According to Transportation for America, a non-profit group that measures street safety in the U.S., Houston is the 9th most dangerous city for walking in the country. This is largely due to the flaws with the city’s urban design and the need for more sidewalks and crosswalks. Regardless of the reason, pedestrians in Houston are at an extremely high risk of being in an accident involving a car, truck or commercial vehicle. When this happens, serious or fatal injuries could result.
Pedestrians are hurt in collisions with motor vehicles at a frightening rate. According to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), total traffic deaths increased only 6 percent from 2010 to 2015, but pedestrian fatalities rose 25 percent during this same period and accounted for the most significant proportion of traffic fatalities in the past 25 years.
Did you suffer serious injuries, or was your loved one killed in a pedestrian accident in the Houston area? Do not speak to anybody about your accident until you have legal representation. Contact The Law Offices of Hilda Sibrian™ today. We will fight for the compensation that you deserve. Our attorneys can review your case today in a free consultation.
Seeing as we have some of the most dangerous intersections in the country, it should come as no surprise that pedestrian accidents and bicycle accidents happen every day in Houston. They cover the gamut when it comes to injuries. Most are minor, but some leave the victim with devastating injuries or even lead to death. Several cyclists have even been involved in accidents with METRO trains.
If a motorist caused the accident, his/her insurance company should cover your damages. However, you need to know what to do in the first hours and days after a pedestrian accident to ensure the insurance company does not try to strip you of your right to file for compensation. If you suffer injuries in a pedestrian accident:
Your first concern after a Houston pedestrian or bicycle accident should be your own well-being. Call 911 for emergency medical treatment, especially if you have any major injuries. Be aware, though, not all serious injuries are apparent immediately. A head, neck, or internal injury may not show symptoms for several hours or days after a crash. For this reason, you need to seek treatment at the scene or visit an emergency department as soon as possible for an exam. Getting treatment soon after an accident also links your injuries to the crash, creating a record that could prove valuable later on.
Note: In addition to medical treatment, you also need to have the police file a report about the accident. This is another reason why calling 911 or having a bystander call police is important. Be sure to continue your medical care throughout the duration of your claim.
If possible, you should collect evidence from the scene. This includes taking pictures of the scene, the damage to the vehicle, and even your injuries. Use your phone or a notepad to jot down the name of the driver and contact information for any witnesses. Write down the exact location of the accident, and anything you remember about the crash.
You can also ask someone else to take pictures and gather contact information for you if your injuries prevent you from doing it. Believe it or not, these quick pictures and notes often make a big difference during the claims process.
Once you have begun your medical care, it is time to contact a Houston pedestrian accident attorney. We offer free, no-obligation consultations during which you can find out more about how we can help you recover compensation for your injuries.
If you choose to enlist our help, we will get to work investigating the cause of your accident immediately. We can obtain the police report and other documentation, interview witnesses, and even perform accident reconstruction. All this evidence will help to build a strong case.
After we know who is responsible for your injuries, we can file a claim based on his/her auto insurance policy. Under Texas law, all motorists must carry at least $30,000 in liability insurance for each injured person, up to a total of $60,000 per accident.
Once we make our demand, the insurance company will either deny your claim or present a settlement offer. This offer often serves as the starting point for negotiating a fair settlement for your claim.
If the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement, or if the cost of your medical treatment and other damages exceed the maximum limit of the driver’s policy, we may be able to obtain additional compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Understanding what caused your accident is the first step in holding the at-fault party liable for your injuries. In many cases, the accident occurred because a negligent driver failed to obey Texas pedestrian laws. Some of the most common failures include:
Breaking general traffic laws also contribute to many pedestrian accidents. Most commonly, this includes:
The police report is a great place to start. If the driver received any type of citation after the incident, they are likely liable — at least, in part — for your injuries. If the cause of your accident is not apparent, go ahead and give us a call. We will analyze all the available evidence to identify the liable party before we file your claim.
Some pedestrian accidents are the result of failures on the part of property owners or municipalities. A property owner’s failure to maintain a safe walkway, for instance, can lead to a pedestrian being injured. Specific government entities have a responsibility to keep public streets and walkways safe for pedestrians, and if they fail to maintain them, serious accidents could occur.
However, most pedestrian accidents in Houston are the result of negligent drivers. Common causes of pedestrian crashes include, but are not limited to:
Drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance are committing a criminal offense. Even when a driver who is charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) avoids a conviction, that person can still be held civilly liable for the damages caused in an accident stemming from their impaired driving.
Some drivers fail to respect a pedestrian’s right of way. The failure to yield at stop signs or at crosswalks can lead to collisions with pedestrians.
A driver may strike a pedestrian if a driver fails to stay in his or her lane. When drivers encroach on sidewalks and walkways, they put anyone walking nearby at risk.
Rain, sleet, snow, or other adverse weather conditions can adversely impact a driver’s ability to control a vehicle around pedestrians. Drivers are responsible for reducing their speed and taking other measures to operate safely in these conditions.
A right-turn accident typically involves a driver turning into a pedestrian when the pedestrian is traveling in the same direction. Often, the cause of the collision is a driver’s failure to gauge the pedestrian’s distance.
All drivers need to be fully aware of all that is happening in front of and around their vehicles at all times, but many motorists allow their attention to be diverted by other activities. Talking, text messaging, or merely browsing the web on a cell phone is one of the most common kinds of distractions, but other possible distraction can include smoking, applying makeup, or talking to other passengers.
Some causes are not always immediately apparent, which is why it is important to contact The Law Offices of Hilda Sibrian™ as soon as possible after a pedestrian accident. We will get to work right away on investigating what happened and identifying who should be held responsible for it.
Pedestrian accidents often cause significant harm. Some of the biggest expenses that victims incur are medical bills for immediate and future care. Examples of injuries which pedestrians often suffer include:
The driver is usually liable whenever a motor vehicle causes a pedestrian’s injuries. However, insurance companies frequently argue that pedestrians played some contributory negligence role in their accidents. This is because, under Texas law, an individual cannot recover damages when their percentage of responsibility is more than 50 percent.
In all other cases, a person can pursue damages under the modified comparative fault system. In this system, a court must reduce the amount of damages awarded to a plaintiff by a percentage equal to the plaintiff’s percentage of responsibility. For example, if a person is awarded $100,000 in a pedestrian accident lawsuit but is 10 percent at fault for it, then person’s award will be reduced by $10,000. The person can ultimately receive only $90,000.
Our legal team knows how insurance companies operate. If you were injured in a pedestrian accident that a negligent car driver caused, we will aggressively protect your rights. We will not let an insurance company unjustly shift the blame to you.
Unfortunately, many pedestrian accidents ultimately cause fatal injuries. In such cases, the family members of the deceased can file wrongful death claims against the negligent parties. Spouses, children and siblings could be eligible to recover compensation for funeral and burial expenses, final medical care expenses, loss of support and other damages.
A person has two years from the date of a pedestrian accident under Texas law to file a personal injury lawsuit. Wrongful death cases are subject to a two-year limit as well. The time is measured from the date of the death.
Two years may sound like a long time to some people. However, it is actually a very limited period when you consider the work that could be involved in preparing a pedestrian accident claim. For this reason, you should act as soon as possible and get help from an experienced attorney. At The Law Offices of Hilda Sibrian™, we will get to work on your case right away and preserve and gather evidence that could play a crucial role in your case.