With more people beginning to walk to their destinations, pedestrian accidents are on the rise. People in the U.S. may be more inclined to walk for health purposes or environmental reasons. Seeing people walking, running and jogging is very common these days. It is estimated that every eight minutes a pedestrian is injured, and every two hours, one is fatally wounded. In 2011, more than 400 pedestrian fatalities were recorded in Texas. And due to this clear increase, the Texas Legislature is working to ensure future road projects are safe for all. Unlike some of its neighboring states, Texas has not adopted the Complete Streets proposal, which calls for all streets to be planned, designed, operated and maintained to be safe for users of all ages, abilities, no matter their form of transportation. Some cities, including some parts of Dallas, have incorporated complete street principals though.
Risks for Pedestrians
Despite the movement for safer streets for all, there are still sidewalks, crosswalks and proper signage advising motorists about heavy pedestrian areas, there are still thousands of fatalities and serious injuries. Adults older than 65 are particularly at risk, accounting for nearly 20 percent of traffic pedestrian deaths in the U.S. every year. Children walking to school or around their neighborhood, and college students racing across campus to their next class are vulnerable to being hit, too. However, there are not always sidewalks or paths to take. Some sidewalks may be torn up, uneven or difficult to walk on. Some may be closed for road works on a college campus, and pedestrians must walk closer to traffic. If this is the case, pedestrians should walk facing traffic rather than walk with the flow of traffic. The same goes for joggers and runners.
If a crosswalk signal has given a pedestrian the go-ahead, such as green signal or walk signal to cross the road, a driver must yield. But many times this does not happen because a driver is not paying attention. A pedestrian cannot simply run across a road, highway or intersection at any given time, however. Parking lots are dangerous, too, and drivers must yield to pedestrians walking across a lot.
There are endless scenarios of motor vehicle operators harming a pedestrian. A driver could be digging through her purse and look down while driving through a crosswalk and hit a pedestrian. A driver could spill their drink and look down to clean up the mess and run onto a curb and strike a pedestrian. A tourist could be mapping a location on their GPS and overlook a pedestrian strolling across the street after being given the signal to walk. A college student could be speeding to class and not notice a fellow student crossing the parking lot. A driver could be texting or adjusting their car controls in a neighborhood and hit a child running across the street chasing his ball or trailing after the family dog.
A pedestrian involved in an accident can walk away with just a few scrapes and bruises, or just a bit of shock, depending on the speed of the car and many other factors. But some can become severely wounded and disabled, while others can die.Spinal cord injuries and brain injuries can occur, injuries that can cause loss of wages and extensive medical bills that most insurance policies won’t completely cover.
Driver Responsibilities For Pedestrians
As a legal driver, one is responsible for stopping if hitting a pedestrian. If this happens, someone should immediately call 911 and wait for medical assistance. If a driver that has been found guilty fled the scene of a crime, he or she can be charged with a hit and run/leaving the scene of an accident, which is a felony. A driver who is driving while intoxicated or even texting while driving can be charged with manslaughter in the case of the death of a pedestrian.
Whatever the situation may be, you or your family member could be entitled to compensation to cover medical expenses. The guilty driver’s auto insurance policy will provide payment, but the injured pedestrian of the family of a pedestrian that has passed away, can receive payment from their own insurance policy.
There will always be negligent, careless drivers on the road, but that doesn’t mean a person shouldn’t be able to walk freely. If you or someone you know has suffered as a result of a pedestrian accident, get in touch with Amy K. VanDeLoo of the VanDeLoo Firm. Before forming the VanDeLoo Firm, Ms. VanDeloo served as an attorney for a well-known North Texas insurance agency’s litigation department, so she is schooled in the process of filing insurance claims. Pedestrian accidents are intricate, and very detailed, and that’s why you need someone as knowledgeable as Ms. VanDeLoo by your side. She will pursue every dollar that is rightfully yours, whether that calls for money for physically therapy, counseling or loss of wages. Call the VanDeLoo Firm today for a free evaluation of your case.
5700 Granite Parkway, Suite 200
Plano, Texas 75024