Pedestrian Accident Attorney
Pedestrian accidents are devastating. A person hit by a two-ton car faces the possibility of catastrophic injuries like broken bones, brain damage, and even death. The moment after you or a loved one has been struck by a car can be terrifying. You’re faced with a long recovery and a pile of doctor’s bills. As scary as it may seem, you have options. You can seek compensation not just for money spent on treatment, but for your pain and suffering as well.
Maybe you follow your doctor’s recommendation to stay active by walking. Researchers have found that taking just 7,500 steps a day increases your mobility and helps lower your risk of mortality. Doctors and other health experts promote walking as the cheapest and easiest exercise out there. Additionally, scientists advocate for walking to help lower carbon emissions and fight climate change. You should be able to walk safely, but unfortunately, many roads are designed for cars, not pedestrians.
If you or a loved one has been hurt while walking due to a driver’s negligence, you deserve full and fair compensation. The knowledgeable pedestrian accident lawyers at Chandler McNulty LLP can talk to you about your legal options.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer After a Pedestrian Accident?
After your accident, you need to prioritize your health. Unfortunately, you may find that missing work and paying for medical bills negatively impacts your financial situation. A lawyer can help you initiate a personal injury claim against the driver that hurt you. By holding that driver accountable for their negligence, they may be required to pay significant damages that will help you cover your costs and get your life back on track.
The lawyers at Chandler McNulty LLP are compassionate and experienced. They can take over investigating the cause of your accident and establish the other party’s negligence. Once they have thoroughly documented the facts of your crash, they will work to win you compensation. These damages can include coverage for the money you spent treating your injuries, the wages you lost when you missed work, and your pain and suffering.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has pointed out, “Everyone is a pedestrian.” In 2017, they recorded 5,977 deaths due to pedestrian-vehicle collisions. The statistics are staggering, and dangerous driving habits are often at the root of the crash. Some causes of pedestrian crashes include alcohol abuse, driver distraction, reckless driving, and visibility problems.
- Alcohol Abuse – A common factor in pedestrian accidents is alcohol abuse. When anyone drinks before they hit the street, they are at risk for crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 10,874 people were killed in crashes involving drunk drivers in 2017. This statistic includes all kinds of accidents, including pedestrian-car incidents. A blood alcohol concentration (BAC) below the legal limit can still result in loss of fine-muscle control, blurry vision, and impaired judgment. A driver with a BAC above the national legal limit of .08 would likely have trouble staying in a lane. Conversely, an inebriated pedestrian could lose track of their surroundings and wander into the roadway. It’s important to stay off the street if you have been drinking, regardless of whether you are walking or driving.
- Distracted Driving – Operating a vehicle requires a driver’s full attention. Drivers who listen to loud music, eat meals, or operate an electronic device while driving put pedestrians in danger. The NHTSA reports that distracted drivers killed 3,166 people in 2017. Depending on their speed, a driver taking their eyes of the road for just five seconds can travel the length of a football field. Walking and texting simultaneously, or while wearing headphones, takes a pedestrian’s attention away from their surroundings. Both drivers and pedestrians should stay alert and undistracted.
- Reckless Driving – Pedestrians are chiefly put at risk by two types of reckless driving in particular. The first is speeding. Speeding resulted in the deaths of 9,717 people in 2017 alone. As a vehicle’s speed increases, small movements are magnified; any small mistake or distraction could result in a crash. Unfortunately, injuries resulting from a crash with a speeding car are more severe. The other type of reckless driving is simply disregarding the rules of the road: drivers sometimes choose to ignore yield signs, crowd crosswalks, or travel on the shoulder. Any time a vehicle veers into spaces intended for those who are on foot, people are at risk.
- Visibility Problems – Walking at night, or in low visibility situations, can be extremely dangerous. The NTHSA recommends that pedestrians wear light or reflective clothing and stay on sidewalks. Always remember that school zones have stricter speed limits. Since school children are smaller and can be difficult to see, they are more likely to face severe injuries in a pedestrian crash. Drivers should follow all posted laws, obey crossing guards who are present to protect young pedestrians, and practice extra vigilance when they are in a school zone.
Commonly Reported Pedestrian Accident Injuries
The average weight of a car in the United States is over two tons. Even heavier trucks and SUVs have become increasingly popular in the American market, as well, and these vehicles are particularly fashionable in Texas. When these huge cars are moving fast, the force of their potential impact is increased exponentially. Unfortunately, that means that pedestrian injuries in the case of an accident are often severe. If a driver hits you while you are out walking, some injuries you might sustain include:
- Broken bones in the lower body (pelvis, femur, etc.)
- Fractured ribs and internal bruising
- Neck and spinal damage
- Head injuries, including cranial fractures and severe brain trauma
Some of these lead to permanent disabilities for the injured party. In the most severe cases, they will result in death. The Houston Chronicle reported that in just the first half of 2019, nearly 300 pedestrians died on Texas roads.
Compensation For Pedestrians
If you sustained injuries when you were hit by a vehicle while walking, you can seek financial compensation. Depending on the particulars of your accident, these damages may include money to cover:
- Medical bills you’ve already paid
- Future medical care for the injuries you sustained
- Wages or salary lost when you couldn’t work
- Other damages (like property damage)
- Pain and suffering
In the state of Texas, once you establish the driver’s fault (or negligence), you may be awarded damages.
What kind of documents do I need for my pedestrian injury claim?
At [firm name], our goal is to get you the money you deserve when you need it most. That means it’s important to keep all of the bills and documents you receive after your injury. It’s also crucial to keep all of your medical records, in order to help your attorney calculate how much money you are owed. Be sure to maintain any documents you receive from your insurance company or the driver’s insurance; these will assist your lawyer when they start investigating your accident.
What if the accident is not the driver’s fault?
In Texas, it’s illegal to walk on some roads, which means you could be found “at fault” if you were walking on a highway, or another place where pedestrian traffic is prohibited. In some cases, the court could hold you partially at fault, which is what’s known as proportionate responsibility. As long as the pedestrian’s proportionate fault is less than 50%, the driver will still be responsible for paying some damages. In many cases, however, the driver will be held fully responsible. If you contact Chandler McNulty LLP, we will investigate thoroughly so that you know how proportionate responsibility may apply to your accident.
How long do I have before I need to contact a lawyer?
The statute of limitations in Texas for personal injury is two years. Since a pedestrian accident is a type of personal injury, that means you only have two years after the date of your accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you miss the deadline, the court will refuse to hear your case and you won’t be able to seek damages. Try to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after your injury. Our experienced pedestrian accident lawyers will keep track of the timeline and be sure your case gets a fair chance.
Will I have to go to court?
Personal injury cases are often settled before they get to court. That means that you and the other party agree to a settlement outside of the courtroom. This is often the easier and less expensive option, so the driver’s insurance company may prefer it to a trial. Regardless of whether your case is argued before a judge or settled out of court, we will fight to ensure you the compensation you need.
What if I can’t pay for a lawyer?
At Chandler McNulty LLP, our consultations are also always free, and we use a contingency fee system. That means that we won’t charge you anything for our services up front. We work hard to win your case and secure the money you need to recover fully, and we only get paid if and when you do.
Contact Chandler McNulty LLP Today
If you or a loved one has been injured while walking due to a driver’s negligence, contact the injury lawyers of Chandler McNulty LLP at (713) 997-8310 today. We look forward to helping you and your family through this difficult time. You can trust that our discussion will be completely confidential. Visit our South Loop office, call us, or email us today.