Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Pearland TX
Walking down the street should not be thought of as a dangerous activity. But pedestrian accidents remain all too common in Texas. Motorists often ignore their duty to share the road with pedestrians, and the result is often serious and life-threatening injuries to people who were only trying to cross the street.
Obviously, pedestrians have no physical protection when it comes to being hit by a car or another motor vehicle. But if you have been hurt in such an accident, you can seek legal protection by filing a personal injury lawsuit. Pearland pedestrian accident lawyer Keith B. French is an experienced trial attorney who can pursue a claim on your behalf.
Is a Driver Always At-Fault for Hitting a Pedestrian in Texas?
You might assume that in a pedestrian accident the motorist is always considered at-fault. That is not how the law works. The plaintiff–the accident victim–still has to prove that the defendant driver was negligent in some way. While this is often easier in pedestrian accident cases than, say, a collision between two vehicles, this is still a burden of proof that must be met.
Basically, negligence requires proof that the driver violated some duty of care owed to pedestrians and other people on the road. This is often demonstrated by showing the defendant violated state and local traffic laws. For example, if a driver was speeding and hit a pedestrian in the crosswalk, that is usually an open-and-shut case of negligence. Similarly, a drunk or distracted driver who failed to keep a proper lookout for pedestrians is almost always found responsible for causing an accident.
That said, Texas follows a “comparative negligence” rule in personal injury cases. In simple terms, this means the defendant can argue that a pedestrian’s negligence contributed to or outright caused the accident. For instance, a driver might argue the pedestrian “suddenly darted out into traffic,” giving them no time to swerve and avoid a collision.
The good news is that even if the defense can prove the pedestrian was partially at-fault, the pedestrian can still recover some compensation in many cases. The Texas comparative fault rule reduces the defendant’s share of any damages to account for the plaintiff’s comparative fault. But the plaintiff is only barred from recovery if their fault is determined to be 51 percent or greater.
Most Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
A Pearland, TX pedestrian accident lawyer knows that there are actions by drivers that are frequently the cause of pedestrian accidents. One of the most common factors that shows up over and over again in pedestrian accident cases that the lawyers at Keith B. French Law, PLLC handle is the failure of drivers to pay attention to the road, especially when they are traveling in areas where there are a lot of pedestrians. The following are some of the most common actions – or lack of – by drivers in pedestrian accidents.
Failure to Obey a Stop Sign
Many drivers have had the experience where they are driving along and totally miss a stop sign, driving right through it. Now imagine that occurring just as a pedestrian is crossing the street.
Tragically, the failure of a driver to stop at a stop sign is the number one factor cited in pedestrian accidents. The injuries suffered by pedestrians in this scenario can be fatal. Even if the driver is operating at a lower speed, a pedestrian can still suffer serious injuries from the impact of a large vehicle smashing into them.
Failure to Yield to Pedestrians in a Crosswalk
The second most common reason for pedestrian accidents is the failure of drivers to yield the right of way to pedestrians who are in a crosswalk. Crosswalks are common in areas where there is high pedestrian traffic, such as near schools, parks, and other busy areas.
A Pearland pedestrian accident lawyer knows that Texas law says pedestrians have the right of way whenever there is a designated crosswalk. Unfortunately, many drivers either ignore or do not see the crosswalk, causing terrible injuries to victims.
Driving Under the Influence
Despite the fact it is against the law, despite all the education and warnings that are put out to the public, there are still people who insist on getting behind the wheel of their vehicle when they have been drinking, often resulting in horrific accidents. Many drunk drivers are totally oblivious to not only other vehicles they share the road with, but also oblivious to vulnerable pedestrians.
Another common cause of pedestrian accidents is driving while fatigued. This is especially true during morning or evening work commutes. Everyone is in a rush to either get to work or school in the a.m. hours or rushing to get home in the p.m. hours. A driver who has not had enough sleep is not always fully aware of everything that is going on around them on the road and could miss a person who is crossing the street in front of them. A Pearland pedestrian accident lawyer knows that another risk is a driver who falls asleep at the wheel and could end up jumping the sidewalk curb, hitting pedestrians.
Just like drunk driving, it appears no amount of warning will convince some drivers to put their devices down while they are driving and focus on the road. Texting, talking on the phone, playing with the radio, or talking to passengers are all activities that take the driver’s focus off the road where they may not see the pedestrian who has the right of way.
Contact Keith B. French Law Today
Compensation for a pedestrian accident is often substantial given to the lack of protection offered and catastrophic injuries sustained by the victims. In a successful personal injury claim, the injured pedestrian can receive economic damages for their medical bills, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket costs, in addition to non-economic damages for their pain and suffering. Punitive damages may also be available in certain cases involving especially reckless or egregious misconduct by a driver.
But before you take any action, your first step should be to speak with a qualified Pearland pedestrian accident lawyer. Contact Keith B. French Law, PLLC, today to schedule a free consultation.