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Pedestrian Injury Rate Soaring in Texas

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This is probably the best walking photograph of all time. Maybe some of us Baby Boomers have this etched into our brains as we have been trying to get some exercise during the unending pandemic. But just crossing the street should not be the cause of a pedestrian injury.

Unfortunately, this is more common every year. In 2019, 668 Texans and 6,227 Americans lost their lives when they were on foot, the highest numbers in three decades. One would have been too many.

Read: Pedestrian deaths in Texas alarming

Two weeks ago in east Fort Worth, a woman crossing the street was killed and a man was critically injured when a SUV ran a red light.

Stories like this where walkers and cyclists are hit by vehicles should not become routine.

What has caused the pedestrian injury spike?

  1. Cell phones: it seems like half of the people around you when you drive are talking on their phones and even texting while driving. Distracting driving is a major reason for the elevated number of all collisions.
  2. Larger vehicles: over one-half of new purchases are for pickup trucks and SUVs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. They are so much larger with such bigger engines that they are guaranteed to inflict worse injuries on a person not protected by a vehicle. That is despite new-fangled safety enhancements like back-up cameras and motion detectors, because many drivers can’t keep their eyes on the road with all the distractions. And their cell phones.
  3. Bad drivers: coupled with the above, if you add rampant speeding, reckless driving, and intoxication, a pedestrian injury is far more likely.
  4. Poor planning and infrastructure: these include insufficient or nonexistent walking trails and dedicated bike/walking lanes, badly designed cross walks, poorly timed crossing signals and traffic lights, and insufficient public transportation.
  5. Pedestrian error: Of course, sometimes the person who is walking or cycling is at fault. They may be in the road. Or they may have failed to abide by right of way laws contained in the Texas Transportation Code, Section 522. This problem is compounded if they were distracted by music on headphones and did not hear oncoming vehicles, were zoned out, and were reading and even texting while walking. This man walking his dog is next to a paved path to his left.

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How to win a pedestrian vs. vehicle case

In a motor vehicle collision collision, the key is establishing which person had the right of way. A fast and thorough investigation is required to prove liability. Photographs and video, diagrams, eyewitness statements, cell phone records, and other evidence can make or break the case.

Texas uses the modified comparative negligence standard. That compares the liability of all parties involved and divides the damages accordingly. More than one person can be found to be at fault by a jury.

For example, if the injured pedestrian was not to blame, the vehicle driver will be found to be 100% at fault and all damages will be paid to the victim. However, if it is shown that the person walking was 30% to blame, they lose that amount of the proceeds, and if they are 51% liable, they recover nothing.

There are complicating factors that need to be analyzed including the timing of traffic lights and existence of crosswalks, other vehicles, poor weather, and obstructions to vision.

These cases often have to go to court to be successfully resolved. If there was a wrongful death, litigation is essential unless the insurance companies agree to tender all available proceeds. We just resolved the case for a man seriously injured as he was walking beside an interstate late at night for maximum value.

More information about how to proceed can be found here.

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How to avoid a pedestrian injury

You never think a car or truck is going to hit you as you are walking until it does. Here are some things you must do to prevent this from happening:

  • Maintain constant vigilance and walk defensively;
  • Wear high visible clothes, especially in the early morning and late afternoon hours when drivers are dashing to and from work;
  • Don’t wear headphones in both ears – or at all;
  • Don’t run stop signs and lights if you are cycling; and
  • Don’t walk and read your cell phone

Cases we are handling 

Our law firm just filed a lawsuit on behalf of a man who was seriously injured when his truck was rear-ended by an extremely intoxicated driver. That caused his truck to flip over and land on a man who was working outside, tragically taking his life.

We just settled a major case for a man seriously injured as he walked next to an interstate highway late at night. We are representing a young man struck as he crossed the street to catch his school bus, a woman paralyzed after she was hit by a vehicle in north Fort Worth, and several other pedestrians.

We have handled pedestrian and bicyclist injury cases over the past 40 years.

Berenson Injury Law can help you

Mr. Berenson runs, walks, and cycles on our roads and understands the dangers involved. He strongly recommends that Fort Worth residents use the wonderful Trinity Trail network. Here is a photo where it goes by his building for the last 37 years (his firm’s offices can be seen near the top).

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Other cities in North Texas also have good options including the White Rock Lake trails in Dallas, River Legacy Park in Arlington, and other off-road paths where you are guaranteed to be safer.

Mr. Berenson is involved in groups working to make our streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists by

Please call us at 1-888-801-8585 or click here to chat if you have been injured in any type of motor vehicle collision. We will answer all of your questions and tell you what your best legal options are at no charge for the first consultation.

Please stay safe out there during these difficult times.
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