Like other Texas towns, Humble isn’t really designed for pedestrians. Cars rule the road here, like they do in nearby Houston. Anyone walking down the sidewalk or trying to cross the street is at risk of a collision and suffering serious injuries.
Fortunately, accident victims have a powerful advocate in their corner. The Stano Law Firm has provided legal services to many injured pedestrians. Regardless of how you were hurt, we can jump in and review the factual circumstances surrounding your accident. Then we will get to work holding motorists accountable when their failure to use reasonable care harms you. Please reach out to our pedestrian accident lawyer in Humble today to find out more about your ability to file a personal injury claim.
Why Motorists Hit Pedestrians
These accidents are usually avoidable. A driver who is exercising reasonable care should always stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk or at an intersection. They should also make sure that the way is clear before making a right-hand-turn on a red light. Sadly, many motorists are distracted, careless, or even reckless in their behavior. We have seen collisions because of:
- Texting and driving
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Chemical impairment
- Failure to use mirrors
- Failure to yield
- Failure to properly maintain a vehicle
- Running a red light
Accidents can happen anywhere that people walk. However, most probably occur at intersections or on the sidewalk. Those crossing a parking lot are also at risk that motorists pulling in and out of parking spots will not use sufficient care.
When a negligent motorist hits you, then you have a right to compensation. Contact The Stano Law Firm to find out more about how to bring a personal injury claim. Texas requires that most motorists carry insurance, and the policy should cover a pedestrian accident.
The Importance of Prompt Medical Care
Pedestrians are fully exposed while walking. Unlike those riding in a car, pedestrians have no buffer between them and the vehicle that slams into them. For this reason, injuries tend to be very severe, and some of the worst include:
- Fractures. Pedestrians often break their leg, knee, foot, pelvis, or skull. Some pedestrians might be thrown into traffic, where another vehicle runs over them.
- Organ injuries. Internal organ damage is hard to see, but you might soon show symptoms of injury to lungs, kidney, heart, or intestines. Internal bleeding often leads to crashing blood pressure and stress on the heart.
- Spinal column injuries. Any injury to the back can damage the spinal column. You might fracture vertebrae or herniate a disc. Other injuries damage the spinal cord and result in impaired sensation and movement.
- Head injuries. A pedestrian might suffer a moderate or severe traumatic brain injury and be unconscious for several minutes. These injuries can impaired memory, movement, speech, and behavior.
Prompt medical care serves several purposes. First, you improve the possibility of getting well. Without treatment, even minor injuries can degenerate until you are disabled. Many injuries are also possibly life-threatening, such as brain injuries, which might require emergency surgery.
Second, prompt treatment begins to create a paper trail. When you sue for compensation, you will need to show how the accident injured you, and medical records are important pieces of evidence.
Third, receiving prompt treatment helps counter any claim you are responsible for your pain. Accident victims must mitigate the harm they suffer, so you should go to the hospital at the earliest opportunity.
Can You Receive Compensation for a Pedestrian Crash?
When we meet with accidents victims, we always review the facts to determine fault. If you can blame a negligent motorist for the crash, you can seek monetary damages for a variety of losses, such as:
- Medical care. You should receive compensation for all past and present medical treatment, including surgery, diagnostic tests, appointments, prescription medication, and rehabilitation. If you suffered permanent injuries, you should request money for future medical expenses.
- Lost wages. You should seek replacement of all lost wages if you missed work. You should also seek future lost earnings if your disability requires that you change jobs or stop working entirely.
- Pain and suffering. Bodily injuries cause intense pain, which can keep people up all night and unable to move around. It is difficult to keep up with hobbies or enjoy life when you experience pain.
- Mental anguish. Accidents often lead to mental distress, including post-traumatic stress disorder, irritability, depression, and anxiety.
Your compensation will depend on the evidence of your suffering and disability, as well as other factors. We also want to know what kind of insurance the driver has. Often, the policy limit on the insurance policy represents the maximum amount you can receive because the driver does not have other assets.
Texas Laws Regarding Pedestrians
The Texas Transportation Code, Chapter 552 contains rules for pedestrians and motorists. Always follow these rules to reduce the odds of a collision. Also, the driver could point to your violation of one of these rules as proof that you are potentially responsible for the crash:
- Section 552.001. Pedestrians must obey traffic control signals at marked and unmarked crosswalks.
- Section 552.002. Motorists must yield to pedestrians crossing with a “Walk” sign. Pedestrians can’t start across when a “Wait” or “Don’t Walk” sign is showing.
- Section 552.003. Motorists must stop and yield the right of way to pedestrians who are legally in the crosswalk.
- Section 552.005. If you cross somewhere other than a crosswalk, you must yield to a vehicle on the highway.
- Section 552.006. Pedestrians should use the sidewalk if one is available. If there is no sidewalk, then you should walk on either the left-hand side of the road or facing oncoming traffic.
- Section 552.008. Motorists must use due care to avoid a collision, which might include sounding the horn to alert a pedestrian of their presence. Motorists also must be especially careful around children or a confused adult.
We encourage all pedestrians and motorists to refresh their memories of what is required by reading this chapter.
The Statute of Limitations for Pedestrian Accidents
The statute of limitations is the maximum amount of time a pedestrian has to file a lawsuit. In general, you have only two years from the date of the accident. That probably sounds like enough time, but many accident victims are busy with doctor’s visits and rehab.
Please contact The Stano Law Firm today. If you go past the two-year deadline, then a judge will dismiss your lawsuit. Consequently, you will find yourself without compensation and no ability to cover medical expenses or replace lost income. And the negligent driver gets away without ever being held accountable for your injuries.
An Overview of Pedestrian Accident Claims
Your pedestrian accident claim begins as soon as you are hit. Most of the evidence for the crash is there at the scene and will disappear soon after you leave for the hospital. For that reason, we recommend documenting the accident as much as possible. Get pictures of the car that hit you, speak to witnesses, and ask for insurance information from the driver.
When you reach out to our firm, we can fill in the gaps and find other evidence. For example, we might visit the accident scene and look for surveillance video, or we could request copies of the driver’s cell phone records.
When you have enough evidence to establish fault, we can submit a demand for compensation to the driver’s insurer. This kicks off the negotiation process. Ideally, an insurer will immediately agree that their driver is at fault and pay the compensation we request. In the real world, they usually make a counteroffer for less money, or they simply deny liability.
Negotiations can take several months. Disagreements about fault are common. In most cases, we can eventually reach a fair settlement amount, but in a minority of cases we must file a lawsuit to get any compensation for our clients.
A lawsuit could take a year. There is a discovery phase which usually requires that you sit for a deposition. We also depose the driver who struck you. This process requires answering questions under oath and is something we can prepare you for.
What if You Were Partially at Fault for Your Accident?
We receive this question often in pedestrian accident cases. If you were careless or took risks while out walking, then you could be partially to blame for the collision. Imagine someone who throws themselves into the crosswalk when a “Don’t Walk” sign is showing. A motorist ends up clipping them and blames the pedestrian for crossing when she shouldn’t.
According to the state’s shared responsibility law, you can’t seek compensation if you are more than 50% responsible for the accident. In other words, if you are mostly to blame, you are out of luck when it comes to receiving compensation.
If you are less than 50% to blame, you can still seek compensation, but your damages get reduced in proportion to your degree of fault. Someone who is 40% responsible will only receive 60% of their damages.
Contact Our Houston Pedestrian Accident Attorney
A collision with a motor vehicle can cause upheaval in a victim’s life. Let us assist you. Please call our law office to schedule a free consultation.