Motor vehicle accidents don’t always involve two or more motor vehicles, sometimes injuries are sustained when a car, truck, or motorcycle strikes an innocent pedestrian. A pedestrian struck by a motor vehicle can result in devastating injuries or death. The following information was written to help you understand the facts regarding these types of accidents and what to do in the event you’re struck by a motor vehicle while out walking or riding your bicycle.
How often do these types of accidents occur?
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, Pedestrian deaths are continuing to rise in Texas and now account for one in five of all traffic fatalities. In 2021, there were 5,370 crashes involving pedestrians in our state, resulting in 843 deaths, a 15 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities over the previous year. Another 1,467 people were seriously injured.
Pedestrians are among the most vulnerable road users because they aren’t equipped with protective equipment such as airbags, seat belts, and bumpers. All of us share a responsibility to follow the rules of the road and bring the number of pedestrian fatalities to zero. TxDOT offers the safety tips below to prevent a deadly encounter.
Data provided by the Federal Highway Administration shows that each year, pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities make up roughly 19 percent of all traffic fatalities with approximately 6,000 pedestrian deaths and 850 bicyclist deaths. Another 76,000 pedestrians and 47,000 bicyclists are injured in roadway crashes annually.
The fact is that far too many people suffer unnecessary injury due to the negligent driving of others. We all need to do our part to watch out for pedestrians on the road.
Why do these accidents happen?
There are a number of factors that can lead to vehicle-pedestrian accidents. Sometimes it can be the fault of the pedestrian themselves if they do not adhere to street signs or attempt to cross the street without yielding to motorists who may have the right-of-way. However, far more accidents are the result of the following:
- Drivers failing to yield to pedestrians
- On most public roads, pedestrians have the right-of-way. This is especially true in school zones and other areas where foot traffic is heavy.
- Driving while impaired
- Driving while intoxicated, using drugs, or even while drowsy is a sure way to cause an accident.
- Not paying attention to the road
- Whether it’s the radio, makeup, or a cell phone, paying attention to common distractions or taking your eyes off the road for a second can have dire consequences.
- The simple answer to this is to abide by posted speed limits, especially if you’re traveling in a populated area or on a road you haven’t travelled before.
- Inclement Weather Conditions
- Wet or icy roads drastically increase the chance of an accident. Take it slow and adjust your driving to accommodate the weather and subsequent road conditions.
Places where you should drive with caution
Chances are you won’t encounter a pedestrian walking down the middle of the highway. (But you never know.) However, there are locations you should recognize as being more populated than others. Some of these include:
- Shopping Centers
- It’s a given when traveling through a shopping center that you’re going to encounter a substantial number of people coming and going from the surrounding buildings.
- Sporting Events
- Sporting events are another location where you will find large numbers of people gathered.
- Residential Streets
- Both kids and adults often ride their bikes down residential streets. Animals can also dart out between parked cars requiring you to make quick adjustments to your driving.
- Parking Lots
- As with shopping centers, any parking lot is going to be filled with people walking to and from their vehicles.
- Schools & Crosswalks
- Always watch out for children and be cautious when passing stopped buses or other vehicles. Download Your Texas Safe Routes to School Toolkit
Understanding your rights
Section 552 of the Texas Transportation Code spells out the “Rules of the Road” as they relate to pedestrians. This chapter provides information concerning the following and more:
- PEDESTRIAN RIGHT-OF-WAY IF CONTROL SIGNAL PRESENT
- PEDESTRIAN RIGHT-OF-WAY AT CROSSWALKS
- PEDESTRIAN USE OF SIDEWALKS
- SOLICITATION BY PEDESTRIANS
- ORDINANCES RELATING TO PEDESTRIANS
The City of Austin has also published an informative booklet titled “Pedestrian Safety and the Law” which offers information about what every driver and pedestrian should know about pedestrian laws and safe behaviors.
Who determines negligence
Texas is a modified comparative negligence state, meaning fault can be apportioned between parties whose negligence contributes to the accident. Under the Texas comparative negligence rule, an injured party can still recover compensation from other at-fault parties if the injured party is less than 51 percent at fault.
In order to file an insurance claim, lawsuit, or receive compensation for an injury caused by the driver of a motor vehicle, you must show that it was the fault of the driver who caused the accident which resulted in your injuries. This mean you must show negligence. If the driver of a car, truck, or motorcycle is operating their motor vehicle in a negligent manner (ie. speeding) or exhibiting behavior while driving (ie. eating, putting on makeup, etc.) and hits a pedestrian, the driver will likely be found negligent.
If you’ve been injured, contact an experienced Dallas personal injury attorney
Named one of the “Best Car Accident Lawyers in Dallas” by Expertise.com, Brian Brunson is Texas personal injury lawyer who is dedicated to helping clients who have suffered a car, truck, or motorcycle injury through the negligent or wrongful conduct of other drivers. In addition, his professionalism is unmatched and the firms’ client reviews speak for themselves.
We proudly serve the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and surrounding areas, our office supports the legal needs of a wide variety of clients. Let the Law Office of Brian Brunson be your advocate in your time of need and help you put your life back together. If we can’t win or settle your case, you don’t pay a dime! We know it can be daunting to take that first step after you’ve been hurt. Contact Brian Brunson today via email or call us toll-free at 1-844-41-WRECK. We can help, when no one else will.