Whenever a person is hit by a car while walking on the roadway, serious injuries and pedestrian fatalities are the common result. This is because pedestrians have very little protection compared to other road users.
In 2022, more than 5,700 pedestrian accidents happened in Texas, in which at least 800 pedestrians were killed. Such a high number of pedestrian accident cases is concerning. To reduce pedestrian accidents and limit the number of pedestrian deaths that occur every year, it is important to understand the common causes of these types of traffic crashes.
Many pedestrian accidents happen due to driver negligence. When this is the case, the law in Texas entitles the victims to seek compensation from the negligent driver. An experienced Houston pedestrian injury law firm can help injured victims fight for their rights in court.
Where Do Most Fatal Pedestrian Accidents Occur?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 79% of all pedestrian accidents happen in urban areas. Of these, most pedestrian injuries are caused by pedestrians walking or crossing open roadways.
At night is the most dangerous time to be walking on the roadway, with up to 76% of all reported pedestrian accidents occurring during this period.
The Main Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
One of the first steps a personal injury lawyer will take when seeking compensation through a pedestrian accident claim is determining the cause of the accident.
The most common causes of pedestrian accidents in Texas include the following:
A huge number of pedestrian fatalities happen due to distracted driving. Drivers who use their cell phones, eat, change radio stations, or talk to passengers in the back seat are usually too distracted to notice pedestrians crossing at designated crosswalks or walking along the roadway.
The scary thing about such accidents is that since the driver is not aware of the pedestrian, they may crash into them without even slowing down, which can result in serious injury to the victim.
Pedestrians Walking in Wrong Areas of the Roadway
In urban areas, it is common for roadways to have marked and unmarked crosswalks where pedestrians can cross safely. However, due to impatience and complacency, some pedestrian deaths occur when people cross the road in the wrong area and without considering the surrounding traffic. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also advise on whose fault is it if a self driving car hits a pedestrian.
Jaywalking is another common practice that places pedestrians at a high risk of being hit by oncoming traffic. This involves pedestrians walking, sitting, running, or lying down in areas where they are not supposed to. If a motor vehicle driver fails to see the person on the road, they may be hit and suffer catastrophic injuries.
Failing to Yield Right of Way
Most personal injury lawsuits involving pedestrian accidents are caused by either a pedestrian or the driver failing to yield the right of way. There are road rules that govern the traffic flow which all road users must comply with.
If a person steps onto the roadway in front of oncoming traffic, or a driver refuses to yield to pedestrians crossing at intersections, serious accidents can happen.
One of the reasons why walking on the roads at night is so dangerous is because of poor visibility. Many pedestrians assume that the drivers can see them when they step onto the road but that is not always the case.
Although it is the driver's duty to watch out for other road users, many circumstances can limit their visibility, such as:
Pedestrians wearing dark clothes at night
Broken-down vehicles on the side of the road
Poor weather conditions, such as rain, snow, or mist
Bright lights from other cars shining in either the driver's or the pedestrian's eyes
Poor vehicle headlights
Traffic Signals Not Working
Many motor vehicle accidents are caused by traffic lights that are not working. When road users meet at a busy intersection, they rely on traffic signals to control the flow of traffic through that section. If the lights are not working, traffic accidents can be caused when both pedestrians and drivers try to go through the intersection at the same time.
Disregarding Traffic Laws
Traffic signs, designated crosswalks, pedestrian crossings, giving right of way, and other rules of the road are part of the many traffic laws that have been implemented over time to help reduce the number of pedestrian accidents that occur daily.
However, it is unfortunate that many road users choose to disregard these traffic laws and as such, end up causing serious accidents that sometimes lead to pedestrian injury or death.
Drugs, Alcohol, and Medication
Driving while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or strong medication is a very serious offense in Texas. It has led to a huge number of pedestrian accidents and is one of the first things that police officers, medical professionals, and lawyers consider whenever they are dealing with a pedestrian accident.
The chances of survival for a pedestrian involved in an accident with a speeding vehicle are very low. In such cases, the victim is often hit with such force that catastrophic injuries and fatalities are likely. This is why the likelihood that speeding is the reason behind a wrongful death claim by families of pedestrian accident victims is very high.
It is not only the drivers that need to take reasonable care when driving on the roads. In the same way that distracted drivers can cause accidents, pedestrians who do not pay attention can also easily step in front of oncoming traffic.
Who Is At-fault for a Pedestrian Accident?
After looking at all the above possible reasons for a pedestrian accident to occur, it is clear that determining who the at-fault party is can be difficult.
Texas modified comparative negligence laws make the process even more complicated. The best way for a victim injured in a pedestrian accident to handle the situation is to seek the help of an experienced attorney. They can help with questions like Do pedestrians always have the right of way in Texas?
Victims Need an Experienced Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
The law in Texas allows victims of pedestrian accidents to sue the at-fault driver for wrongful death damages, cost of medical bills, and lost wages.
With many years going to war for the rights of injured pedestrians in Texas, Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can fight to ensure victims get the compensation they deserve.
One of the top-rated Texas law firms can be reached for a free case evaluation.