According to the latest statistics (2016) available to the United States Census Bureau, Texas is in the top ten states for population growth. As the number of people increases, the amount of traffic on our roads increases, too, bringing an increased risk of injury—especially to people traveling on foot.
Here’s what you should know about pedestrian injuries in Texas, including statistics, how accidents happen, what to do if you’ve been hurt, and how to get legal help today.
Texas Pedestrian Accident Statistics
The latest figures released by the Texas Department of Transportation show that the number of pedestrian fatalities in Texas rose by 21.5 percent in 2016, and that not a single day passed without a road-related fatality in Texas that year. Nationwide statistics are a little behind Texas numbers, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also reports that as of 2015, pedestrian accidents across the nation were overall up by 9.5 percent from the year prior.
Though bicyclists aren’t usually considered pedestrians, it’s worth mentioning that riding a bicycle in Texas was even more dangerous than walking—2016 also saw a 25 percent increase in bicyclist fatalities.
Leading Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
The leading cause of many pedestrian accidents is often simply negligence on the part of an automobile driver. Legally speaking, negligence is a failure to act with appropriate care that results in harm to another. Some of the most common causes of negligent pedestrian accidents include the following:
- Driving under the influence. No driver should ever make the choice to get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol or taking certain drugs, whether illegal or prescribed. Over ten thousand people per year die in alcohol-related crashes alone, and an intoxicated driver can easily fail to see a pedestrian, causing a deadly accident.
- Distracted driving. Quickly becoming the leading cause of any type of vehicle accident, distracted driving happens when the driver simply isn’t paying attention to the road, such as when talking on a cell phone, texting while driving, eating, or adjusting the stereo.
- Turning at intersections. Whether there is a crosswalk or not, sometimes drivers simply aren’t looking for pedestrians when turning, even when the crosswalk light indicates it’s safe for pedestrians to cross.
- Failure to stop. Not paying attention or outright ignoring traffic control devices, such as a stop sign or traffic light, can turn into a tragedy in the blink of an eye when there’s a pedestrian involved.
- Aggressive driving. A driver who is angry or under the influence of “road rage” can make terrible decisions, resulting in life-changing injuries to themselves or others on the road.
NHTSA figures show that in 2015 a pedestrian was injured by a traffic accident every 7.5 minutes, and a pedestrian life was lost every 1.6 hours, all year long. Forty-eight percent of all pedestrian deaths involved alcohol.
Liability in Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrians who have been hurt due to the negligence of someone else have the right to pursue a lawsuit in court to recover financial damages, including payment economic damages, such as:
- Emergency treatment costs and hospital bills.
- Follow-up doctor’s visits.
- Rehabilitation or physical therapy costs.
- Long-term care expenses, such as skilled nursing care.
- Lost time and wages while recovering.
- Diminished future earning capacity.
Injured parties may also be eligible to receive compensation for non-economic damages, including pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of consortium, loss of enjoyment of life due to the injury, and more. A personal injury attorney can help victims by evaluating the situation and presenting legal options, including negotiating with any insurance companies involved or pursuing a lawsuit against the person or parties responsible.
Get Legal Help Now
If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident, Wayne Wright LLP would like to hear from you today. We’re here to stand up for the legal rights of those who have been injured due to the negligence, carelessness, or recklessness of someone else, and we want to help you recover what you may be owed after your accident. To arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced legal professional in Texas, call us by phone, use our contact form to send an email, or click the live chat on this box right now to discuss your situation.