Houston Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Pedestrians are at a distinct disadvantage in traffic accidents and are well advised to have a dedicated Houston pedestrian accident lawyer in their corner.
Getting out and walking can be a real boost. Not only is it good for the earth but it’s also good for you, and you can avoid the hassle of parking. Further, even if you’re not an enthusiastic walker, you’re very likely a pedestrian at some point in your day (when you’re running from your parking spot to your destination, for example). When you are on foot, you’re far more susceptible to being seriously injured in a traffic accident, and the path toward regaining your health and well-being can be exceptionally challenging. If a motorist’s negligence leaves you injured in a pedestrian accident, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Houston pedestrian accident lawyer.
When You Are on Foot, the Danger Is Very Real
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shares the following grim pedestrian accident statistics in the United States:
- Pedestrians are a full one and a half times more likely to be killed in a traffic accident – per trip – than the occupants of vehicles are.
- In 2017, about 137,000 pedestrians were injured so seriously in pedestrian accidents that they needed ER treatment.
- In 2017, almost 6,000 pedestrians met their deaths in traffic accidents, which translates to one death every 88 minutes.
- At faster speeds, the danger that a pedestrian accident will happen increases, and the risk that the pedestrian’s injuries will be serious also increases.
Make Walking Safely Your Goal
When you’re on foot, you’re so vulnerable to the dangers of the road that making safety your top priority every time you head out is the best policy. Keep all of the following in mind.
- Always use pedestrian overpasses when they are available.
- Cross at marked crosswalks with pedestrian lights whenever possible (the safest option after pedestrian crosswalks).
- Never cross the street if you are not at a crosswalk and do not make angled crossings (unless they are set up that way).
- You are safest when you join a group to cross the street.
- Always follow the rules of the road and closely adhere to all posted pedestrian signs, lights, and warnings.
- If you don’t trust that an oncoming motorist is going to stop (even if he or she is legally bound to do so), don’t step into the crosswalk.
- Don’t allow yourself to become distracted when you’re on foot (put your phone and your headphones away).
- Wear comfortable, well-fitting walking shoes and clothes that are easy to move freely in.
- Don a reflective outer garment when you have to walk at night.
The Kinds of Motorists Who Put Pedestrians at Greatest Risk
There are certain forms of driver negligence that put pedestrians at the greatest risk.
Every motorist owes his or her complete attention to the road ahead. Driving is far too serious of a responsibility to be distracted behind the wheel. Unfortunately, distracted driving is on the rise, and the most dangerous distraction of all is texting, which marries all three categories of distraction into one life-threatening practice, including:
- Distractions involving a driver’s thoughts
- Distractions involving a driver’s vision
- Distractions involving a driver’s hands
To find a distraction that is up to the task of including all three, there is no need to look any further than texting. When a driver’s nose is in his or her phone, he or she is not paying attention to pedestrians with whom he shares the road, and those pedestrians can pay a dangerous price.
As mentioned, the higher the motorist’s speed, the more dangerous things become for pedestrians (they are not only more likely to be injured in the first place, but their injuries are also more likely to be serious). Driving at a safe speed is about far more than simply sticking to the speed limit. Motorists are responsible for taking all of the following into consideration when choosing a safe speed:
- The condition of the road overall
- Any factors that render the road more dangerous, such as the effects of bad weather or debris on the road
- Any impediments to visibility
- Road construction
- High pedestrian traffic
The faster a driver’s speed, the less time he or she has to react to a pedestrian on the road and the more likely any ensuing accident is to be deadly.
Motorists recognize that driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is not a safe practice, but far too many refuse to put the brakes on this choice. Drunk drivers can suffer all of the following impairments (that put pedestrians and everyone else on the road in harm’s way):
- Physical impairments that slow their physical reactions and make their driving less precise
- Cognitive impairments that lead to poor decision-making in response to what they encounter on the road (including pedestrians)
- Sensory impairments that can alter their vision
The fact that alcohol lowers drivers’ inhibitions and diminishes their impulse control makes things that much more dangerous for pedestrians.
Drowsy drivers suffer their own impairments that render them dangerous drivers, and these impairments mimic those experienced by drunk drivers. While there isn’t a driver out there who doesn’t recognize the dangers of driving drunk, far too many fail to appreciate the danger associated with having too little sleep. The effects of some medications and health concerns can make the matter that much worse.
When it comes to dangerous driving, aggressive drivers take the gold. Aggressive drivers seem to have personal vendettas that they want to address behind the wheel. Aggressive driving generally involves engaging in more than one dangerous driving practice at a time, including:
- Speeding excessively (the hallmark of aggressive driving)
- Tailgating (another telltale sign)
- Whooshing in an out of lanes
- Attempting to engage others on the road with obscene gestures, taunts, incessant honking, and/or headlight blinking
- Passing dangerously, such as on the right or even on the shoulder
- Ignoring the rules of the road as well as traffic lights, signals, and signs
- Refusing to yield the right-of-way
Aggressive drivers seriously endanger the lives of pedestrians.
Pedestrian Accidents and Damages
When you’re on foot, you have nothing to protect you from the impact of a traffic accident, and this means that you are very likely to suffer very substantial injuries, which translate to damages that you will need to effectively address in your pedestrian accident claim.
Your Medical Costs
The medical expenses associated with pedestrian accidents tend to be exceptionally high. The serious injuries that you suffer are likely to require ongoing care and may involve secondary health concerns. Consider all of the following medical expenses that are common to pedestrian accidents:
- Emergency care at the scene of the accident and emergency transportation to the hospital
- Surgical care that includes follow-up care
- Hospital stays
- Medical treatment, care, and testing
- Pain management
- Physical therapy
- Prescription medications
- Treatment from doctors, specialists, and other medical professionals
- Adaptive physical devices
- Home health care
Ensuring that your claim addresses your full range of medical costs now into the future is paramount to your ability to fully heal.
The injuries associated with pedestrian accidents are so serious that you can expect to be off the job for a considerable amount of time, while you receive the medical care that you need and attempt to regain your health and well-being. With this leave of absence, you can also expect to experience lost earnings, which amounts to a double whammy in relation to your mounting medical bills. If your injuries affect your ability to do your job, it can mean a decrease in your ability to earn overall, and your career can be permanently stalled. Because many of us associate very closely with our careers, these effects can amount to both financial and emotional setbacks.
Pain and Suffering
The physical pain and suffering associated with a serious pedestrian accident can be overwhelming in its own right, and when you add this to the emotional pain and suffering that you experience, it can be devastating. Many victims of violent pedestrian accidents liken the effects to PTSD-like symptoms, which can include:
- Emotional lability
- Severe mood swings
- Increased anxiety and a propensity for panic attacks
- Depressive episodes
- A tendency to self-isolate and push loved ones away
- Dark thoughts
- Sleep disturbances that can include nightmares or night terrors
- Accident flashbacks
These emotional consequences can alter the course of your life and need to be addressed head on to help ensure that you are able to overcome them to the best of your ability.
The Insurance Company
You will file your pedestrian accident claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, but don’t expect this to be the end of the story. The fact is that the job the insurance company is paid to do – cover your accident-related damages in their entirety – is at odds with its motivation to maximize profits. As such, you can expect the insurance company to attempt to keep your settlement as low as possible.
The insurance company may dash in with an early settlement that is far too low but that you may be tempted to consider out of desperation. Once you sign off on an offer, you close the door to recovering on additional associated expenses you face as you continue on the path toward recovery. It is always in your best interest to hold off on signing a settlement offer until you’ve discussed the matter with an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer who is up to date on your claim.
Some insurance companies are not above denying viable claims from the start – in the hope claimants will be too overwhelmed to fight back. Your pedestrian accident lawyer will help you understand the strength of your claim and will help you explore your best legal options. The insurance company does not have the final say on these matters – the law does.
Pedestrian accident claims are complicated to begin with, but if the insurance company proceeds to artificially complicate and prolong the process, it can leave you feeling hopeless and cause you to lose your drive to fight back.
Turn to an Experienced Houston Pedestrian Accident Lawyer for the Help You Need
If a motorist’s negligence leaves you injured in a pedestrian accident, the formidable Houston pedestrian accident lawyers at The Patel Firm have the experience, drive, and impressive legal skill to help. For more information, please don’t wait to contact or call us today. To schedule your free case evaluation with a pedestrian accident attorney in Houston, call our office today at (361) 400-2036 or contact us online.