I was saddened to read that Floyd Jones, a 60 year old resident of south Fort Worth, tragically lost his life Monday night when he was hit by a vehicle as he was walking around his neighborhood.
The collision occurred about 6:30 p.m. in the 500 block of Garden Acres Drive in Fort Worth near I 35.
A motorist told police that she was driving eastbound when she slowed down for a speed bump and heard something hit a passenger side mirror. She told officers that she saw a “flash of red,” stopped her vehicle and saw the victim laying in the ditch.
Without knowing more, I cannot tell whether the driver or pedestrian is at fault. Perhaps the driver was driving carelessly or was distracted as she talked on her cell phone. Or perhaps the man was wearing dark clothing or walked suddenly across the road and she could not have avoided hitting him. Perhaps both were partially at fault. It hardly seems to matter now.
In any event, I urge motorists to drive slower in residential neighborhoods and use utmost caution.
Here are some questions and answers to pedestrians and their families who may have been injured:
I’ve been hurt in a pedestrian accident and I want to file a claim for my injuries. What’s the first thing I should do?
There are a number of things you can do in the first few days and weeks after an accident to protect your right to compensation, such as: (1) write down as much as you can about the accident itself, your injuries and any other losses (such as wages) you’ve suffered as a result of the accident; (2) make notes of conversations that you have with people involved in the accident or the injury claim; (3) preserve evidence of who caused the accident and what damage was done by collecting physical items and taking photographs; (4) locate people who witnessed the accident and who might be able to help you prove your case; (5) notify anyone you think might be responsible for the accident and tell them about your intention to file a claim for your injuries, especially if a government agency or employee may be involved; and 6) contact a personal injury attorney to evaluate and pursue your claim.
What if I was partially at fault for the accident?
You may bear some responsibility for the accident, which may reduce your eventual recovery. For example, if you were 50% at fault, your recovery may be reduced by 50%.
As a pedestrian, what duty is placed upon me to avoid accidents?
Every pedestrian has the duty to obey traffic laws and to reasonably observe traffic conditions. Generally speaking, pedestrians should not begin or continue their forward course across a street if they are aware of the approach of a vehicle.
How soon after I am injured do I have to file a lawsuit?
Every state has certain time limits called “statutes of limitations,” which govern the amount of time you have to file a personal injury lawsuit. In Texas, you generally have two years to file a lawsuit.
What damages are recoverable in pedestrian accident cases?
The injured party may recover damages for past and future medical expenses, past and future wage loss, past and future pain and suffering. If the defendant’s conduct is extreme, punitive damages may be awarded. If the pedestrian dies, his or her survivors are entitled to recover full compensation for their economic losses that result from the pedestrian’s death, as well as damages which stem from the loss of society care and comfort of the decedent.
Do I need to retain an attorney?
It is almost always a good idea to retain an attorney in a pedestrian accident case because there usually will be some questions related to fault and comparative negligence. Expert witnesses may need to be retained to reconstruct the accident factors, and help determine responsibility for the accident.