According to the United States Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA), more than 4,000 people are killed every year and nearly 70,000 people are injured. One of the most common reasons for pedestrians being involved in a serious or fatal accident is when a pedestrian steps into the road and is struck by a vehicle. However, these accidents are often more complex than just simply blaming the driver. When it comes to determining who is liable in these types of accidents it is important to look at all of the facts and events that lead up to the accident to determine who, if anyone, is able to recover for their injuries and damages.
Reasons Why Drivers Miss Seeing Pedestrians
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines a pedestrian as “any person on foot, walking, jogging, hiking, sitting, or lying down…” Pedestrians, like motorists, have certain rights and duties. Most people are aware that pedestrians have the right-of-way in crosswalks, however, this is subject to their duty to comply with traffic lights and signals.
- Not using crosswalks – this is perhaps the biggest reason or pedestrian dart out accidents. Pedestrians are expected to use the crosswalks when they want to cross the street, however, in many cases they do not. This can cause a problem for drivers who may not be able to see them properly, and
- Not walking on the sidewalks – pedestrians have an obligation to use the sidewalk where one is available to them. If there is not a sidewalk a pedestrian generally is required to walk along the shoulder of the road facing traffic, so that they can see oncoming cars.
- Wearing dark clothing – While there are no laws that dictate what a person has to wear, pedestrians who are wearing dark clothing, particularly at night, present a problem for many motorists and drivers who may not be able to clearly see a pedestrian when they cross the road.
- Walking while intoxicated – Pedestrians who have had too much to drink can potentially cause an accident. Alcohol can affect a person’s ability to balance and thus can cause a pedestrian to fall off the sidewalk and into traffic.
There are a variety of other reasons why a pedestrian may be involved in a dart-out accident, however, what is not always clear is who is to blame for the accident and the resulting injuries.
Determining who is to Blame for a Pedestrian Dart Out Accident
To begin, determining who is at fault for a pedestrian dart out accident is not always clear. While many people assume that the pedestrian always has the right of way, this is not always true. As noted above, a pedestrian has a duty to obey traffic signals and signs, and in the event that they do not follow them and an accident then occurs, this would be a strong indication that they are at least partially to blame, or at fault, for the accident. Determining fault for an accident is usually based on the tort theory of negligence. As it applies to drivers and other motorists: a driver has a duty to drive like a reasonable and prudent driver under the circumstances. Likewise, a pedestrian has a duty to walk and behave like a reasonable and prudent pedestrian under the given circumstances. However, accidents are not always a cut and dry. A pedestrian who did not use a crosswalk may be partial to blame for an accident because it is considered not reasonable or prudent for them to cross the street in the absence of a crosswalk. However, the driver who was involved in the accident may also be partial to blame for the accident. If the driver was driving faster than the posted speed limit, this can be a strong indication to the court that the driver is also partially to blame.
Under Texas personal injury statutes, either the pedestrian or the motorist is entitled to seek compensation for their injuries and property damage even if they were partially at fault. Texas can still seek compensation for your injuries even if you were partly to blame. A pedestrian or driver who was involved in a dart out accident can still seek compensation for their injuries as long as they were not more than 50 percent to blame for an accident. This is sometimes known as the 51 percent rule. Additionally, if you are determined to be than 50 percent to blame, you can still be awarded compensation from the driver who hit you, but your percentage of liability will be deducted from your final settlement.
While these numbers seem very clear it is not easy to get to these numbers, and this is why hiring an experienced Arlington personal injury attorney can be in your best interest. The jury is the party who decides exactly what percentage each party was at fault. The jury reaches this determination by examining evidence set forth during trial. Because a meager one percentage point can separate a person from recovering for their injuries and being barred from recovery it is important to collect and to admit strong evidence on your behalf or against the other party.
If you have been Involved in a Pedestran Accident, Contact an Arlington Personal Injury Lawyer Today
We understand that this is a lot of information to take in, and that you probably have many questions about your legal rights and responsibilities as an accident victim in Texas. Queenan Law encourages all accident and injury victims to contact us about their cases, including during evenings and weekends. Kevin will determine whether he can help, and if not, he will personally refer you to a reputable colleague whom he believes is better suited for your case. For a free, completely confidential legal consultation with Kevin, call Queenan Law right away at (817) 476-1797.