Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

Hire an Experienced Pedestrian Accident Attorney

pedestrian caution sign

Accidents involving automobiles striking pedestrians often result in severe injuries such as spinal injuries, paralysis and even death. According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 5376 pedestrians killed in pedestrian accidents in 2015.  Another 129,000 pedestrians hit by cars were treated for injuries during 2015. In 2016 the CDC reported 5,987 pedestrian traffic accident deaths or a pedestrian related death every 90 minutes. A Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., we have experience handling serious pedestrian accidents for the past 40 years. Call an attorney who has been there today at 1-800-298-0111.

 

When is a Driver at Fault for a Pedestrian Accident?

There are many circumstances under which a driver may be found at fault for a pedestrian accident.  A driver may be all or partially at fault for hitting a pedestrian when the driver:

  • fails to yield right of way at a crosswalk,
  • fails to pay attention, slow down and yield to a pedestrian who is already in the lane crossing the road where there is no crosswalk,
  • fails to make space for a pedestrian walking along a roadway,
  • turns into or across the path of a person walking along the side walk, or
  • acts intentionally to harm a pedestrian by using the car to intimidate the person or throwing something from the vehicle at the pedestrian.

Is Failure to Yield to a Pedestrian at a Crosswalk a Crime?

Under Texas Penal Code Section 552.003, pedestrians have right-of-way at crosswalks.  Drivers of automobiles are required by law to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk if:

  1. No traffic control signal is in place or in operation, and
  2. The pedestrian is:
  3. On the half of the roadway in which the vehicle is traveling; or
  4. Approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.

Furthermore, it is illegal to pass a vehicle that has stopped for a pedestrian crossing in a crosswalk. Violation of this section of the law resulting in an accident is a misdemeanor under criminal law and may constitute negligence per se for purposes of tort liability for damages. Hiring an experienced auto pedestrian accident lawyer can help you understand these laws further.

Pedestrians Walking Along Roads and on Sidewalks

Drivers must share the road with others. This duty obligates them to maintain a proper lookout for both vehicles driving on the roads and people walking by the road or working along highway shoulders.  The Houston Vulnerable Road User Ordinance  protect pedestrians in Houston walking along streets and on sidewalks by requiring operators of automobiles to take specific actions when driving around vulnerable road users. Many other Texas cities have enacted their own Vulnerable Road User Ordinance.

What is a Vulnerable Road User?

A vulnerable road user is defined as a:

  • Pedestrian
  • Physically disabled person
  • Stranded motorist or passenger
  • Highway construction or maintenance worker
  • Tow truck operator
  • Utility worker in the roadway
  • Person on horseback or operating a horse-driven conveyance
  • Person operating a bicycle (including an electric bicycle), hand cycle, or other human-powered wheeled vehicle
  • Person operating a moped or motor-assisted scooter.

(See City of Houston Code Sec, 45-44.) These individuals are considered particularly at risk when negligent drivers are on the roadway.

What Must You Do Around Vulnerable Road Users?

A typical Vulnerable Road User Ordinance requires operators of motor vehicles to complete the following actions when near a vulnerable road user on the roadway:

  • When passing a vulnerable road user, vacate the lane in which they are located if there are two or more marked lanes running in the same direction; or, pass the vulnerable road user at a safe distance.
  • When making a turn at any intersection, whether it be a traffic light or private alley, yield the right-of-way to a vulnerable road user who is approaching from the opposite direction and is in the intersection (or is in such proximity to the intersection as to be an immediate hazard).
  • Refrain from turning in front of a vulnerable road user  after having overtaken them while traveling in the same direction unless they are safely clear of the vulnerable road user.

(See City of Houston Code Sec, 45-44.)

Is it Against the Law to Throw Something at or Swerve Toward a Pedestrian in Texas?

The Houston Vulnerable Road User Ordinance prohibits vehicle operators and passengers from doing the following actions:

  • Knowingly throwing or projecting any object at a vulnerable road user, or the user’s animal, equipment or vehicle.
  • Maneuvering a vehicle in a manner that is meant to cause intimidation or harassment to a vulnerable road user or in a manner that threatens a user.

Most other Texas Cities have adopted similar statutes.

A Vulnerable Road User Ordinance is a powerful tool in the arsenal of a pedestrian accident lawyer when seeking to hold a driver responsible for striking a pedestrian along the roadway.

Who is Liable for a Pedestrian Accident When the Pedestrian is a Child?

In Texas, when a child is under the age of 6, the child is considered too young to be negligent.  When the child is between the ages of 6 and 14, the child’s degree of negligence is judged by a standard of what a reasonable child of the same age would have done. This is important in Texas because a jury is required to consider the negligence of all parties in most pedestrian cases.  If the adult driver is found to be negligent at all, they many be held liable for a child under age 6.  If the child is above age 6, then liability may be placed on either the driver, the child pedestrian or both. The pedestrian may not be found 50% or more at fault in the latter situation or the driver is absolved of liability.

How Common are Child Pedestrian Accidents?

In 2013, statistics show that 4,735 pedestrians were killed in accidents involving motor vehicles, which translates to one crash-related pedestrian death every two hours. One fifth of all fatal pedestrian accidents involve children and commonly occur between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. while children are returning home from school. In addition to these fatalities, 150,000 pedestrians were treated in emergency rooms for non-fatal crash injuries in 2013.

What are the Causes of Child Pedestrian Accidents?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 76% of child pedestrian deaths occur at non-intersections due to children who were playing at the side of the road, running into the road without looking for traffic, and crossing the streets at locations that are not an intersection with a crosswalk. Some of the risk factors that are recognized for increasing the likelihood of an accident include:

  • The child’s road environment
  • The proximity of the child’s school to the child’s home
  • The time that school ends for the child
  • The age of the child
  • The income of the child’s family

Injuries Experienced by Child Pedestrians

Many of the injuries associated with child pedestrian accidents are due to the direct collision between a motor vehicle and the child pedestrian. Individuals also experience secondary injuries that occur when the force of the initial impact causes the pedestrian to strike another object. Examples of the most common types of injuries incurred by pedestrians include:

  • Abrasions
  • Contusions
  • Lacerations
  • Hemorrhages
  • Hematomas
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Torn ligaments
  • Bone fractures

Call an Experienced Auto Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

If you or someone you love has been the victim of a pedestrian accident, you may have legal recourse. Don’t let a car accident wreck your entire life. Call the law office of Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. today for a free consultation. If we take you case, we pay the investigation costs up front and if we cannot make a recovery, you don’t pay those expenses back nor pay any attorneys fee.

 

Author

Paul Cannon