What To Do After A Pedestrian Accident In Houston, TX
To secure fair compensation, it’s important to understand your legal options.
Pedestrian accidents are one of the most frequent types of traffic accidents in Houston and communities throughout Texas. They occur when people are walking alongside roads, in parking lots, or while crossing the street in designated crosswalks. Unfortunately, these accidents often lead to severe injuries or even fatalities.
Tragically, pedestrian accidents appear to be on the rise throughout Texas and across the nation, highlighting the importance of raising awareness and understanding the factors that cause such accidents. Furthermore, individuals who find themselves injured in a pedestrian accident need to know what steps to take and what legal options are available to them by consulting an attorney.
Houston, TX pedestrian accident statistics
Recent years have witnessed a significant surge in pedestrian accidents across Houston, mirroring the concerning trend observed throughout the nation and the state of Texas. Crash data reveals that pedestrian accidents reached a 40-year peak in 2021, with 7,485 pedestrian fatalities reported nationwide, as documented by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).
Within Texas, the situation is equally distressing. Between 2012 and 2021, pedestrian fatalities surged by a staggering 69.5 percent, experiencing a further 34.3 percent increase since 2017 alone, according to data on pedestrian accidents compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
In Harris County, which includes Houston, pedestrian fatalities increased by 49.5 percent between 2017 and 2021, going up from 109 deaths in 2017 to an all-time high of 163 deaths in 2021, as per the NHTSA data.
What are the most dangerous intersections in Houston, TX for pedestrians?
According to a recent report by LINK Houston, the most dangerous intersections in Houston for pedestrians and cyclists are:
- Fannin Street & Pierce Street (most dangerous pedestrian intersection in Houston)
- Ranchester Drive & Bellaire Boulevard (2nd)
- Westheimer Road & South Dairy Ashford Road (3rd)
- Long Point Road & Gessner Road (4th)
- West Park Drive & US Route 59 South (5th)
- Route 90 Alternate & Texas Highway 288 South (6th)
- Fondren Road & West Bellfort Boulevard (7th)
- Bissonnet Street & Wilcrest Drive (8th)
- West Road & Airline Drive (9th)
- Bellaire Boulevard & S. Gessner Road (10th)
Why do Houston pedestrian accidents happen?
Pedestrian accidents are most often due to driver negligence or reckless driving behavior. Some common scenarios include:
- Speeding drivers failing to reduce their speed and colliding with pedestrians in crosswalks or while walking alongside roads.
- Incidents involving drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs. Despite repeated warnings about the dangers of impaired driving, Texas experiences a high number of drunk driving accidents compared to many other states.
- Distracted driving, particularly by drivers who engage in texting while driving, leads to a lack of attention and, subsequently, collisions with pedestrians.
- Reckless or aggressive drivers who disregard traffic rules, such as failing to yield at crosswalks, running red lights, or not sharing the road with pedestrians.
Do pedestrians always have the right of way?
When it comes to marked or unmarked crosswalks, drivers have the responsibility to stop and yield to pedestrians when they have a green signal or walk sign. This allows pedestrians to safely cross the road.
However, it is important to note that when pedestrians encounter a red signal, a "wait" sign, or a "do-not-walk" signal, they must not exercise their right-of-way and should refrain from crossing the road. These signals indicate that it is not safe for pedestrians to proceed, and they should wait until they receive a signal permitting them to cross or until it is safe to do so.
These rules and regulations can be found in Texas Transportation Code Title 7, Subtitle C, Chapter 552.
Who’s at fault in a pedestrian accident?
In a pedestrian accident, the at-fault party is typically the driver who hits the pedestrian and causes the accident. However, determining fault in such cases can sometimes be a complex process and often involves a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding the accident.
To navigate the process and ensure your rights are protected, it is advisable to consult with a pedestrian accident lawyer. An attorney can help gather evidence, assess liability, negotiate with insurance companies, and advocate for your best interests, ultimately seeking the compensation you deserve for your injuries and other damages.
What is the average pedestrian accident settlement?
Whether it’s a negotiated settlement or a court award from a successful lawsuit, there is no predetermined amount of compensation for pedestrian accidents. Keep in mind that there are a range of expenses and losses that should be covered for the victim(s), including but not limited to:
- Comprehensive Medical Treatment: This encompasses emergency medical care and anticipated future medical treatments like follow-up surgeries, doctor's appointments, and physical therapy. It is particularly crucial to consider ongoing treatment for chronic pain resulting from pedestrian accidents.
- Replacement Income: If your injuries prevent you from working and require time off for rest and recovery, you should be compensated for the income you have lost during that period.
- Lost Future Income: If the accident causes a permanent disability that hinders your ability to return to work or limits your work capacity, you may be entitled to compensation for the income you would have earned in the future.
- Pain and Suffering: In certain circumstances, compensation for the physical and emotional pain endured as a result of the accident may also be pursued.
To accurately assess the worth of your case, it is crucial to consult with an attorney who has experience handling pedestrian accident claims in Texas. A lawyer can evaluate the specific details of your case, consider all applicable factors, and provide insight into the amount of compensation you may be entitled to recover.
When to contact a pedestrian accident lawyer
If you were hit by a car or a loved one died in a fatal pedestrian accident, it is crucial to seek the assistance of a pedestrian accident attorney as soon as possible. These cases often become complex, with drivers denying fault or insurance companies using tactics to reduce or deny claims.
At Smith & Hassler, our experienced Houston, TX pedestrian accident attorneys are ready to fight for your rights, negotiate with insurance companies, and take your case to court if needed. Contact us today for a free consultation to let us help you navigate the legal process and secure the compensation you deserve.
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