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TX injury lawyerAfter a 12-hour period in late October in which there were four different car accidents involving pedestrians, San Antonio residents have voiced concerns about how common these accidents are in the area. In total, 46 pedestrians had been killed in San Antonio car accidents from the start of 2020 through October 23, according to local law enforcement. With this in mind, it is important that pedestrians and drivers alike take steps to reduce the risk of these accidents, and that they know where to turn for help if they are injured.

Causes of San Antonio Pedestrian Accidents

Of the four accidents mentioned above, in one case the victim was walking at night and wearing dark clothing, and in more than one case the victim was attempting to cross the street without a crosswalk. However, local residents suggest that drivers also contribute to the danger to pedestrians by failing to slow down even when there is a crosswalk.

Research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) supports the prevalence of all of these contributing factors in pedestrian accidents, as well as other factors including alcohol and drug intoxication and distractions from phones and other electronic devices. The NHTSA also reports that pedestrian accidents are much more common in urban areas like San Antonio.

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

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