lawsuit. If this happens to your family, you need to make sure you remain clear-headed as you determine how best to handle this.

Negligence Must Be Present

Despite how devastating they can be, not every accidental death is grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. If you have lost a loved one in an accident, you must be able to show that their passing was the result of another person’s “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness or default” - that is, you must establish that there was negligence or recklessness in their actions. If they could not have acted in any other way, or could not have acted any faster to stop the accident, there is no cause of action under Texas law.

In the Valley Ranch accident, for example, law enforcement saw no recklessness or negligence in the driver’s behavior because everything happened so quickly. The driver likely had no time to take evasive action or stop their vehicle - and if it is generally agreed that no reasonable person would have been able to stop or evade the girl on the ground, then it is not possible to call the driver negligent. The accident was horrible, but not necessarily avoidable.

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

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