Why You Should Consult Austin Pedestrian Accident Lawyers

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2021, one in six people who died in crashes were pedestrians. In 2015, 5,376 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in the United States. This averages to one crash-related pedestrian death every 1.6 hours. Additionally, almost 129,000 pedestrians were treated in emergency departments for non-fatal crash-related injuries in 2015. Pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to be killed in a car crash on each trip.

Poor property maintenance, sidewalk or parking lot defects and/or construction or other debris on walkways cause or contribute to these accidents. If you have been injured, our experienced Austin pedestrian accident lawyers can help.

This shows that pedestrians are among the most vulnerable road users, as they have no physical protection in the event of a collision with a vehicle. Pedestrian safety measures are comprehensively implemented to ensure the safety of pedestrians and reduce accidents and injuries involving road users. Whether a vehicle or property defect causes an accident or injury, a pedestrian may recover damages for the injuries suffered if someone else’s negligence caused or contributed to the incident. Negligence is the legal term for the failure to do (or not to do) something that a reasonable person would, in a similar situation, to protect others from foreseeable risks.

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Austin pedestrian accident lawyers can evaluate the circumstances of the accident to determine liability. They assess whether someone else’s negligence, such as reckless driving or failure to obey traffic laws, led to the accident and subsequent injury.

To establish negligence in a pedestrian accident, the injured person (the “plaintiff”) must prove that the person at fault (the “defendant”):

  • Owed a legal duty to the plaintiff under the circumstances; and
  • Failed to fulfill (“breached”) that legal duty through conduct or action (or through a failure to act); and
  • Caused an accident or injury involving the plaintiff; and
  • Harmed or injured the plaintiff as a result.

The outcome of each case will depend upon a careful analysis of the facts of each accident as they relate to each of these essential elements. When a pedestrian injury occurs, there may be more than one party with legal responsibility for the accident. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, those with potential liability include:

  • The driver of a vehicle that strikes a pedestrian;
  • The party responsible for maintaining the sidewalk, roadway, or parking lot where the accident occurred;
  • The pedestrian himself or herself.

The early involvement of Austin pedestrian accident lawyers with experience helping injured people is the best way to assess and protect any potential legal claim.

Pedestrian – Vehicle Accidents

Usually, any recovery in a pedestrian negligence case involving a motor vehicle will hinge upon the exact duty of care owed by those involved. Both drivers and pedestrians must adhere to the laws of the road and exercise reasonable care. In many cases, it may seem obvious who was careless or negligent, but the courts look to a number of factors in applying the facts of each case to the elements of a “negligence” claim. A person who negligently operates a vehicle may be required to pay damages for personal and property damage caused by that negligence.

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Driver’s Duty of Care

Generally, people who operate automobiles must exercise “reasonable care under the circumstances.” Any failure to use reasonable care is considered negligence. A few of the most common factors contributing to driver negligence are:

Driver’s Special Duty of Care to Children

Children between the ages of 5 and 9 are at the greatest risk of being hit by a motor vehicle. Children are smaller and less visible and their conduct is unpredictable. The law imposes a higher duty of care on drivers when it comes to children. The very presence of children is a warning of danger to the driver to exercise greater care. Thus, a motor vehicle driver must exercise a greater degree of care when they know or should know that small children are at play in the immediate area. This is especially true when one is driving in the vicinity of a school and residential districts where children are known to play.

Pedestrian’s Duty of Care

A pedestrian must exercise reasonable care for his or her own safety. The care required of the pedestrian must be in proportion to the danger to be avoided and the consequences that might be reasonably anticipated. Contributory negligence may be assessed against a pedestrian if they failed to exercise such care and directly contributed to the cause of their own injuries.

A few of the most common factors contributing to pedestrian negligence are:

  • Pedestrians who ignore the “walk” signal at an intersection
  • Pedestrians who enter a stream of traffic and disrupt the flow
  • Pedestrians who fail to use marked crosswalks
  • Pedestrians who “dart” in front of a vehicle

Other Pedestrian Accidents

The legal area of premises liability controls claims for losses based on the actions of property owners or possessors, including most non-vehicular related pedestrian accidents. In most states, those in control of land have a duty to maintain their property and a duty to warn people of hazards on it.

Questions Asked of our Austin Pedestrian Accident Lawyers

I’ve been hurt in a pedestrian accident and I want to file a claim for my injuries. What’s the first thing I should do?

There are a number of things you can do in the first few days and weeks after an accident to protect your right to compensation, such as:

  1. Write down as much as you can about the accident itself, your injuries, and any other losses (such as wages) you’ve suffered as a result of the accident;
  2. Make notes of conversations that you have with people involved in the accident or the injury claim;
  3. Preserve evidence of who caused the accident and what damage was done by collecting physical items and taking photographs;
  4. Locate people who witnessed the accident and who might be able to help you prove your case;
  5. Notify anyone you think might be responsible for the accident and tell them about your intention to file a claim for your injuries, especially if a government agency or employee may be involved; and
  6. Contact experienced Austin pedestrian accident lawyers to evaluate and pursue your claim.

What if I was partially at fault for the accident?

You may bear some responsibility for the accident, which may reduce your eventual recovery. For example, if you were 50% at fault, your recovery may be reduced by 50%.

As a pedestrian, what duty is placed upon me to avoid accidents?

Every pedestrian has to obey traffic laws and reasonably observe traffic conditions. Generally speaking, pedestrians should not begin or continue their forward course across a street if they are aware of the approach of a vehicle.

How soon after I am injured do I have to file a lawsuit?

Every state has certain time limits called “statutes of limitations,” which govern the amount of time you have to file a personal injury lawsuit. In some states, you may have as little as one year to file a lawsuit arising out of an automobile accident.  In Texas, it is usually two years, but you don’t want to wait that long if you are going to pursue a claim. If you miss the deadline for filing your case, your claims can be dismissed. Consequently, it is important to talk with Austin pedestrian accident lawyers as soon as you receive or discover an injury.

What damages are recoverable in pedestrian accident cases?

The injured party may recover damages for past and future medical expenses, past and future wage loss, past and future pain and suffering. If the defendant’s conduct is extreme, punitive damages may be awarded. If the pedestrian dies, his or her survivors are entitled to recover full compensation for the economic losses that result from the pedestrian’s death, as well as damages that stem from the loss of societal care and comfort of the decedent.

Do I need to retain an attorney?

It is almost always a good idea to involve Austin pedestrian accident lawyers because there usually will be some questions related to fault and comparative negligence. Expert witnesses may need to be retained to reconstruct the accident factors and help determine responsibility for the accident.

A pedestrian accident attorney is crucial for collecting and handling evidence, assessing liability, and constructing strong legal arguments to support the victim’s case.

Insurance companies often challenge pedestrian accident claims to limit their financial liability. They may dispute the validity of claims or understate the severity of injuries to reduce payouts.

Pedestrian accident cases are complex due to the necessity of a deep understanding of specific laws related to transportation and personal injuries, alongside the ability to effectively prove negligence.

What should I bring to my meeting with a lawyer?

You should provide a lawyer like the Austin pedestrian accident lawyers with any documents that might be relevant to your case:

  • Police reports, for example, contain eyewitness information and details about the conditions surrounding auto accidents.
  • Copies of medical reports and bills from doctors and hospitals will help demonstrate the extent and nature of your injuries.
  • Information about the insurer of the person who caused your injury is extremely helpful, as are any photographs you have of the accident scene, your property damage, and your injury.

How does Texas employ the modified comparative negligence rule in determining liabilities?

Understanding Texas’s Modified Comparative Negligence Rule

In Texas, when determining liability in cases such as pedestrian accidents, the state uses a method known as the modified comparative negligence rule. Here’s what that means:

  • Fault Allocation: This rule considers the degree of fault of each party involved in an incident. Damages awarded in a lawsuit are adjusted based on the respective fault percentage of every party.
  • Impact on Damages: If you are involved in an accident and found to be partially at fault, the compensation you can receive will be reduced proportionally to your level of fault. For instance, if you are deemed 30% at fault, your damages will be reduced by 30%.
  • 50% Fault Threshold: One critical aspect of this rule is the 50% threshold. If you, as a plaintiff (the person who has suffered damage or injury), are found to be more than 50% at fault, you will not be eligible to recover any damages.

Due to the complexities and nuances of this law, it is highly recommended to seek the expertise of a knowledgeable pedestrian accident attorney in Austin. They can provide essential guidance and help clarify how these rules might apply to your specific situation, ensuring that your rights are adequately protected.

What are special and general damages in compensatory damages?

In the realm of compensatory damages, which are intended to cover the losses incurred by an injured party, there are two main categories: special and general damages.

Special Damages: These are specific, monetary losses that result from an injury. They are quantifiable and usually backed by receipts or estimates. Examples of special damages include:
Medical bills
Lost earnings
Out-of-pocket expenses
Costs related to property damages

General Damages: Contrasting with special damages, general damages encompass the non-monetary aspects of harm suffered. These are inherently more subjective and include compensation for:
Pain and suffering
Emotional distress
Disfigurement or scarring
Physical disability or ongoing impairment
Reduction in quality of life
Loss of companionship or consortium

Thus, while special damages relate precisely to economic losses, general damages provide remuneration for more intangible, personal impacts of an injury.

What is the role of punitive damages in personal injury settlements?

Punitive damages play a distinctive role in the landscape of personal injury law, specifically in how they are applied and what they aim to achieve. Unlike compensatory damages, which are intended to reimburse the victim for expenses such as medical bills or lost wages, punitive damages serve a different purpose. They are awarded not for the direct benefit of the victim but to penalize the wrongdoer for particularly reckless or negligent behavior.

The courts deploy punitive damages as a deterrent to prevent both the defendant and others in society from engaging in similar actions that disregard the safety and well-being of others. Typically, these damages are invoked in cases where the defendant’s actions are found to be egregiously harmful, such as in incidents resulting in life-altering injuries like severe brain injuries or permanent paralysis. By imposing punitive damages, the legal system aims to set a precedent and instill a sense of responsibility and caution in societal behavior.

What are the types of compensation that can be recovered in a pedestrian accident lawsuit?

When pursuing a lawsuit after a pedestrian accident, understanding the various forms of compensation available is crucial. Compensation in such legal actions is generally categorized into two main types: punitive damages and compensatory damages.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are awarded in cases of gross negligence where the defendant is found to have acted with reckless disregard for safety. The aim here is not just to compensate the victim but to punish the offending party and deter similar negligent actions in the future. Such damages are common in cases involving severe injuries like paralysis or significant brain injury.

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are intended to restore the financial and emotional status of the victim as much as possible. They fall into two subcategories:
Special Damages (Economic) Special damages are specific and quantifiable costs incurred by the victim:
Medical expenses related to the injury
Lost wages if the victim was unable to work
Other out-of-pocket expenses linked to the accident
Costs related to any property damage
General Damages (Non-Economic) General damages cover losses that are more difficult to assign a specific numeric value:
Pain and suffering endured due to the accident
Mental and emotional distress
Disfigurement or scarring caused by the accident
Any long-term physical disability or impairment
Decreased quality of life
Loss of companionship or consortium, impacting relationships

Understanding these types of compensations can guide victims in their pursuit for rightful settlements after enduring a pedestrian accident.

Where do pedestrian accidents occur?

Pedestrian accidents are a significant concern in various environments, each presenting unique challenges and dangers. By understanding the common locations where these incidents typically occur, both drivers and pedestrians can be more vigilant and proactive in preventing accidents.

  • Crosswalks
    Crosswalks are intended as safe paths for pedestrians to traverse roads; however, they can also be hotspots for accidents. Inattentive or reckless driving, such as failing to observe right-of-way, speeding, or getting distracted, often leads to accidents in these zones.
  • Intersections
    Intersections are another common area for pedestrian accidents. These accidents often happen while drivers execute turns and overlook pedestrians crossing the street. Complicated traffic flows and poor signage can exacerbate the risk, creating unsafe crossing conditions.
  • Parking Lots
    Often overlooked, parking lots are frequent scenes of pedestrian accidents. These incidents generally occur as drivers reverse from parking spots or drive through the lot without paying full attention. Simultaneously, pedestrians might be distracted, increasing their risk of being hit.
  • Residential Streets
    In residential neighborhoods where pedestrian traffic is heavy, accidents are prevalent. Lack of proper sidewalks, inattentive driving, or children and pets in the near vicinity increase the risk for pedestrians.
  • Rural Roads
    Rural roads pose particular challenges due to often having no sidewalks, inadequate lighting, and generally higher speed limits. Such conditions can catch drivers by surprise, not expecting pedestrian traffic in these less populated areas.
  • Urban Streets
    In busy urban settings, the volume of both pedestrian and vehicle traffic heightens the accident risks. Incidences here may include pedestrians being struck while texting and walking or vehicles failing to yield properly at busy intersections.

By recognizing these common locations for pedestrian accidents and adopting appropriate safety measures, both pedestrians and drivers can help reduce the frequency of these unfortunate occurrences.

How Can We Help in A Pedestrian Accident?

At The Traub Law Office, P.C. we specialize in assisting victims of pedestrian accidents. Our team understands the severe impact these incidents have on your health, emotions, and financial stability. We are driven to achieve justice for you, using our legal expertise to manage every aspect of your case.

Specialized Knowledge and Experience

Our attorneys are well-versed in the laws governing motor vehicle and pedestrian incidents. With years of specialized experience, we guide each client through their legal journey, advocating for their rights and addressing all concerns with precision and dedication.

Personalized Case Analysis

Every accident is unique, and so is our approach. We conduct in-depth evaluations of each case, crafting strategies tailored to the individual scenarios of our clients. Whether through amicable negotiations or vigorous courtroom battle, our aim is to secure the best possible outcome.

Dedicated Communication

We believe that strong, clear communication is essential. Our clients are kept well-informed throughout every step of the legal process. Our team offers not only professional advice but also emotional support, helping you cope with the stress of your situation.

Securing Your Compensation

Our track record speaks for itself — we’ve secured millions in compensation for our clients, helping them recover from their losses. We strive to obtain the fullest compensation possible to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

You face no financial risk when you choose The Traub Law Office, P.C.. We operate on a contingency fee basis — if we don’t win your case, you don’t pay. Plus, our initial consultation is completely free, allowing us to evaluate your case without any cost to you.

If you were involved in an accident in Texas, contact us if you are seeking help from experienced Austin pedestrian accident lawyers.

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While most of our clients hail from Austin, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Georgetown, and Pflugerville in Travis and Williamson Counties, we have also worked with clients in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. Other clients have come from Lakeway, Jollyville, Anderson Mill, Kyle, and Leander. If your accident was in Texas, we can help you. The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.
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