Texas pedestrian injuries and deaths have reached all-time highs. Sunday morning’s tragedy on Interstate 20 in Fort Worth was just the latest. Two young women tragically lost their lives and a man was injured after they were in a collision at 2:30 a.m. near McCart Avenue.
The three had started to walk on the right shoulder to get assistance when they were crashed into. The police identified the victims as Isabel Vasquez, 20, and Allison Zarate, 12. We extend our sincere condolences to the families and have made a donation to their GoFundMe account.
Last week, a man walking in the 8200 block of Calmont Avenue in west Fort Worth was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver.
That same night, a woman died in Grapevine on State Highway 121 in another hit-and-run crash.
This news is devastating for the families of the victims. And the death of a child is one of the worst tragedies someone can ever go through – particularly when a careless driver is at fault and doesn’t even stop to call an ambulance.
I hope these families can hold the negligent drivers responsible.
Texas pedestrian injuries happen far too often
Last year in Texas, 717 pedestrians lost their lives. This was a huge 8.5% increase over the year before. There were more than 5,000 collisions where people who were walking were hit by a vehicle.
Yes, our population Texas is booming and there are more drivers and walkers all the time.
And yes, this is a national problem. Our country’s pedestrian death rate reached its highest level ever last year — during the pandemic when far less people were driving.
But just because your car breaks down or you want to get a little exercise and you are obeying traffic laws, your life should not be at risk.
How does Texas law determine who is at fault?
Is the driver or the walker liable? Can other parties or factors also be totally or partially responsible? This subject, like many others in personal injury law, can be difficult to resolve. That is because the Texas Transportation Code section which regulates this area is brief and vague.
Depending on the facts, both parties can be at fault. For example, the driver may have been texting and driving but the pedestrian may have suddenly crossed the road in front of them. Many of these crashes happen at night.
Texas employs a legal concept called modified comparative negligence that weighs the carelessness of all parties.
If the person on foot is found to be 25% at fault, their (or their survivors) court verdict is reduced by that amount. So $100,000 is cut to $75,000. And if they are 51% or more negligent, they receive no money since they effectively caused their own injuries.
How to win Texas pedestrian injuries cases
The victim (or their family) needs to take immediate action to prove the pedestrian injury case. They need to make sure that no negligence is assigned to his or her claim for compensation.
That must start immediately at the scene. The pedestrian, family, or friends should obtain all available evidence.
That includes statements (hopefully videotaped) from him/her and from eyewitnesses. Photographs of the vehicle and the road are crucial. The point of impact, markings on the vehicle and road, sequence of traffic lights, skid marks, obstructions to vision, and other factors will make or break the case.
The findings of the investigating police officer will be highly relied upon. The officer may testify at trial or a deposition and will rely on their report.
My staff gets police reports for our clients at no charge as soon as we are hired and attempt to talk to the officer to obtain more information.
We also go to the scene and attempt to reconstruct what happened and comb the scene for evidence, with an expert if necessary.
The sooner the victim of Texas pedestrian injuries hires a personal injury lawyer, the better. There is no time to lose.
For more on this topic: Proving liability in a Fort Worth car accident
Damages that are available
Being hit by a car or truck can be devastating or deadly. The amount of medical bills can be substantial.
We have had cases where our client was hospitalized for weeks. The ambulance, hospital, and surgery expenses can cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. There may not be health insurance. If there is, it may refuse to pay, only pay some of the bills, or demand reimbursement.
In addition, the pedestrian could have an enormous claim for lost wages and job benefits. They may lose their jobs or career advancement. The pedestrian can also sustain damages for disability, disfigurement, impairment, and pain and suffering.
The other driver’s liability insurance policy, the pedestrian’s policies, and other resources may be sufficient to pay my client’s damages.
However, if a favorable settlement cannot be reached, the damages are enormous, or a commercial vehicle caused the wreck, we file a lawsuit.
Berenson Injury Law can help you
These cases can be difficult unless handled correctly from the start. Hiring a good personal injury lawyer is the key to winning Texas pedestrian injuries cases.
I have handled many of these cases since I started practicing as a car accident lawyer in Fort Worth in 1980.
As an example, I recently represented a young man who was walking home from his job late at night. He was on the shoulder of an interstate but was walking with his back to oncoming traffic (in violation of Texas law).He was hit by another young man who was driving an oversized truck. He stopped, examined my client lying unconscious in the road, and hit-and-ran. He was later apprehended when he took his truck to a repair shop. His insurance company initially tried to evade payment.
My client had to have major surgery to his right leg. I forced the other driver’s insurance company to pay the total available of $100,000. Then I was able to substantially reduce his Medicaid lien and medical bills. After medical bills, fees, and expenses, he received $50,000. My client gave my office a 5-star review on Google and graciously wrote:
“Berenson Injury Law is without a doubt worth every penny. They are hands down one of the best law firms . . . an absolute 10 out of 10.”
I hate that there are so many reckless and careless drivers on our roads. I fight for my clients so that they can get the highest amount of money.