Over 1500 pedestrian accidents happen in Houston each year. Approximately 10% of these result in fatalities. Across Texas, 825 pedestrians were killed in pedestrian accidents in 2022. Our Houston pedestrian accident lawyers fight to get you the compensation you deserve from all of the responsible parties. With so many driving distractions today, auto-pedestrian accidents are on the rise. Sometimes, the police officer will place the pedestrian at fault even when the driver could have avoided the car accident. This is why you need an experienced Houston pedestrian accident lawyer fighting for your rights. Call (713) 932-0777 for a free consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Can a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Do for Me?
A pedestrian accident lawyer can investigate the reason the driver struck the pedestrian in order to establish liability by seeking out eyewitnesses and/or video recordings of the incident. He can help you get proper care for your injuries. Additionally, your pedestrian accident attorney can help you document the injuries and losses that you incur, including:
- Lost time from work;
- Damage to property;
- Physical pain and suffering;
- Mental anguish;
- Permanent scarring;
- Permanent physical impairment;
- Future medical requirements.
If you have lost a loved one due to a pedestrian accident, an attorney may be able to help you recover funeral expenses and losses to the family such as loss of household services, loss of inheritance, loss of consortium (the loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, moral support, and marital relations).
What Does it Cost to Hire a Lawyer for a Pedestrian Accident?
Hiring a lawyer for a pedestrian accident is easy and costs you nothing upfront when you hire us. We work on a contingency fee contract. This means we pay the expenses of pursuing the case upfront. You pay us nothing unless we make a recovery for you. If the case settles, we get our expenses reimbursed out of the proceeds and we are paid a percentage of the recovery based upon the timing of the settlement. If we do not make a recovery, you do not owe us a dime.
When is a Driver 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 the 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 pedestrian accident lawyers 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 sidewalk;
- Acts intentionally to harm a pedestrian by using the car to intimidate the person or throwing something from the vehicle at the pedestrian.
- Failed to obey the speed limit (excessive speeding or any form of reckless driving);
- Breaks the law by drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs.
There may be other circumstances when a driver is all or partially at fault.
When Does a Pedestrian Have the Right-of-Way?
All states require drivers to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks. Drivers of automobiles are required by law to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk if;
- No traffic control signal is in place or in operation; and
- The pedestrian is
- on the half of the roadway in which the vehicle is traveling, or;
- 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 Houston pedestrian accident lawyer can help you understand these laws further.
Who is Liable for a Pedestrian Accident When the Pedestrian is a Child?
If an adult driver is found to be negligent at all, they may be held liable for all of the damages when they hit a child pedestrian under the age of six. If the child is above age six but under fourteen, then the driver is liable for that percent of the damages a jury finds him responsible for, so long as the percentage of his negligence is 50% or more. If the driver’s negligence is under 50% responsible for the collision, then he is not liable for anything.
Note: The reason for this law is that 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.
What Are the Top 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.
What Are Common Injuries Experienced by Child Pedestrians?
Examples of the most common types of injuries incurred by pedestrians include:
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Torn ligaments;
- Bone fractures.
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.
How Many People Are Killed in Pedestrian Accidents Each Year?
6,516 people were killed in the United States in auto-pedestrian accidents in 2020 according to the NHTSA’s 2020 statistics. In 2021, there were 824 pedestrians killed on Texas roadways alone.
Serving Houston and neighboring areas for more than 40 years, the Houston pedestrian accident lawyers at Simmons & Fletcher, P.C. have helped clients after they were involved in serious collisions. If you have suffered severe injuries like broken bones, or a spinal cord injury, or if you know of a family member who suffered a traumatic brain injury following a pedestrian accident, know that as your appointed legal representation, we will work tirelessly to gather the necessary evidence to determine liability so we can process your pedestrian accident claim. During this difficult time, we are ready to get what is rightfully deserved to you. Call us today for your free consultation. We’re only a short phone call away: (713) 932-0777.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Pedestrian Accident Claims in Houston?
For injured adults, the statute of limitations is two years. Minors have until their 20th birthday to bring a claim for their non-economic damages and medical expenses incurred after the age of 18. All medical expenses before the age of 18 are the obligation of the parent and, thus, are subject to the parent’s two-year statute of limitations.
It is crucial that you take action on your Houston pedestrian accident case as soon as possible. Although your injuries may be catastrophic, and taking legal action is the furthest thing from your mind, there are deadlines that must be met if you hope to recover the compensation you are entitled to.
First, your Houston pedestrian accident lawyer must ensure your lawsuit is filed before the statute of limitations deadline passes. Under Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code Section 16.003, state law allows you a maximum of two years from your injury date to get your lawsuit filed. Unfortunately, when survivors or their family members do not file their claims before time runs out, the court system is legally obligated to bar you from recovering compensation at trial.
Are there Criminal Penalties for Hitting a Pedestrian in a Crosswalk?
Yes. Under the Lisa Torry Smith Act passed in 2020 in Texas, all drivers are required to stop and yield the right of way to pedestrians lawfully in the intersection or an adjacent crosswalk. Failure to stop and yield that results in bodily injury to a person operating a bicycle, motor-assisted scooter, electronic personal assistive mobility device, neighborhood electric vehicle, or golf cart is a class A misdemeanor and if the victim suffered serious injury as a result the driver may be charged with a state jail felony. A state jail felony is punishable by six months up to 2 years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine.
Duties to 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 protects 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;
- A pedestrian;
- A physically disabled person;
- A stranded motorist or passenger;
- A highway construction or maintenance worker;
- A tow truck operator;
- A utility worker in the roadway;
- A person on horseback or operating a horse-driven conveyance;
- A person operating a bicycle (including an electric bicycle), handcycle, or other human-powered-wheeled-vehicle;
- A 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. Truks often have a hard time seeing vulnerable road users and must be extra careful. Tuck accidents involving pedestrians can be very serious.
What Must You Do Around Vulnerable Road Users in Houston?
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 an 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.
How Proportionate Responsibility Could Impact Your Case
Pedestrians are often blamed for sharing liability for their injuries. Thankfully, Texas follows proportionate responsibility laws. Also commonly referred to as modified comparative negligence, under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 33.001, if you are partially at fault for your injuries, your verdict will be reduced accordingly.
You can expect a shared fault deduction that is in proportion to your percentage of liability. For instance, if you were jaywalking, the judge or jury might find you 15% culpable for your injuries. If this was the case, you would only recover 85% of the amount you were awarded in your pedestrian accident lawsuit. These risks have to be factored in during settlement discussions as well and may affect the fair settlement value of your claim.
Call an Experienced Houston Pedestrian Accident Lawyer from Simmons & Fletcher, P.C.
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. At the law firm of Simmons & Fletcher, P.C., we diligently serve our clients to get them the justice they deserve. Pulling together our legal resources and knowledge, we have helped victims and their families (who pursue a wrongful death claim) recover losses related to their pedestrian accident. Our team of skilled personal injury attorneys knows what it takes to defend our clients’ rights and to get them the compensation they deserve.
We have witnessed the uphill battle for injured pedestrians and their loved ones as they try to piece their lives together following their accident. We are here to shoulder the burden of negotiating with insurance companies and liable parties to get you financial recovery for your medical bills and pain and suffering.
With more than 40 years of experience, we have seen the damage and tragedy associated with drunk driving, distracted driving, and its involvement in motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, bicycle accidents, and pedestrian accidents. Though traumatic, there is simply no excuse for negligent and reckless behavior. With our help and legal knowledge, we will review your case through a free consultation and provide you with the necessary information to follow up with your next steps.
Call the law office of Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. today for a free consultation with a Houston pedestrian accident attorney. If we take your case, we pay the investigation costs upfront and if we cannot make a recovery, you don’t pay those expenses back nor pay any attorney’s fee. Contact us for your free case evaluation: (713) 932-0777.