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TX accident lawyerRecently, a man was killed when he tried to walk across US 281, forcing the highway’s closure between Nakoma Street and Bitters Road. The driver did stop at the scene and try to render aid, but the man was beyond help. If you are so unfortunate as to lose a loved one in that way, you may be able to file a suit for wrongful death against the driver - even if they did stop and attempt to render aid. No amount of money will bring your loved one back, but it can help to pay bills during the time you may need to get back on your feet.

A Duty of Care

Pedestrian accidents happen all too commonly in Texas, with over 8,100 being registered in 2018, yielding 693 fatalities. There are multiple causes for these crashes, including excessive speed, substance abuse, failing to yield properly, and a general lack of pedestrian-safe infrastructure like crosswalks and stoplights. Many of these are on display in the US 281 accident, most notably a lack of any place for a pedestrian to cross the street safely.

That said, a driver on the road has a duty to exercise reasonable care toward others on the road, and a failure to do so can open them up to liability. If they strike another motorist or a pedestrian, they may be sued for negligence or for wrongful death if the injured person does not survive. While there is no indication that the deceased pedestrian’s family intends to take any action against the driver, they could do so if they believed that the driver was negligent in causing the pedestrian’s passing.

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TX accident attorneyAustin police have recently released more information on a July 14 crash that killed a pedestrian on I-35, in the 300 block of the interstate. A 43-year old man was crossing the street when he was struck by an SUV. He was pronounced dead at the scene, though the driver of the SUV did stop to render aid. If you are unfortunate enough to be struck by a vehicle while crossing a street, be aware that you may be able to seek compensation for your medical bills and for lost wages.

Texas Metro Areas Are Hazardous To Pedestrians

Statistics show that metropolitan areas are disproportionately hazardous to pedestrians, especially those over the age of 65 - the Centers for Disease Control estimate that 15 percent of all pedestrians injured in 2015 were elderly, as were approximately 20 percent of 2016’s pedestrian fatalities. The think tank Smart Growth America ranks metropolitan areas, giving each a Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI), and San Antonio-New Braunfels ranks at #21 on the list (second in Texas; the first was McAllen-Edinburg-Mission).

The PDI of a metropolitan area in the Smart Growth study is calculated by using numerous factors, including injury and fatality rates per year, as well as the number of vehicles on the roads on average, to estimate just how hazardous it can be for a pedestrian to walk or cycle in the area. External factors are also noted - for example, poorly designed streets, missing or broken infrastructure like streetlamps and crosswalks, and crime rates. Several Texas cities, San Antonio included, are not safe for pedestrians.

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Pedestrians and cyclists are routinely the victims of traffic accidents in Texas, and while sometimes it is due to their own negligence, very often it is also due to the recklessness or negligence of drivers. Because non-drivers are at such a relative disadvantage on the road, many cities in Texas have enacted what are called vulnerable road user (VRU) ordinances, designed to safeguard those who might otherwise wind up with medical bills they can ill afford to pay.

Power Imbalances on the Road

Most jurisdictions define vulnerable road users as exactly that - people on the road that have less protection (usually physical, but also sometimes legal) such as pedestrians and bicyclists. The term can also be defined by age group or physical characteristics - young children and the elderly are often placed in the VRU category. Contrary to popular belief, there is no requirement that a VRU be classed as a pedestrian, as opposed to a vehicle - bicycles and motorcycles are considered vehicles under Texas law, and they are covered by many VRU ordinances.

Because drivers of cars and trucks are better protected and will often have more time to react in the event of a crash, VRU ordinances have begun to be passed in many major cities - in Texas, the first to appear were in Houston and Austin, although Midland, San Antonio, and Dallas have all either passed provisional bills or are in the process of doing so. As of this writing, five states have passed VRU ordinances, but Texas is not yet one of them, so the city ordinances provide important, if patchy, protection.

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Posted on in Car Wrecks

Texas accident lawyerOn December 5, 2017, a young man was struck by a car as he tried to cross I-35, later dying in a Round Rock hospital. Originally thought to be in his 20s, the young man turned out to be only 15 years old. While obviously the young man’s passing is a tragedy, it highlights the danger to pedestrians when they attempt to cross busy streets, and the potential consequences for both they and the drivers involved in such accidents.

The Dangers of I-35

While obviously, any road can be dangerous, I-35 has a reputation for being exceedingly hazardous, for a multitude of reasons. It has consistently been voted one of the most congested highways in the state, and ranks in the top 10 or 20 in many lists of the busiest roads nationwide. The more traffic on a highway, as one might imagine, the higher the amount of accidents generally, and usually a higher number of casualties will result. This can often be doubly true for the occurrence of accidents involving pedestrians and smaller vehicles like motorcycles - neither has anywhere near as much protection as a car or truck driver does from injury during an accident.

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Texas accident injuryOn November 8 in San Antonio, a pedestrian accident occurred when a teenage girl “ran into the road” on a West Side street and was struck by a car. While no severe injuries seem to have occurred in this specific accident, pedestrian accidents can be among the most hazardous in terms of lives lost simply because one party is at a tremendous advantage in terms of protection from impact. If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, you may be able to seek compensation for the harm you suffered.

Pedestrian Accidents Are Common in Texas

Pedestrians have a difficult time in Texas. Recent statistics from Smart Growth America, a think tank that tracks urban development, places six Texan cities and their metropolitan areas within the 50 most dangerous in the United States (only Florida has more). Speed limits are generally high, even within metro areas, and with the way that many roads in Texas are laid out, there are fewer pedestrian crossings in many areas than there perhaps should be.

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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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