Posted on behalf of Stephens, Anderson & Cummings on Sep 22, 2017 in Auto Accidents
In 2015, more than 5,000 pedestrians were killed in traffic collisions in the U.S., an average of one pedestrian death every 1.6 hours. Additionally, nearly 129,000 pedestrians received medical treatment for auto accident-related injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Pedestrian-related auto accidents are, unfortunately, very common and often result in significant injuries or death. Because of the serious nature of pedestrian-related auto accidents, it is in the victim's best interests to contact a skilled Fort Worth personal injury attorney.
At Stephens, Anderson & Cummings, we are dedicated to protecting accident victims’ rights and will provide you with a free, no obligation consultation to find out if you have a valid claim against the driver who struck you or your loved one.
How Can I Hold the Driver Liable?
To file a valid pedestrian-auto accident claim, you must be able to prove that the driver who hit you was negligent. However, four elements of negligence must have existed during the accident:
- The driver had a duty to ensure your safety
- The driver breached his or her duty
- The driver’s breach of duty directly caused your injuries
- You suffered damages
In Texas, motorists are required to follow the state’s traffic laws and refrain from engaging in reckless or distracting behavior, such as speeding or texting while driving.
Also, Texas’s right-of-way laws state that motorists are required to yield to pedestrians who are crossing the roadway at a designated crosswalk, according to Transportation Code Title 7 Chapter 552.
Additionally, motorists must yield the right of way to pedestrians at a crosswalk if there are no traffic control signals in operation and the pedestrian is:
- In the approaching vehicle’s lane; or
- Approaching so close from the other lane that he or she is in danger.
Our attorneys will thoroughly review the circumstances surrounding your pedestrian-auto accident claim to determine if the driver violated any of Texas’s traffic laws and is at fault for your injury.
How Do I Prove the Driver was At-Fault?
Although it may seem like a driver is at fault for a pedestrian-auto accident, you must have definitive proof that establishes his or her liability.
To prove the driver was at fault and liable for you damages, we will collect evidence that enables us to construct a valid case on your behalf, including:
- The police report taken at the accident scene
- Photographs of the street where the accident occurred
- Video surveillance footage of the accident, if available
- Eyewitness accounts of people who saw the accident
- Testimony from an accident reconstructionist who can determine how the collision occurred
What if I am Partially At Fault?
In some cases, both the pedestrian and the driver may have acted negligently and share some level of fault for causing the accident.
In Texas, liability for personal injury claims where both parties contributed some amount of negligence is determined by using comparative fault.
Under Texas’s comparative fault law, a court will examine the actions of each party involved in the accident and assign a percentage based on their level of fault. The amount of compensation the victim is seeking will then be reduced by this percentage.
For example, you may file a personal injury claim for $100,000 against a driver who struck you while you were crossing the roadway. However, a court finds that you were outside of a designated crosswalk when the accident occurred and are 40 percent at fault for your injuries. This means your claim will be reduced by 40 percent and the new maximum amount of compensation you can recover is $60,000.
However, if a court finds that your level of fault is more than 50 percent, you are no longer able to pursue compensation from the at-fault driver.
Our attorneys understand Texas’s comparative fault law and will use our knowledge and experience to help make sure you are not blamed for more than your true share of the fault.
How Can I Be Compensated for My Injuries?
If we are able to prove the driver is liable for the accident that caused your injuries, you may be entitled to recover compensation for:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages or income
- Loss of future earnings
- Cost of rehabilitation or in-home care
- Pain and suffering
- Mental distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Unfortunately, the injuries that a victim suffers during a pedestrian accident are severe and often result in his or her death. If you lost someone you love in a pedestrian-auto accident, we can explore the option of filing a wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver to pursue additional damages.
Additionally, a court can award punitive damages in a Texas personal injury claim if the at-fault driver acted especially reckless or malicious when causing the victim’s injuries. Punitive damages in Texas are capped and cannot exceed an amount of:
- Two times the amount of economic damages, plus an amount equal to the noneconomic damages awarded by the jury that cannot exceed $750,000; or
- $200,000, whichever amount is greater
However, punitive damages are not meant as a form of compensation, but rather as a type of monetary punishment against the at-fault party to deter others from behaving similarly.
Our attorneys will explore your options to recover compensation for your injuries and will assess your damages to accurately estimate the amount you may be owed.
Contact Our Attorneys for a Free Consultation
If you have been injured in a pedestrian-auto accident, you should seek medical attention immediately. Then, you should contact a skilled personal injury attorney for qualified legal help with your claim.
At Stephens, Anderson & Cummings, we will guide you through the claims process to help make sure your claim is accurately prepared and represented. We can discuss whether you have legal options available during a free, no obligation consultation. All of our services are provided on a contingency fee basis, which means you only have to pay us if we recover compensation for your claim.