Every year, thousands of Texans are injured in pedestrian accidents. Based on statistics, we know that many victims of pedestrian vs car accidents will be lucky enough to, while others will lose their lives. Car accidents that involve pedestrians are extremely serious problems.
The human body is vulnerable, and it isn’t equipped to stand up to a motor vehicle collision. We have no bumpers or airbags, and the only “crumple zones” we have in a pedestrian accident are our flesh and bones. More than 400 Texas pedestrians are listed in the fatality column every year, while thousands more are seriously injured.
Mike Allbee is a pedestrian accident lawyer with offices in Arlington, Dallas, and Fort Worth. He represents pedestrians who are injured by drivers of motor vehicles in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area and across the state. The Allbee Law Firm has been recognized as a Top Ten personal injury law firm by the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys.
Fault in A Pedestrian Accident
Texas Transportation Code section 552.008 requires every driver “who is operating a motor vehicle to exercise due care to avoid colliding with pedestrians on a roadway.” Proper precautions must be taken when a child or an obviously confused or incapacitated person is on the road. Section 552.009 of the Texas Transportation Code prohibits pedestrians from crossing a roadway in a business district or a designated highway except for in a crosswalk. Some common pedestrian accident scenarios when drivers must yield involve:
- When the pedestrian is in an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection
- When the driver is in the process of making a turn at an intersection
- When making a right turn on red
- After making a complete stop at a stop sign or flashing red traffic signal
- After a pedestrian lawfully enters a crosswalk and the traffic signal changes
- When the pedestrian has a green light with a walk signal
In 2012, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released its findings involving the impact of speed of a vehicle and the risk of severe injury or death in a pedestrian accident. The average risk of death of a pedestrian reached increases based on these speeds:
- 10 percent at 23 mph
- 25 percent at 32 mph
- 50 percent at 42 mph
- 75 percent at 50 mph
- 90 percent at 59 mph
The risks were higher for older pedestrians as opposed to younger pedestrians. The chances of wrongful death are significantly higher if you are a pedestrian who is hit by a light truck rather than by a car.
Pedestrian Accident Risk Factors
Two important risk factors are when and where a pedestrian accident might occur. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, most fatalities occur at night. The most common times are between 6:00 p.m. and midnight. About 67 percent of fatalities occur in urban areas. 75 percent of fatal accidents occur away from intersections. In nearly 20 percent of those accidents, drivers had consumed alcohol.
Although rural areas have drastically lower pedestrian accident rates, injuries are more severe, and fatalities are more frequent, primarily due to higher rural vehicle speeds.
The Physics of Pedestrian Accident Injuries
According to the California Journal of Emergency Medicine, the overwhelming percentage of motor vehicle accidents with pedestrians involve the front of the vehicle impacting with the pedestrian’s center of gravity. In nearly all front impacts with adults, the victim’s center of gravity is above the top of the bumper, and he or she is struck in the area of the lower leg. The legs are propelled in the direction of travel of the vehicle, and the head and upper body collide with the hood, windshield or both.
The findings show that three impacts occur. The first impact is to the lower leg. The second involves the victim’s thigh and the front edge of the hood. That impact rotates the pedestrian’s upper body which results in a third impact involving his or her head and shoulders and the hood, windshield or both. With a low-speed impact, the pedestrian might remain on the hood. At higher speeds, the victim can be propelled over the vehicle for a fourth impact with the pavement.
Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Some of the more common injuries caused by vehicle and ground impacts include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Traumatic spinal cord injuries
- Pelvic fractures
- Leg fractures
- Cartilage and ligament tears in the knee
- Soft tissue injuries
If your child is involved in an accident, resulting common injuries might also include chest and abdominal injuries. These injuries are more common among child victims because children have a lower center of gravity.
Compensation for Damages
When a pedestrian accident occurs as a result of the carelessness and negligence of a motor vehicle driver, compensation can be sought through the courts for damages like:
- Past medical bills in connection with the accident and medical bills reasonably expected to be incurred in the future
- Earnings lost as a result of the accident and earnings reasonably expected to be lost in the future
- Any permanent disfigurement
- Any permanent disability
- Pain and suffering
- The loss of a normal life
- Funeral and burial expenses in the event of a wrongful death
Auto Insurance in Texas
According to the Insurance Information Institute, more than one out of every eight drivers in Texas has no auto insurance at all. Other drivers with histories of repeated traffic violations are at high risk for causing accidents. High policy limits aren’t affordable for them, and they only drive on minimum liability insurance. In Texas, the minimum policy limit is only $30,000 per person and $60,000 total if more than one person is injured in an accident. The $30,000 is often not enough to compensate an innocent pedestrian who is seriously injured through the fault of a careless and negligent motorist.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Insurance
Texas doesn’t require drivers to be covered by uninsured motorist insurance (UM) and underinsured motorist insurance (UIM). The Insurance Information Institute reports that about one out of every eight Texas drivers is uninsured.
“Big Mike” Allbee strongly recommends that you strongly consider purchasing UM and UIM coverage. UM insurance will cover you if the person who caused your pedestrian accident had no liability insurance at all. UIM might cover you in some situations. For example, you would be covered if you have $90,000 of damages, and the at-fault driver only had $30,000 of coverage.
With most UM and UIM coverage, you’re not the only person who is insured. Others who might be covered include residents of your household who are blood relatives. They may be covered in pedestrian accidents or bicycle accidents if they’re injured by the fault of an uninsured, underinsured or even a hit-and-run driver.
We’re Here to Help
In UM and UIM claims, your claim is made against your own insurer. It “steps into the shoes” of the driver who was at fault. You’ll quickly learn that you’re not in good hands or with a very good neighbor at all. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been a loyal customer for 15 or 20 years. In many situations, your own insurance company won’t want to pay you the compensation that you deserve. You’ll be in serious need of help.
Whatever you do, never give a statement, of any kind, to an opposing insurance company about your pedestrian accident case. It will only try to shift fault for the accident over onto you, and it will try to use your own words against you in the future.
Contact us at the Allbee Law Firm first for a free consultation and case assessment. If you, or a member of your family, is injured in a pedestrian accident anywhere in Texas, remember that the law doesn’t require you to give any kind of a statement to an opposing insurance company. Contact pedestrian accident lawyer Mike Allbee so that I can guide you through the entire process.