Walking is a common way to get around, especially in crowded metropolitan areas. There is no better way to see the city and visit the many attractions around town. Most people who walk think they are safe from harm. Unfortunately, that is not necessarily the case. Pedestrian accidents continue to increase while other types of accidents seem to be going down. If you were hurt in a pedestrian accident, the negligent driver may be responsible for your damages including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Do Pedestrians Always Have the Right-of-Way?
While pedestrians may often assume they have the right-of-way, this is not always the case. Generally, pedestrians have the right-of-way only when they cross the street in designated crosswalks or when they follow the electronic pedestrian crossing signal when one is in place. Texas Transportation Code does not allow pedestrians legal access to all roadways. In some areas, pedestrians are not permitted to walk on highways, across some bridges, and in some places that have high traffic. Pedestrians are not allowed to walk against a traffic light or when the pedestrian signal indicates “don’t walk.”
What Causes Pedestrian Accidents?
There are likely many factors that can cause or contribute to pedestrian accidents. Speeding, distracted driving, and impaired driving are several of the most common causes of accidents.
There are many reasons that cars hit pedestrians. Some of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents include:
- Failure to look for people in crosswalks
- Failure to stop at a light or stop sign
- Making a turn without checking
- Distracted driving
- Driving while impaired or drunk drivers
Using cell phones or texting can be distracted. Looking away from the road even for a few seconds can cause a devastating accident. Drivers have to use extra caution in areas where there are large numbers of pedestrians. Houston has a problem with pedestrian accidents.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), provides some guidelines to help prevent accidents. Pedestrians should always walk on sidewalks and not in the street. Cross the street only in designated crosswalk areas. Pay attention to traffic and do not use your phone while you walk. Also, do not use headphones because they can prevent you from hearing important traffic noises. Do not step off the curb until it is safe to do so, regardless of whether you have a walk signal. As a pedestrian, do not assume that a driver sees you and will stop. Make eye contact with the driver to ensure that the driver is aware of pedestrians.
Often the Injuries are Severe
Pedestrian injuries can be significant and sometimes life-threatening. A person who is walking is no match for a large and heavy vehicle. If you were hurt in a pedestrian accident, get medical attention right away because some injuries can get worse over time. Some of the most common injuries include broken bones, back and neck injuries, and traumatic brain injuries. Recovery from these types of injuries can be lengthy and difficult. The costs associated with long-term recovery can be astronomical. The negligent driver may be responsible for your medical bills, future rehabilitation, and any other costs associated with the accident.
Pedestrian Safety Tips
Pedestrians and drivers need to ensure safety. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states there is a pedestrian death about every 88 minutes. They offer guidelines to help people prevent crashes that involve pedestrians. People who are walking should do so only on designated sidewalks. Cross the street only at a crosswalk, and only when the traffic light indicates it is safe to walk. Pay attention when you walk and do not use a cell phone. Keep earbuds out of your ears so you can hear traffic noises.
Drivers should practice defensive driving and pay attention to people in and near the roadways. Drivers must not use electronic devices such as phones and GPS units that can distract them from the road. Many accidents are caused by impaired driving. Drivers must not use alcohol or substances that could keep them from driving safely.
What to do After a Pedestrian Accident
If you or someone you love were hurt in a pedestrian accident, follow several steps.
- Call the police and file a report.
- The police will collect driver and witness statements that will help prove negligence by the driver.
- Get medical attention soon.
- Keep copies of your medical bills and records while recovering.
- Call a reputable car accident attorney to guide you through the legal issues. You need to concentrate on your recovery.
Free Consultation by an Experienced Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one were hurt in an accident, do not delay. Obtain the legal help you need to get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Contact Baumgartner Law Firm today to schedule a free initial case evaluation. Call (281) 587-1111!