There is an old saying, “pedestrians always have the right of way.” It is fair to surmise that most drivers and pedestrians believe this saying to be true, meaning that cars, trucks and motorcycles should always yield to pedestrians. In reality, this saying is only partially true. The accurate saying reads, “pedestrians generally have the right of way when they are in a crosswalk.” Under Texas law, pedestrians can recover compensation for their injuries only if they can prove that their injuries are the result of someone else’s negligence. Our Houston pedestrian accident lawyers will fight for you and ensure that you receive the compensation you are entitled to.
To establish negligence in a pedestrian accident, the injured person (i.e., the “plaintiff”) must prove that the driver: (i) owed a legal duty to the plaintiff under the circumstances; (ii) failed to fulfill (i.e, breached) that legal duty through action or inaction; (iii) that the breach of that duty was the cause of the accident or injury to the plaintiff; and (iv) that the plaintiff sustained damages.
Pedestrian-vehicle accident cases are determined by which party or, to what extent, each party, breached its duty of care. In Texas, both drivers and pedestrians owe a duty to exercise “reasonable care” towards one another. The most frequent examples of drivers failing to exercise reasonable care include driving while fatigued, speeding, distracted driving, failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, failing to properly maintain a vehicle, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, running lights and failing to exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian. In addition, the law imposes an even higher duty of care on drivers in cases involving children. Courts have found that drivers must exercise a greater degree of care when they know or should know that children may be present (e.g., when driving by schools or residential areas).
That said, pedestrians also owe drivers a duty of care. Accordingly, a court may limit a pedestrian’s ability to recover damages if it finds that the pedestrian was also negligent. Under the Texas Transportation Code pedestrians must refrain from crossing the street unless there is a green light or WALK signal. In addition, (i) pedestrians must stay on the left side of road facing oncoming traffic if there is no sidewalk provided; and (ii) pedestrians are not permitted to walk along roadways when there is a provided sidewalk.
The most common example in which a court finds a pedestrian negligent involves a pedestrian being struck while jaywalking into the path of an oncoming vehicle. In this case, the pedestrian’s failure to satisfy his or her duty of care was the proximate cause of his or injuries. Accordingly, the court would not allow the pedestrian to recover for his or her injuries. Additionally, the driver could recover for property damage done to his or her vehicle.
Despite the fact that the law states that pedestrians can only recover when their injuries are a result of the other party’s negligence, injured pedestrians win their cases in the vast majority of situations. If you are a pedestrian who has been injured or if you are a driver who has injured a pedestrian, it is highly advised that you obtain legal counsel immediately to maximize your likelihood of success. The Houston pedestrian accident attorneys at Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC are well versed in the representation of both pedestrians and vehicles that have been involved in accidents. Assessing fault in such accidents is difficult and requires a thorough understanding of the complexity and intricacies of pedestrian accidents. We can help you gather and organize all of the relevant evidence to make the most compelling argument for your recovery.