(817) 885-8000

Pedestrian Accident Claims Spiking

October had to be named as a way to stop a pedestrian accident from happening

When someone is hit by a car or truck, the impact is violent and the injury can be serious and sometimes fatal.
A pedestrian accident is much too frequent. Here are some shocking facts:
in Texas. Last year, the total number increased by __%, the highest in the last 28 years
Texas is ranked as the eighth most dangerous state for pedestrians, according to the “Pedestrian Danger Index” compiled by nonpartisan advocacy groups Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition. Among metro areas, Dallas-Fort Worth ranks 28th.

Texas had 485 pedestrian fatalities in 2013, and in 2017 recorded 616 and in 2018, 619, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data.

Projections provided to the federal government by state and local officials estimate that 635 pedestrian fatalities in the state next year, 657 in 2021 and 680 in 2022.

The trend mirrors pedestrian fatality statistics in other states around the country. Last year, the national pedestrian death toll reached its highest level since 1990, and 25 states are projected to see even more carnage in 2019, according to data compiled by the advocacy groups.

Ten years ago, 4,109 pedestrians died in the United States. The number has risen virtually every year since, and last year, the death toll was up 3.4 percent to 6,283. Pedestrian fatalities in urban areas are up 69 percent over the last 10 years.

Walking around Fort Worth, or for that matter most of the heavily urbanized parts of Texas, has become more and more dangerous — and often fatal. And it could get worse.

BIGGER CARS, DISTRACTED DRIVERS

While there is no single agreed-upon reason for the rise in pedestrian deaths nationwide, experts routinely cite a number of factors, including distracted drivers, larger vehicles and more people walking and bicycling in urban areas.

Te Texas transportation department cites as reasons for the trend “the state’s improved economic conditions, oil and gas industry-related traffic volume, population growth in the entire state, lower gas prices, increases in non-motorized modes of transportation, and expected increases in miles driven and speed.”

While the federal government has long spent hundreds of millions of dollars to promote safety — the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a budget of nearly $1 billion — Congress created a new “national priority” program in December 2015 to direct money to states specifically to promote pedestrian and bicycle safety.

But critics charge that the program and others aimed at making roads, intersections and driver behavior safer for pedestrians are underfunded, while most of the transportation-related money goes to road and bridge construction and repair.

Beth Osborne, director of Transportation for America, a nonpartisan advocacy group, calls the zeal for road building a “culture that’s so strong, so deep…it’s hard to overcome.”

A report revealed that Texas had one of the highest rates of pedestrian fatalities in the United States.The local media report on pedestrian accidents on a regular basis.

This focus has been over a decade in the making as pedestrian accidents rise every year.

What has caused the rise in pedestrian accidents?

These factors have led to a dramatic increase in deaths and serious injuries:

  • More people are walking and driving
  • More people are driving trucks and SUVs
  • More people walk and drive using a smartphone
  • The population has increased
  • Lower fuel prices and poor economic conditions has led to the increase

 

Frequently Asked Questions

How is fault determined?

If someone is walking across a road, along a road, or in a parking lot and is crashed into, a driver may have violated the law and can be held liable.

But right of way can be a confusing subject in Texas. The Transportation Code in Section 522 has a conflicting list of the responsibilities of the driver and pedestrian.

A pedestrian can have the right of way, subject to various restrictions. A person can cross a street with a green traffic light. He must yield to oncoming traffic. OK, that’s common sense. We see cases where someone tried to beat oncoming traffic. Further, walkers must always use sidewalks when available, walk on the right side of the road, and take caution for their own safety.

On the other hand, drivers are required to exercise care and not crash their vehicles into walkers.

Therefore, both parties can be at fault. Texas follows the modified comparative negligence formula which divides the available proceeds by the negligence of each party.

How does a pedestrian prove his case?

It may be difficult, as he will be seriously injured and unable to move, but proving who had the right of way immediately after the crash is critical.

The pedestrian will want to obtain photographs, witness statements, police report, and cell phone records (if the driver was texting while driving or using his phone, which may explain why he didn’t see the person walking). An inspection of markings on the car, skid marks, and other evidence can also make or break the case.

These cases can be difficult unless handled correctly from the start. A good personal injury lawyer can be the key to winning or losing the case.

What damages are available?

The driver will hopefully have liability insurance in an amount that is enough to pay for the damages for medical bills, lost wages and damage to a career, pain and suffering, impairment, and disfigurement.

Each case depends on the specific facts. I analyze 62 variables before deciding a range of settlement or jury verdict values in a car, truck, pedestrian, or motorcycle accident case and will discuss what I believe your case may be worth. There is no simplistic formula like “three times medical bills” and online calculators are inaccurate.

In addition, the injured walker can also recover money from his own policy in certain circumstances. Hit and run cases can also be sent to the state’s Crime Victims Fund.

Will I have to go to court?

It depends. Most claims, up to a reported 99%, settle out of court. A pedestrian accident lawyer can usually help you get a good out of court settlement offer by filing a claim with the driver’s liability insurance company. Depending upon the facts of your case, the amount may be satisfactory to you.

If it is not, you can file a lawsuit and take your case in front of a jury and its members will decide how much damages to award you.

Either way, the driver’s insurance company will pay you, unless he is wealthy or a commercial enterprise’s vehicle was involved. A lawsuit may be the best way to efficiently learn all of these answers, especially if a death occurred.

Rules of Compensation

There are some simple rules in Texas that we follow regarding the amount of compensation you can get. Texas is a state that uses modified comparative negligence. You can get barred from receiving compensation if you are found to be more than 50% at fault for the accident. This might happen if you really didn’t look both ways and walked into moving traffic. Most likely, that’s not the case. If you are at fault for less than 50%, you won’t be barred from compensation, but you will have your award reduced. This might happen if you crossed somewhere that there wasn’t a designated crosswalk, but the driver of the car that hit you was being careless. In these cases, it’s down to math. If you were awarded $100,000 and deemed to be 10% at fault, then you can collect $90,000 of the award. Now, if you were deemed 0% at fault for the accident because the driver was perhaps on their cellphone and should have stopped for you, then you do not have to worry about any reduction to your compensation.

Dealing with the Insurance Company

The ones who have a role in pointing blame at you is the liable party’s insurance company. They have a job to protect their own interests, which is saving money. They will try their very best to reduce or eliminate your claim. If they call you shortly after the accident asking for a statement about the accident. If you value your claim, you should not give them any details about what happened. They aren’t actually trying to be helpful. They are trying to trip you up and get you to say something that would give them a reason to withhold the compensation that you fully deserve. When they call you, tell them that they can ask the questions they need to through your attorney.

Steps to Take Before Filing

Getting to a doctor is so important after the accident. You might not have a choice if you were knocked unconscious and taken on an ambulance. If you need emergency medical attention, you should be seeking it as soon as you’re able to. If you try to brush off some of your pain, you run the risk of worsening your condition. Also, if you avoid going to the doctor, the insurance company will try to say that you couldn’t possibly be that injured and that you do not deserve compensation for your injuries. Therefore, it is the most important thing you need to do for yourself and for your case if you want it to be successful.

It is just as important to hire an attorney who knows what they are doing. At the scene of the accident, you need to collect evidence. If you’re too injured to do it yourself, then your attorney can do it for you. Photos need to be taken of the scene and the debris from the collision. Contact information needs to be gather from witnesses and the driver who hit you. That can all be done with the help of your attorney.

What Do I Do After My Accident?

The first you should do after a pedestrian accident is go seek medical treatment immediately and follow the doctor’s orders. That gives you the best chance at recovery, hopefully a full recovery. The next thing you need to do is hire an attorney immediately. Part of the role of an attorney is to act as a detective and investigator and collect all the evidence. Evidence disappears and trails go cold. The attorney needs to find witnesses and talk to them as soon as possible.

Lastly, you need to hire the right attorney. The right attorney is a person who focuses primarily on personal injury litigation. If they don’t focus on personal injury litigation, then they might not know everything with regards to the law. Beyond that, it’s important to hire someone who’s a trial attorney. A trial attorney is someone who prepares every case as if they’re going to trial.

Should I Talk to the Insurance Company?

There are two big mistakes that happen time and time again when dealing with insurance companies.

The first mistake is that people give a recorded statement. They think that they’re cooperating with the insurance company and that the insurance company will treat them fairly, but that’s wrong. The instance company is not going to share other people’s recorded statements with you. The only thing they’re doing is they’re trying to limit their exposure and trap you in the recorded statement to say anything that can hurt your claim.

The next big mistake that is when people take the first offer, when it’s almost always negotiable. More than that, the first offer is a lowball. The insurance company is seeing if they can get away with paying you way less money than you deserve, money that does not fairly compensate you for your injuries.

What Mistakes Should I Avoid?

The first mistake that people make after a pedestrian accident is they delay in seeking medical treatment. Closely related to that is they don’t follow the doctor’s orders. It’s very important to seek medical treatment and follow the doctor’s orders so you can recover to the best of your ability. If you delay or you don’t follow the doctor’s orders, you’re not going to recover as much as you would have otherwise.

The next mistake people make is they give a recorded statement to the insurance company. Insurance adjusters are there not to give you fair and just compensation for your claims, but to limit the exposure and pay as little as possible. Related to that, a common mistake people make is they delay in hiring an attorney. When you hire an attorney, that attorney can investigate the pedestrian accident right away and can help prepare you for a recorded statement.

Related to that, a common mistake people make is they don’t hire the right attorney. People need to hire an attorney who specializes in personal injury law and has experience in pedestrian accidents specifically. Pedestrian accidents are different than other accidents. Every case is unique. Also, the attorney needs to be a trial attorney. That way, your case is being worked on as if it’s going to trial the whole time. If that happens, you’re more likely to get a fair settlement offer from the insurance company without going to trial. If you do have to go to trial, then you’re represented by someone who’s used to going to trial.

How Much is My Case Worth?

Unfortunately, at the beginning of a pedestrian case, we won’t know the value of your case. As a general rule of thumb, the more serious your injuries, the more your case is worth. However, we don’t know the extent of your injuries until you’re done with medical treatment.

There are a few different types of compensation you can receive for personal injury claims in Texas. This includes past and future lost wages, past and future pain and suffering, and past and future medical costs.

The first thing that has to happen to resolve your case is you need to complete your medical treatment or get to a stage in your medical treatment where we are sure what the extent of your injuries are. Once we know the extent of your injuries and what happened, we can submit a demand to the insurance company outlining all the facts and ask for fair and just compensation.  After we submit the demand, they have a few weeks to respond. If they respond and it’s something that we can work with, we negotiate and we try to get your case resolved right then. Unfortunately, most of the time that doesn’t happen and we have to file a lawsuit.

 

Extent of injuries 

The extent of your injuries may determine the amount you can claim against the driver’s insurance company. Serious injuries can alter your life and drastically reduce your standard of living and may increase the amount you can recover.

Cost Of medical treatment 

You may incur a wide range of medical bills including ER visits, surgical procedures, medication, disability devices, physical therapy, doctor visits, or other types of medical treatment. These damages may be included in your case value.

Loss Of income

An injury can put you out of work for several days or even months. You may struggle financially during recovery. A permanent injury will affect your capacity to earn an income or save for retirement. The amount of wages or income potential you lose can affect the value of your pedestrian case.

Non-economic damages

You may be able to claim other types of damages, including physical pain and suffering, loss of consortium, disfigurement, a lower standard of living, or other non-economic damages. If these damages apply to your case, it can affect the amount may be able to recover.

Determining The Outcome Of An Insurance Settlement

In a pedestrian accident, you will likely negotiate a settlement with the driver’s insurance company. The outcome of the settlement will rest on three main factors:

Liability For The Accident

You must establish the driver was at fault for causing the accident and your subsequent injuries. To negotiate a settlement with the insurance company, you must provide evidence to prove fault and liability.

How The Driver Caused The Accident

Whether the driver was negligent, distracted, under the influence of a substance (DWI accident), or was driving recklessly affects the outcome of the settlement.

New Car Safety Technology May Help Keep Pedestrians Safe

 The report noted that the emergence of new safety technologies in vehicles could dramatically reduce pedestrian accidents.  This new vehicle technology is called pedestrian automatic emergency braking systems (PAEB) and it has the potential to make pedestrian deaths a rare event. Vehicles equipped with PAEB have sophisticated sensors that will automatically brake anytime a pedestrian is about to be hit. There are different types of PAEBs, but they all utilize some type of forward-looking sensors. Some PAEB sensors use motion or sensory cameras, while other systems are equipped with cameras and radar sensors.  PAEBs are proving to be highly effective and reliable and the NHTSA is now strongly endorsing them in new vehicles.

BUMPERS WITH BETTER INSULATION?

In Washington, House leaders are crafting legislation now that House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat, said would revamp the safety initiatives. “I think we pretty much know what we need to do,” he said.

DeFazio cited efforts that have proven effective, such as “bike boxes,” special areas at the head of a traffic lane that allow motorists to see the bicycles ahead of them.

Kildare cited European strategies, which include pedestrian impact protection systems that would provide more bumper insulation or more space under the hood and pedestrian collision avoidance systems that could stop or slow a vehicle before impact.

Such systems are designed to soften the blows pedestrians get when a vehicle hits them or prevent the collision entirely.

Kildare noted that such systems would provide help regardless of the road design. “While we believe roadway improvements are necessary,” he said, “the vehicle based technology would be a great start to addressing the problem.”

In Texas, the state transportation department plans to dedicate an additional $600 million in state funds for safety improvements along state roadways. Among its initiatives:

  • Widen roads.
  • Add rumble strips along more center lines and shoulders to help drivers.
  • Add and reinforce shoulders along various roadways.
  • Add select turn lanes.
  • Implement technology improvements to help make the system safer.

The federal government has a wide range of programs aimed at making roads safer. The four-year-old special pedestrian and bicycle safety promotion program is authorized to spend $70 million over a five year period that ends in the next fiscal year. So far it’s spent $42 million. Experts say the programs need more funding.

“$70 million nationally is a pretty insignificant amount of funding, in fact I’d say a very insignificant amount of funding,” DeFazio said. “A major city could easily spend a heck of a lot more than that reconfiguring bike lanes, pedestrian crossings, signalization and all that.”

The federal transportation budget approved this week by the Senate Appropriations Committee would provide $49 billion in highway aid during the current fiscal year. Its House counterpart approved roughly the same amount, as well as $1 billion for the safety administration. The overall transportation budget also includes other safety-related funding.

The federal 2015 pedestrian and bicycle program was designed to allow states to focus on the growing problem, but safety advocates see it as too limited in what it can do. States can only use the money for a certain number of activities, such as training law enforcement officials about pedestrian and bicycle laws and public education programs.

 

 

If you have been hit by a car while walking and are suffering from severe injuries, you may be eligible to file a pedestrian accident claim. Our experienced Texas pedestrian accident lawyer can take on your case and fight to get you the compensation you deserve. We are sorry that you have to deal with these injuries that could have been prevented. If you have a lot of medical bills, are missing time at work, and can’t enjoy your life because of the accident, please call our office today for a free initial consultation

We can help you

Pedestrian accidents are frightening and painful. If you or a loved one were hit by a car as a pedestrian, you are entitled to be paid back for your damages.

I have handled pedestrian cases since I started practicing as a personal injury lawyer in Fort Worth in 1980.

I work even harder on these cases because I bicycle, run and walk on them trying to stay fit as I get older. I am all too aware how dangerous it is out there.

Contact Our Office Today

When you are injured in a pedestrian accident, it can stir up a lot of trouble in your life. You might not be able to return to normal day-to-day life and that can be hard on you and your family. We will do everything I can to get you the most compensation possible. Please call Austin pedestrian accident lawyer Daniel Smith today for a free consultation. We will be glad to take your call and go over your case in detail so that you feel supported and educated about your case.

 

Please call us at 1-888-801-8585 or click here. We will meet with you at no charge and advise how we can help get you the compensation you deserve.

For more information:

 

 

Share This Post