Thousands of pedestrians are killed in traffic crashes in the United States every year. In 2016, a total of 5,987 pedestrians lost their lives when they were struck by a motor vehicle.
As high as that number sounds, the severity of this problem is even more apparent when we look at serious injuries. In 2017, an estimated 137,000 pedestrians were treated in emergency departments for non-fatal crash-related injuries.
Although anyone can be seriously injured or killed in a pedestrian traffic accident, certain groups are more at risk. These include older adults, ages 65 and over (20 percent of pedestrian fatalities), and children under the age of 15.
Not surprisingly, nearly half of all fatal pedestrian accidents involve alcohol, and excessive vehicle speeds dramatically increase the severity of the injury.
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Why You Need a Lawyer After a Pedestrian Injury in Houston
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident due to the negligence of another, you have a right to seek compensation for any damages suffered. At DeHoyos Law Firm, PLLC, we have an impressive track record of obtaining compensation for our pedestrian injury clients.
Our experienced, compassionate legal team will analyze the details of your case to determine the most appropriate legal strategy, and we will be by your side from start to finish.
Unfortunately, victims of pedestrian accidents often suffer serious injuries due to the nature of these accidents. Being struck by a vehicle rarely results in minor injuries.
In some cases, victims suffer debilitating, life-long injuries and medical complications that may impact their ability to earn an income for the rest of their lives. The last thing you want to be dealing with after such a traumatic event is paperwork and insurance companies.
Let an experienced Houston pedestrian accident attorney shoulder this burden so that you can focus on healing.
Your Attorney Can Help to Determine Fault
The other party’s insurance company is going to look for ways to pin the accident on you. Were you texting while walking? Did you jaywalk? An experienced lawyer will be able to position you for the most favorable outcome.
Being partially at fault doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still be compensated. If your attorney can show that the driver was also at fault (i.e. he/she was speeding or distracted at the time of the accident), you can still receive compensation for damages.
In order to determine fault, your attorney will gather evidence, including eye witness testimony, police reports, medical records, and photographs or video of the scene. This process requires in-depth knowledge of pedestrian-motor vehicle crash cases as well as a thorough investigation into the accident.
Your Attorney Can Help to Determine Damages
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, you may be able to recover damages for medical bills, current and future lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and other associated costs. Although some of these costs are relatively easy to calculate, pain and suffering damages are less straightforward. The insurance companies know this and will try to lowball a victim for more ambiguous costs, such as mental anguish.
Fortunately, an experienced Houston injury lawyer can help you calculate these costs so that you are able to recover what is rightfully yours.
Your Attorney Will Negotiate with Insurance Companies
Insurers are notorious for offering low settlements to accident victims without proper legal representation. They will also attempt to engage you in a discussion before you have obtained legal counsel, knowing that they can use your words against you.
Your attorney can speak to the insurance companies on your behalf and negotiate a fair settlement so that you can move on with your life. Although reaching a settlement outside of court is the goal, at DeHoyos Law Firm, PLLC, we are prepared to take your case to court if necessary.
What to Do After a Pedestrian Injury in Houston
Following a pedestrian accident, you may decide to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. If you go this route, your case will benefit immensely from preparation. Fortunately, you don’t have to do a lot to prepare for a personal injury lawsuit if you hire a good attorney. But by following the tips below, you can dramatically improve your chances of obtaining the compensation you deserve.
- Call 911 immediately. In addition to dispatching emergency responders, calling 911 will result in an official police report of the accident.
- Seek medical attention. Some of the most dangerous injuries, including internal bleeding and organ damage, may not present symptoms for days, or even weeks. By seeking immediate medical care, you are protecting your health and well-being and creating an official medical record, which will help if you decide to file a claim.
- Ask any witnesses for their contact information, and get the contact and insurance information of all involved parties.
- Use your smartphone to photograph the accident scene and any resulting injuries or property damage. Take pictures from as many different angles as possible.
The more evidence you can gather, the better equipped your attorney will be to build a solid case in your favor.
Damages You Can Receive in a Houston Pedestrian Injury Claim
If you have been struck by a vehicle while crossing a street, you may have suffered serious injuries. The most common injuries resulting from pedestrian-motor vehicle accidents include:
- Deep cuts and wounds to the face/head and hands
- Torn ligaments
- Bone fractures
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries
If you have suffered any of the injuries above, you have a right to seek compensation. Damages may include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Permanent disability
- Loss of consortium
- Wrongful death
What Causes Most Pedestrian Injuries in Houston?
Although pedestrian injuries can occur for myriad reasons, certain contributing factors are involved more often than others. These include:
- Distracted driving (texting, eating, applying makeup, adjusting the stereo)
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Visibility limitations (parked cars, adverse weather conditions)
- Failure to stop in crosswalks
- Running stoplights
- Jaywalking or distracted walking on the part of the pedestrian
As stated earlier, even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you may still be able to obtain compensation for any damages suffered. A Houston pedestrian accident attorney can help you determine how to proceed.
Texas Pedestrian Injury Laws
In Texas, motorists have a duty of care to stay focused on the task at hand and obey the rules of the road while driving. If they fail to do so, they are negligent and may be found liable for any resulting injuries or property damage.
In some cases, the pedestrian can be at fault, or partially at fault. According to Texas state law, pedestrians must obey traffic control devices—such as stoplights, pavement markings, and traffic signs—unless a police officer is controlling traffic.
Pedestrians must either walk on a sidewalk or must walk against traffic if there is no sidewalk. They must also use crosswalks, and keep to the right side when in crosswalks.
Texas Statue of Limitations on Pedestrian Accidents
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, you are subject to a two-year statute of limitations within which you must file a personal injury claim. If you wait until that two-year period has expired, your claim will almost certainly be dismissed.
It is in your best interest to file sooner rather than later. Waiting until the last minute presents multiple issues, including undermining the severity of your case in the eyes of the court, and limiting your attorney’s ability to build a solid case against the other party.
Furthermore, memories fade with each passing day, and it is much easier to gather evidence when the details of the accident are fresh in your mind.
Contact DeHoyos Law Firm, PLLC Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, the skilled legal team at DeHoyos Law Firm, PLLC can help. We will analyze the details of your case to determine the at-fault party, gather evidence to substantiate your claim, and position you for the most favorable outcome.
Our experienced, compassionate attorneys will ensure that you understand your rights and options, and we will be by your side throughout the entire process.
Don’t attempt to go through this overwhelming process on your own. We are here to help. Contact DeHoyos Law Firm, PLLC today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.