For the past ten years, many pedestrians in the United States have died from car accidents. In Houston, pedestrian deaths and those who have incurred injuries have doubled to a shocking rate at 125%.
Based on a book by Angie Schmitt, the crisis of pedestrian injuries and fatalities in America are not random occurrences.
Accordingly, most deaths happen at night on wide and fast arterial roads, especially in lower-income neighborhoods, and by large trucks and SUVs. Those killed and injured were primarily people of age.
In Houston, Texas, the epidemic of pedestrian accidents is all too real.
In 2019, 119 pedestrians were involved in car accidents in Harris Country — a stark increase of 120% since 2009, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data.
Meanwhile, in Houston, Texas, 81 pedestrians died. This number was a 125% increase from a decade ago. It is also the highest number of deaths in any year spanning 15 years, specifically from 2005-2019.
In several studies, the risk and vulnerability of pedestrians to car accidents have increased because certain streets are designed to kill.
Some streets have no traffic lights or crosswalks. There were just different lanes of indifferent traffic.
Aside from the long, straight, and wide arterial roads with high-speed limits, these roads are located in residential and commercial areas which people on foot or in a wheelchair want to reach. These roads are, after all, a dangerous combination of circumstances for pedestrians.
What are the chances for pedestrians to get involved in car accidents? You know it.
If you have been injured while walking in Houston, Texas, the best course of action is to find an expert car accident attorney to help you deal with your situation and find legal remedies to alleviate your suffering.
Read on to learn everything you may need about car accidents involving pedestrians.
Right of Way in Houston, TX
Right of way is a simple concept that is at the heart of every traffic rule and regulation. It is a legal right to occupy a particular space on the road or a sidewalk at a given time.
If a driver or pedestrian disrupts the system, it creates a chain reaction and results in vehicle collisions which may or may not involve people walking on the road. In worst-case scenarios, car accidents can cause life-altering injuries and even death of pedestrians.
That pedestrians always have the right of way is a myth that has spanned generations.
If you have this mindset up to the present day, change it because your complacency will be the one to get you involved in a car accident.
Take note of the laws which apply to you as a pedestrian.
According to the Texas Transportation Code, drivers are required to yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians in specific instances, such as when driving left, when going right, when merging onto a paved road from an unpaved one, when returning to the roadway, when approaching to main roads, such as private roads, alleys, and other more minor roads, when driving in marked or unmarked crosswalks, when intersections have no signals, at four-way intersections and at ‘T’ intersections.
However, there are also cases where pedestrians must yield the right of way to motor vehicle drivers who have it to prevent car accidents. These situations are when:
- A pedestrian walks to an intersection with either a steady yellow or red signal.
- A pedestrian suddenly proceeds into a crosswalk while there is an incoming vehicle without any possibility for the driver to yield.
- A pedestrian encounters “Don’t Walk” or “Wait” signs at an intersection.
- A pedestrian crosses the street where a pedestrian overhead crossing is available.
- A pedestrian tries to cross an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.
- A pedestrian is in uncontrolled intersections.
- A pedestrian is approaching an intersection with one or more lanes.
- A pedestrian is approaching a ‘T’ intersection.
- A pedestrian arrives at an intersection at the same time as another vehicle.
Under Texas law, remember that you can only walk on the side of the road where no adjacent sidewalk is available. Simply put, you must do so if you can use the sidewalk.
As a pedestrian, the key to protecting yourself from accidents with motor vehicles is to follow traffic signals closely, such as entirely stopping when the traffic light is red, proceeding when the light is green, and even when making a right or left turn at intersections.
It is up to you to keep yourself safe while walking on the road, so never assume that drivers will follow the rules of the road.
More often than not, it is better to let the driver go first and have the road. Even if you have the right of way, you should always use caution when crossing streets or sidewalks. Being humble on the road is the safest approach to avoiding accidents.
Remember that even though you do not always have the right of way, drivers must exercise reasonable diligence to avoid car accidents involving pedestrians.
Knowing whether you have the right of way is vital because this can primarily affect your compensation.
If it is proven that you contributed negligence to the accident, you may be entitled to a lesser compensation or not be entitled to any dime at all. However, if the driver is solely at-fault, you are entitled to the maximum compensation based on your injuries and any of your injury-related expenses.
By understanding and following the rules of right of way, drivers and pedestrians can help ensure that everyone on the road remains safe from motor vehicle accidents.
Potential Claims of a Pedestrian
Pedestrians have the right to seek claims for car accidents that involve them. Depending on the accident’s severity, pedestrians can claim bodily injury and damages. In some cases, they may also be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and benefits, loss of quality of life, and loss of consortium.
If you are a car accident victim, it is essential to understand what potential claims you may have in a car accident. Being knowledgeable of these claims can help you get compensated for your losses and suffering caused by the accident.
Here are the different types of claims you can make in case of a car accident and how you can file these claims.
If a driver hit you and caused you injuries, they may be liable for all injury-related medical expenses and even injuries that may have worsened due to the accident in some cases. This can include cuts, bruises, broken bones, head injuries, and even death.
In most cases, the medical expenses may be covered by the driver’s insurance policy. For example, if the driver has liability insurance, their insurance company may pay for your medical expenses. If the driver has insurance coverage that has a policy limit below the compensation that you may need or does not have insurance at all, your insurance company may compensate you for your injuries and any injury-related expenses if you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
Remember to keep track of all your medical expenses and retain a copy of the receipts to prove your claim to the insurance companies.
If a driver killed you or a loved one in a collision, they might be liable for your funeral expenses, loss of financial support to your surviving family members, and other damages.
In certain cases, the driver’s insurance policy may cover funeral expenses and loss of financial support. For instance, if the driver has liability insurance, their insurance company may compensate you or your surviving family members. Your insurance company may reimburse you or your family members if the driver is underinsured or uninsured.
In some instances, a driver may be ordered to pay you additional damages in the form of punitive damages as punishment for particularly reckless or punitive behavior. Punitive damages are a form of compensation that may be awarded to you in a car accident if the driver’s conduct shows negligence on his part. This kind of damage is intended to punish the driver and deter similar behavior in the future.
If a driver is found liable in a car accident involving you as a pedestrian, they may also be responsible for attorney’s fees and other legal fees which you spend out of pocket to file for a claim or case.
Find the Best Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, finding the best car accident lawyer is crucial to get the compensation you deserve. Whether you are a pedestrian or a driver in an automobile accident, an experienced car accident attorney can help you understand your rights and ensure justice is served.
With proper legal representation, you can be sure that your case is in safe hands.
Finding the best car accident attorney in Houston, Texas, will help you get the maximum compensation you need to regain your life.