Texas is known for many things but is not necessarily known as pedestrian-friendly. Crosswalks and sidewalks serve more as potential “yields” to most drivers rather than precautionary measures. As a result, many pedestrians are injured and killed daily due to driver negligence throughout the Dallas area. Contact our seasoned Dallas pedestrian accident lawyers if you or a loved one have been injured by a motor vehicle in a pedestrian accident. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
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PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENTS IN DALLAS
Dallas is a major Texas city and, as a result, has many roadways that pose hazards to pedestrians everywhere. Texas has the third-highest number of pedestrian deaths from accidents, indicating a problem with traffic laws and motor vehicle distractions.
In 2011, Texas recorded more than 400 pedestrian fatalities throughout the state, a 17 percent increase from the previous year. Earlier this year, a “Complete Streets” bill was introduced in the Texas Legislature to help ensure that all future street projects within the state are safe for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motor vehicle drivers alike. Large cities make up the majority of pedestrian fatalities and severe injuries. Most pedestrian accidents throughout the Dallas area occurred due to a lack of crosswalks and lighting and distracted drivers.
Dallas is unfortunately notorious for distracted drivers and road systems that do not provide adequate protection for pedestrians in the way of sidewalks, crosswalks, and lighting. This dangerous combination leads to devastating accidents. Pedestrians have no form of protection from vehicles and are often pinned underneath vehicles once struck, leading to extensive internal injuries, including spinal cord and brain injuries. Any pedestrian accident will often lead to months spent in the hospital.
The driver responsible for your injuries should additionally be responsible for any expenses you incur due to the accident. These include medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earnings, and pain and suffering. You should not be punished for taking a more active and healthy approach to commute by someone who could not take the time to watch for pedestrians while driving.
What the Benton Law Firm Offers and How We Can Help
Jeff Benton, our founding partner, started this firm to fight for victims of negligence and wrongdoing. He is committed to helping individuals to be able to fight large corporations and insurance companies. When you have been injured by a careless driver while walking, you have unwillingly entered a complicated legal situation.
Every driver in Texas must have auto insurance to provide liability coverage for accidents. However, insurance companies don’t want to pay money even when the driver they cover is at fault. Benton and his experienced partners know that you need someone because the insurance company will have a team of lawyers on theirs.
When you hire the compassionate personal injury attorneys at The Benton Law Firm, you can trust that we will work as hard for you as we would for a member of our own families. We’ll gather your medical records and any police reports on your accident. We’ll investigate and document the facts of your case. Using those facts, we will establish the at-fault party’s negligence. Once we’ve built a strong argument in your favor, we will use every legal tool to win you the full and fair compensation you deserve.
MOST COMMON CAUSES OF PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENTS
Roadways aren’t just for motorized vehicle use. Pedestrians also have the right to safely use sidewalks, crosswalks, paths, and walkways. Unfortunately, not all motorists use due caution when pedestrians are nearby. This negligence often leads to serious and potentially fatal accidents. Some of the most common causes of pedestrian-related collisions include:
- A driver who takes their eyes or attention off the road for even a few seconds increases their chances of colliding with another car or a pedestrian. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration estimates that when traveling at 55 mph, a driver taking their eyes off the road for five seconds can travel the distance of a football field. That’s an entire football field, or 360 feet, of distance with no knowledge or awareness of their surroundings. Research shows that the number of pedestrians fatally struck by distracted drivers is rising. Texting, phone calls, using GPS, eating and drinking, or even changing the radio station can distract a driver long enough to cause a serious pedestrian-related accident.
- A Governors Highway Safety Association report finds that driving while intoxicated has been linked to almost half of the fatal traffic-pedestrian accidents. Alcohol and drug use can significantly impair a driver’s cognition, motor function, and even vision, making them a risk to pedestrians and other motorists.
School Zone Accidents
- Busses and school crosswalks have stop signs and flashing lights for a reason. A negligent driver that avoids or drives around these safety measures is driving recklessly and endangering the lives of children and other pedestrians. Numbers gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggest that almost 19 percent of children under 14 killed in auto accidents were pedestrians. Avoiding a bus’s stop sign and lights, speeding through school zones, and ignoring crossing guards are some causes of school zone pedestrian accidents.
Construction Zone Accidents
- Construction workers are already doing their jobs in hazardous conditions. Their work is made even more dangerous by negligent and reckless drivers. Drivers who won’t obey posted construction speed limit signs, who make unsafe lane changes, or who don’t pay attention to changes in traffic patterns can cost construction workers their physical health and possibly even their life.
- Drivers making left-hand turns are often more likely to be involved in serious pedestrian-related traffic accidents. A motorist making a left-hand turn typically isn’t using the same degree of care to enter the intersection because they are not traveling across lanes of traffic moving in the opposite direction. They may look both ways but not carefully enough, making it easy to miss a pedestrian crossing the street.
- Aggressive driving includes speeding, unsafe lane changes, following too closely, and other dangerous driving behaviors. These behaviors are inherently reckless. They can lead to serious pedestrian-related accidents because of a driver’s lack of awareness and incautious actions.
- Poor visibility can also contribute to serious pedestrian accidents. Pedestrians are much smaller and harder to spot than cars. A pedestrian in dark colors, traveling at night, or walking in poor weather conditions can be difficult for a driver to see until it is too late. Drivers should always be hypervigilant about pedestrians, particularly when conditions make them harder to see.
COMMON INJURIES SUFFERED IN PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENTS
Injuries involving a vehicle and a pedestrian can be utterly catastrophic. While a driver is somewhat protected by layers of metal, fiberglass, and airbags, a pedestrian has only the clothes on their back to protect them from the impact of a 3,000-pound-plus vehicle. When a motorist hits a pedestrian, even at low speed, the impact can have devastating consequences.
A Governors Highway Safety Association report finds that the number of pedestrian fatalities involving SUVs has increased by 81 percent over the past decade. Fatalities involving passenger cars have increased by about 53 percent simultaneously. The report states that pedestrians struck by an SUV are nearly twice as likely to die as those hit by a passenger car.
Pedestrians that survive a run-in with a motorist can find themselves facing serious and debilitating injuries such as:
There are laws on the Texas books that are meant to protect the safety of pedestrians and dictate who has the right of way in various situations. Understanding these laws is important not only because they protect both motorists and pedestrians but also because they play a vital role in establishing liability for the accident itself. These important regulations include:
Traffic Control Signals
- Pedestrians facing a green traffic signal can cross the roadway within marked and unmarked crosswalks. The pedestrian must wait if the only green signal is a turn arrow.
Pedestrian Right of Way at a Signal
- A walk signal allows a pedestrian the right of way. All vehicles must yield.
Pedestrian Right of Way at a Crosswalk
- Vehicles must yield the right of way to the pedestrian if there is no signal at the intersection and the pedestrian is on the same side of the road as the car or the pedestrian is approaching the same side of the road as the vehicle.
Pedestrian Crossing at Points Other Than a Crosswalk
- Pedestrians must yield the right of way to vehicles on the highway if crossing at a point other than a marked crosswalk or intersection or where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead crossing is provided.
Pedestrian Use of Sidewalks
- Pedestrians may not walk along a roadway if a sidewalk is accessible. When a sidewalk is not accessible, pedestrians must stay to the left side of the road or the shoulder of the highway facing oncoming traffic.
- Driver must yield the right of way to pedestrians approaching a sidewalk that extends across an alley, private road, or driveway.
CONTACT THE BENTON LAW FIRM | DALLAS, TEXAS PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY
The attorneys of The Benton Law Firm understand that pedestrian accidents are quite often severe and involve life-altering injuries. Contact our Dallas personal injury attorney immediately if you or a loved one have been involved in a pedestrian accident. The limitations period on a pedestrian accident begins running the day of the accident. Our attorney needs to be able to gather all documents, which may be more difficult the longer you wait to bring a claim for your injuries. Contact our Dallas offices today at (214) 777-7777 for your initial free consultation.
Pedestrian Accident FAQs
Not necessarily. When an accident occurs between a driver and a pedestrian, the driver is most commonly found liable, but this is not always true. Pedestrians can be found either partially or fully liable as well. Suppose the driver had to swerve to avoid a road defect and collided with a pedestrian. In that case, the municipality responsible for the road defect may be found liable. In some instances, the driver and the pedestrian may be at fault, making determining liability difficult. If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident and are unsure who is liable, speak with an attorney.
After an accident, gathering and documenting information is the most important thing you can do. You must have a detailed account of the accident. Document your injuries and any losses or expenses related to your accident. The more information you have regarding your accident and injuries, the easier it will be to file a claim and receive compensation. You will also need to find a skilled attorney to represent you. The right attorney will be able to guide you through a complex case and help ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Under Texas law, you have two years from injury to start your case. This is called the statute of limitations. If you try to bring your case before a court after the deadline, the judge can refuse to hear it.
You won’t be awarded damages regardless of the facts of your case because of a technicality. You need to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after your accident so they can make sure that settlement proceedings start before you run out of time.
None. At The Benton Law Firm, we use a contingency fee system, and our consultations are always free. In this system, any payment we receive is contingent on you winning your case. In other words, we aren’t paid until you are.
We believe that all victims of injuries due to negligence should have competent and experienced legal representation regardless of their ability to pay. You can come to our offices, call us, or chat with us right now and receive the full benefit of our experience without paying a dime.
You may not go to court at all. Insurance companies often decide to choose the cheaper and easier option and settle the case outside the courtroom. It saves them time and money on legal fees and spares them the stress of appearing before a judge. We’ll only agree to the settlement if their offer is fair and covers all the damages you’re entitled to. If the insurance company offers less than what you deserve, we’ll take the case to court and fight for the full compensation you should receive.
Recoverable damages will always differ from case to case, so it is important to have an attorney evaluate your situation and determine which damages you should pursue. You may be able to receive compensation for any medical expenses related to your accident, including hospital bills, physical therapy expenses, follow-up doctor visits, and more. If your injuries forced you to take time off of work or left you unable to complete your job tasks, then you may be able to receive compensation for lost wages or a loss of future earning capacity. Lastly, you may be able to recover damages for any pain, suffering, or emotional trauma.