March may be rushing in like a lion today, but soon it will be spring and more people will be outside walking. Maybe you and your spouse or friend will head down the street getting some exercise. Or maybe you’ll just be walking into the grocery store. Unfortunately, far too many people are being crashed into and seriously hurt. This post explains who is responsible if this should unfortunately happen to you or a family member, who pays for damages, and how a pedestrian hit by a car in Texas can win his case.
These are often very serious injury or even deadly cases. And they happen a lot. Last year this number rose by another four percent to the highest in the past 28 years. That’s shocking. This week, a driver hit a man standing on the side of the road in East Fort Worth, killing him, then fled and a drunk driver in the Houston area ran over a pedestrian in a crosswalk.
What would happen in that case or in any pedestrian injury case? To collect financial damages, there are three main questions that have to be answered in any personal injury claim:
- who is at fault?
- what are the injured person’s damages?
- who pays this money?
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.
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.
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.
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