Corpus Christi Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
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In a collision involving a pedestrian and a motor vehicle, the pedestrian never wins. According to the Caller-Times, pedestrian fatalities accounted for half of all traffic accident deaths in Corpus Christi in a recent year. Dangers to pedestrians are by no means limited to the Coastal Bend. The Department of Transportation reported an astonishing 621 pedestrian fatalities throughout Texas in that same year. The Governors’ Highway Safety Association suggests that Texas is one of five states that, when combined, account for nearly half of all pedestrian fatalities nationwide every year.
Nationwide, the number of pedestrian accidents has seen a steady increase in the past decade. After reaching a multi-year low in that year, they have steadily climbed every year since. Last year, there were roughly 6,500 pedestrians killed in accidents across the United States. This is a sizable increase from the approximately 4,000 people killed in these accidents ten years ago.
Pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely to be killed in an accident than occupants of motor vehicles. In addition, their injuries are usually more severe since the car makes direct contact with their bodies, and there is nothing like an airbag or the outside of their own vehicle to protect them.
While many people focus on the headline number of people killed in pedestrian accidents, countless additional people suffer serious injuries in these crashes. In a year, approximately 137,000 people went to the emergency room with nonfatal injuries. Many of these people suffered short and long-term effects of their injuries.
Those statistics are unsettling. Corpus Christi residents and visitors should not have to fear for their lives every time they cross a street or walk along a road shoulder. When these tragedies strike, typically, it is a driver’s carelessness, recklessness, or inattention that leads to a pedestrian fatality or catastrophic injury. Careless drivers must be held accountable under the law. Likely, an at-fault driver will face criminal charges. Importantly, the driver will also be civilly responsible. Under civil law, pedestrian accident victims can seek compensation from those who did them and their loved ones harm.
The Patel Firm is dedicated to representing victims of Corpus Christi-area pedestrian accidents, as well as the families of those pedestrians tragically killed in and along our local roads.
Contact our experienced team of Corpus Christi Pedestrian Accident Lawyers today, and read on to find out how we can help you and your family after a pedestrian accident.
Our Representation of Injured Pedestrians and Their Families
Located in Corpus Christi, The Patel Firm represents pedestrian accident victims across Texas, who have been injured because of the wrongful actions of others. We whole-heartedly believe citizens facing an unexpected and devastating tragedy deserve the strongest legal support available.
Attorney Minesh J. Patel founded our firm with a commitment to helping victims of catastrophic injuries and tragedies recover every dollar of compensation they deserve from those who did them harm. Over the years, he and his team have fought for the rights of pedestrians injured in collisions with cars and trucks in intersections and along roadways, and for the families of those tragically killed in these accidents.
We have a strong reputation for recovering substantial damages from the parties who caused our clients’ suffering. Although we cannot guarantee your case will end in a significant financial recovery, we can promise our team will fight to protect your interests and to hold those who harmed you accountable.
The guidelines for staying safe when walking on or near a road are rather simple, widely-known, and mostly-followed. Pedestrians should always cross at designated crosswalks when available and only when the signal says it is safe. Of course, before crossing any road (including one with a crosswalk), pedestrians should look both ways. Although it may seem intuitive, pedestrians should always utilize sidewalks. When a road lacks a sidewalk, pedestrians should walk on the left side, facing into oncoming traffic, to increase t the chances of seeing and avoiding an approaching danger.
Even when pedestrians follow all of these rules, however, cars and trucks still frequently collide with them, often causing catastrophic injuries and fatalities (especially when it comes to the state of Texas). Why do motor vehicles strike pedestrians? Here are some common contributing causes of these avoidable tragedies:
- Failure to yield right-of-way. By law, motorists must yield to pedestrians in the roadway, whether a pedestrian is in a crosswalk or “jaywalking” in the middle of the road. If you are behind the wheel of a car, and you see a pedestrian in your path, the pedestrian always has the right of way. Although to some, this seems like common sense; unfortunately, drivers frequently fail to give pedestrians the courtesy. Rather, drivers charge through intersections or expect pedestrians to “get out of their way.” Tragically, that kind of careless thinking and behavior can result in serious injury or death.
- Aggressive driving. Speeding and other aggressive driving behaviors go hand-in-hand with failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians. Anyone who has ever walked along the side of the road has, at one point or another, had the frightening experience of a car speeding past. In that moment, it is apparent how little time a driver would have to stop or change course, and how instantly devastating your injuries would be if the car collided with you. Drivers must maintain a safe speed and distance when approaching and passing pedestrians. It is when drivers ignore these obligations that pedestrians get hurt.
- Inattention. One frightening thing about pedestrian accidents is that, even at low speeds, getting struck by a car will likely lead to catastrophic injuries. Because pedestrians are physically vulnerable, even a car moving slowly through an intersection can cause massive trauma to a pedestrian in its path. Driver inattention accounts for many low-speed, high-harm accidents. These days, when drivers approach an intersection their first instinct, often, is to reach for their phones to check texts or social media. Looking down at a before your car has come to a complete stop is incredibly dangerous to pedestrians, no matter how slowly the car is moving.
- Poor visibility. Anything that impairs a driver’s vision behind the wheel poses a high danger to pedestrians. Drivers need to prepare for varying weather conditions making it difficult to see pedestrians in the road. All drivers should have sunglasses handy for times when glare is high and maintain windshield wipers and defoggers to ensure visibility in wet conditions. Departments of Transportation and private landowners also have obligations to ensure sightlines stay clear of visual obstructions preventing drivers from seeing pedestrians in a crosswalk or on the shoulder. Just one blind curve or overhanging tree branch at an intersection can contribute to causing a deadly collision with a pedestrian.
Texas Pedestrian Traffic Laws
Pedestrians have the right of way in both marked and unmarked crosswalks. Practically every street corner is an unmarked crosswalk, and vehicles must stop if the pedestrian is in the same half of their roadway. In Texas, crossing between intersections is not considered illegal, and drivers must stop for these pedestrians. The only time that pedestrians need to yield to drivers is if there is a traffic signal at the crosswalk that determines when pedestrians can cross.
Texas law imposes duties on the driver to avoid colliding with pedestrians.
- Exercise the duty of care to avoid colliding with pedestrians
- Sound the horn to give a warning
- Give extra precaution when there is a child or some who appears confused on the roadway
As mentioned, when a car strikes a pedestrian, the physically vulnerable pedestrian bears the brunt of the harm. The unfortunate reality is that many pedestrian accidents end in tragic death or inflict lasting harm on the pedestrian and his or her family.
Although victims of pedestrian accidents can suffer a wide range of injuries with varying degrees of severity, here are a few of the most common catastrophic injuries pedestrians can suffer:
- Traumatic brain injury. Pedestrians face a serious risk of sustaining a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in an accident with a car. TBIs occur when a jolt, blow, or penetrating injury causes direct and indirect damage to the brain. Injuries of this nature are complex and frightening. They can cause long-term impairment of a pedestrian accident victim’s ability to walk, talk, reason, or control his or her emotions. Some brain injury accidents resolve in time with intensive therapy and medical intervention, but others leave victims with permanent loss.
- Spinal cord injury/paralysis. The violent impact with a motor vehicle can cause immediate damage to a pedestrian’s spinal cord, the bundle of nerves that send messages from the brain to the body. A spinal cord injury often results in permanent paralysis of some portion of the victim’s body. In these cases, victims and their families must shoulder the enormous emotional and financial cost of adapting to a life transformed by paralysis.
- Severe orthopedic injuries. It is common for pedestrians who have been struck by motor vehicles to sustain complex bone fractures, severe soft-tissue tears, and other orthopedic injuries. While typically not life-threatening, these injuries can require months or even years of rehabilitation, and often leave accident victims permanently disabled.
- Crushed limbs and traumatic amputations. In particularly traumatic pedestrian accidents, a vehicle may run over a pedestrian’s limb, crushing it or separating it from the victim’s body. A victim who survives these horrific, life-threatening accidents with only the loss of a limb, will still face a lifetime of disability, and, more often than not, chronic pain.
Of course, these are just a few types of injuries a collision with a motor vehicle can cause a pedestrian. No matter how a pedestrian accident injured you or a loved one, the team at The Patel Firm wants to help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Pedestrian accident victims and their families endure excruciating physical and emotional pain and suffer large and unexpected financial burdens. While it is impossible to plan for such a devastating life event, if you confront a tragedy, follow these steps to protect your wellbeing and legal rights.
Get Medical Care
Most pedestrian accident victims go from the accident scene to the nearest trauma center by ambulance. If you sustain injuries in a pedestrian accident that you can “walk away” from, do not make the mistake of skipping an immediate trip to the doctor. Some serious and life-threatening injuries do not show immediate symptoms. Visit a doctor right away to rule out any injuries that may not be readily apparent. Not only does seeing a doctor protect your well-being, but it also generates records of your post-accident medical care that may be critical in a future legal action.
Pedestrian accident victims may not have an immediate opportunity to preserve evidence, but their loved ones need to do so as soon as possible. Take photographs of the accident scene. Find out as much as possible about the driver of the motor vehicle involved. Obtain a copy of the police report. Look for any nearby security cameras that might have recorded the accident and ask the owner not to delete the footage. And, of course, keep all paperwork generated by medical care received after the accident and any additional bills and invoices for expenses incurred because of the accident. This evidence may prove very useful down the road in proving a case for damages.
Be Careful When Talking to Insurance Companies
Insurance companies play a role in nearly all pedestrian accident matters. For example, the victim’s health insurer will likely pay for some of the costs of care. As a result, it will be difficult to entirely avoid contact with insurance companies after a pedestrian accident. If you have to speak with a representative from your or your loved one’s insurance carrier after a pedestrian accident, keep the discussion focused on the basic facts. Do not say anything that someone could interpret as an admission that the accident was your or your loved one’s fault.
If someone calls from an insurance company that covers someone else involved in the accident, be very careful about talking to them. A phone call from an insurance company other than your own means one thing: they are looking for a way to minimize the insurance company’s financial exposure to the accident. It is best not to engage with them in any kind of conversation about the accident. Do not say “yes” to any “quick” settlement he or she offers you or your loved one. These are tactics designed to trick you into giving up your rights to compensation. Politely decline to speak with the caller and direct them to communicate with your lawyer.
Be Careful When Posting to Social Media
You should also assume that the insurance company will watch what you post online. An insurance company is looking for any sign that they can use against you, including you not being as injured as you say. If you say anything about the accident on social media, you should assume that the insurance company could find a way to access it. While your insurance claim or lawsuit is pending, do not post anything on social media.
Meet With an Experienced Corpus Christi Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
In the immediate aftermath of a devastating pedestrian accident, you and your loved ones are not alone. Having experienced legal counsel by your side will ensure you make informed, careful decisions to protect your rights to compensation. As soon as you are able, schedule a meeting with an experienced pedestrian accident attorney. We will discuss the facts and circumstances of the accident, the resulting injuries, and what you need to do to protect your rights and hold the person at fault for the accident accountable. The sooner you meet with an attorney, the sooner he and his team can get to work on your behalf.
If you are worried about the cost getting in the way of affording an attorney, we have one word for you: Don’t. As your pedestrian accident attorney, we work for you on a contingency basis. This means that not only is your consultation free, but you also owe us nothing for our services unless we successfully help you recover financially from your injuries. You do not need to write us a retainer check, nor will you see hourly bills throughout your case. We are paid out of the proceeds of your settlement or jury award if you succeed.
These days people are walking everywhere, whether for pleasure or exercise. Pedestrian numbers have gone up by 6 percent in the last five years. More people are moving to urban areas and getting rid of their cars as “walkability” has become a major focus of life. This means more people on the sidewalks and crossing streets. You can expect this trend to continue in Texas long into the future as urban areas are gaining in popularity and more people take to the sidewalks.
However, despite the many benefits, walking can also be a dangerous activity. Tragedically, data showed that over ten years, the number of annual pedestrian deaths in the United States increased by 35.7 percent. That amounts to more than 13 pedestrian fatalities per day. Children, older adults, and those of lower socioeconomic status are especially vulnerable to being struck by a motor vehicle.
States vary widely in pedestrian fatalities. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, five states (Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, and Texas) accounted for 47 percent of all pedestrian deaths.
Texas saw a 5 percent increase over the most recent years for which data is available, from 297 pedestrian fatalities to 313. According to the Dangerous By Design report from Smart Growth America, Texas ranked eighth in the list of 20 most dangerous cities for walking.
What factors contribute to Corpus Christi pedestrian accidents?
Drivers must exercise reasonable care. Failure to do so is negligence. However, the more people engage in risky behaviors, the more likely an accident will occur. However, if a motor vehicle hits a pedestrian, the pedestrian is almost always the one left severely injured or dead.
Common factors contributing to negligent driving include:
- Distracted driving. Collisions caused by distracted driving are on the rise. In just one year, out of 540,561 Texas motor vehicle crashes, 17.6 percent were caused by distracted driving ( inattention, texting, or other cell phone use). These collisions resulted in 394 deaths.
- Impaired driving. Nearly half of pedestrian fatalities involved driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Speeding. Driving over the speed limit is a leading cause of accidents. It plays a part in nearly 55 percent of accidents in the United States. A speeding driver has less time to react; it takes longer to stop, and the car hits a pedestrian with much more force.
- Drowsy driving. Driving while fatigued is similar to driving under the influence. Drivers’ ability to pay attention, reaction times, awareness of hazards, and judgment all become worse.
- Failure to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians. Even if the pedestrian has the right-of-way, a driver who fails to yield may hit them.
- Failure to come to a complete stop. Drivers who roll through stop signs or do not stop before making a right turn can hit pedestrians stepping into the intersection.
- Failure to signal before turning. Even if a pedestrian takes proper precautions when crossing the road, a driver who turns without signaling may cause an accident.
- Failure to obey traffic signals or signs. When drivers fail to obey all traffic signs and signals, they put pedestrians at risk.
Failure to obey school regulations. Anyone in the vicinity of a school must obey school regulations and use extreme caution, especially when school begins or ends.
What laws protect Corpus Christi pedestrians?
Transportation Code Chapter 552 contains the rules of the road for pedestrians. Contrary to popular belief, the pedestrian does not always have the right of way. Just like drivers, pedestrians have certain duties and protections as provided by the law.
Pedestrians must obey traffic control and crosswalk signals. Pedestrians may only cross a roadway when they receive a green signal or a walk sign. Pedestrians with yellow, red, wait, or do-not-walk signals may not cross the roadway. Drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians who have the walk or green signal within a marked or unmarked crosswalk.
If there is a pedestrian in a crosswalk that does not have traffic control signals, the driver must yield the right-of-way. As the pedestrian crosses, vehicles on the same side of the road must yield, and vehicles on the other side of the road must stop if the pedestrian is drawing near at an unsafe speed. It is illegal for a vehicle to pass another vehicle that stops at a crosswalk.
It is illegal to walk in the roadway if a sidewalk is available and accessible. Walking on the road is only permitted if there is no sidewalk or the sidewalk is blocked. If there is no sidewalk, the pedestrian must walk on the road, keep to the left side of the roadway, facing oncoming traffic.
Crossing somewhere other than an intersection is particularly dangerous. Most pedestrian accidents occur in non-intersections. If an intersection or crosswalk is available, the pedestrian must use it to cross the road. Otherwise, the pedestrian must yield the right of way to coming vehicles. Crossing an intersection diagonally is only allowed if a traffic control device permits such an action.
Who may be liable for Corpus Christi pedestrian injuries?
Texas has a financial responsibility law that requires all drivers to carry a minimum amount of auto liability insurance. This coverage helps pay for medical care, vehicle repairs, and other damages victims suffer in a car crash, however, the at-fault driver may also be held personally liable for anything beyond the policy limits. In a pedestrian accident, identify all parties who may be at fault. The driver of the car that struck the pedestrian is the most obvious at-fault party.
However, many other parties may have contributed to the accident, including:
- The local government. Road design often prioritizes driving over pedestrian safety. When an accident happens because of malfunctioning traffic control devices, poorly designed crosswalks, or dangerous conditions, the victim may have a cause of action against the appropriate government entity.
- A product manufacturer. If a defective device, such as a faulty pedestrian detection system in a motor vehicle, caused the accident, a victim may hold a product manufacturer liable.
Another person or entity. Usually, pedestrians must enter the street in the crosswalk. If the victim was injured because there was no crosswalk available, others may bear some responsibility, such as a construction company that did not provide a way for pedestrians to cross safely during road repairs.
What is negligence in Corpus Christi pedestrian accident claims?
Negligence is typically defined as “A failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.” Negligence may consist of acts or omissions. If another’s negligence caused or contributed to an accident, resulting in injuries, he or she could be held liable for damages.Four key factors establish negligence in a Corpus Christi pedestrian crash case:
- The person at fault owed the victim a duty of care. All vehicle drivers owe a duty to use reasonable care to avoid the risk of harm to pedestrians or others on the road.
- The person at fault breached the duty of care. There are many ways to breach the duty of care, such as drunk driving, driving distracted, speeding, or other types of reckless driving.
- The negligence of the party at fault caused the victim’s injuries. When the party at fault breached the duty of care, they caused the victim’s injuries.
- The victim suffered harm as a result of the negligence. It is important for a victim to keep records, such as medical records, to prove the nature and extent of their losses.
What common injuries might a Corpus Christi pedestrian accident cause?
When driving, the car absorbs most of the impact of the crash, not the driver or passengers. However, a pedestrian has little or no protection. When a car hits a pedestrian, the pedestrian is likely to be badly injured. The faster the car is going, the greater the risk of severe injury. Even when a car is traveling at a moderate speed, there is an 85 percent risk of a pedestrian fatality. Injuries to the head, chest, abdomen, and extremities are likely in a pedestrian accident.Common injuries include:
- Head trauma. Injuries to the head and brain may be minor, but in many cases, they are catastrophic.
- Spinal cord injuries. The nerves in the spinal cord transmit messages between the brain and the body. Spinal cord injuries may be catastrophic and can lead to paralysis or other permanent forms of disability.
- Internal injuries. These may not be immediately visible but may have serious consequences. Internal injuries are generally hemorrhages of organs or the vascular system that are caused by trauma and can lead to blood loss and permanent damage.
- Pelvic injuries. Pedestrians that get hit by a car may suffer from various types of pelvic fractures.
- Bone fractures. These are common injuries in pedestrian accidents and can lead to complications such as nerve damage.
- Death. Sometimes, traumatic injuries are so severe that they are fatal, and the victim might die on the scene or later after a medical team attempted life-saving treatment.
What compensation can the victim of a Corpus Christi pedestrian accident recover?
The victim of a pedestrian accident will be left facing pain and possibly emotional and psychological issues. They will probably also have to deal with enormous medical expenses and lost wages.
An injured victim may recover:
- Medical expenses: These include all current and future expenses reasonably related to the injury, such as emergency treatment, hospital bills, surgery, ongoing doctor bills, rehabilitation, and other medically necessary expenses.
- Adaptive equipment: After a serious accident, many people need adaptive equipment such as wheelchairs, ramps, and other modifications to their homes and vehicles.
- Current and future lost income: The victim may recover compensation for lost wages. Some injuries are so severe that they end the person’s career permanently.
- Pain and suffering: This includes compensation for any physical or mental pain caused by an injury.
- Mental anguish: The victim may receive compensation for types of mental or emotional distress such as fear, anxiety, or depression.
- Loss of consortium: This term refers to the loss of companionship and fellowship of family relationships.
- Funeral expenses: If the pedestrian dies from the accident, surviving family members may seek compensation to cover funeral costs.
In some cases, the court may award punitive damages or exemplary damages.
What should you do if you have suffered a Corpus Christi pedestrian accident?
If a pedestrian accident injured you, seek immediate medical treatment. You may think that your injuries are minor or non-existent, but some symptoms do not become apparent for days or even weeks. Delaying treatment may cause your condition to worsen or prolong your recovery. Proper medical diagnosis and care are also important if you pursue a lawsuit. In the aftermath of the accident, you may be in shock, traumatized, or badly injured.
However, if you can and it is safe to do so, take pictures of your injuries, the car, and the accident scene, including traffic signs and signals. Note any video cameras in the area that may have recorded the accident. Obtain contact information from any witnesses. If you cannot do so, ask someone else to do it on your behalf.
After the accident, avoid discussing the accident with anyone except for law enforcement officers, your own attorney, medical personnel, and your insurance company. Resist the temptation to post pictures or comments about the accident on social media. Do not accept settlement offers or sign documents without first obtaining legal advice.
Were you in a Corpus Christi pedestrian accident?
The Texas Department of Transportation is funding a statewide pedestrian coalition and a Statewide Pedestrian Forum to address pedestrian safety. Unfortunately, such measures come too late for those who have already suffered catastrophic or fatal injuries. If this applies to you, it is wise to consider speaking with our experienced Corpus Christi pedestrian accident lawyers as soon as possible. All states have a time limit, known as the statute of limitations, to file a case. If you were injured in a Corpus Christi pedestrian accident, act quickly. Our Corpus Christi pedestrian accident attorneys can help you understand your options.
Your Corpus Christi Pedestrian Accident Attorneys
Attorney Minesh J. Patel and his team at The Patel Firm want to help you recover every dollar of compensation you deserve for the injuries and losses you sustained in a Corpus Christi-area pedestrian accident. Call us today at (361) 400-2036 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
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The Patel Firm Injury Accident Lawyers
1129 Airline Road
Corpus Christi, Texas 78412