If you were hit by a car while crossing a crosswalk and you were hurt, it's vital that you know your rights in Texas. In order to make a claim against the at-fault driver and to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, you should understand the laws governing crosswalks in Texas.
Crosswalk Laws If There's a Control Signal Present
If you're at a crosswalk with a "walk/don't walk" light, you must obey it. You can only cross the street when you have the "walk" signal; otherwise, you have to yield to oncoming traffic.
Though the law gives pedestrians the right of way, that doesn't mean pedestrians can neglect to follow the control signs. Any pedestrian who enters a street outside a crosswalk or during a "don't walk" time gives up the right of way to cars on the road.
Though pedestrians give up their right of way when they cross at the wrong time, this doesn't relieve a driver from watching out for the safety of pedestrians in the road.
Essentially, both driver and pedestrians are responsible for avoiding accidents. If you're hit while crossing the road when you had a "don't walk" signal, your case will be looked at on an individual basis.
Pedestrian Right-of-Way at Crosswalk
Crosswalks, in the traditional sense, don't have automated signals. Pedestrians have the right of way at crosswalks as long as:
- You are on the half of the roadway in which the vehicle is traveling.
- You are so close to the middle of the road that a vehicle in the other lane must yield to prevent injury to you.
- The vehicle has enough space and time to yield the right of way to you - (This means that you cannot step out in front of a car that is too close to stop).
- If a car cannot stop, the car has the right of way and it is your duty to wait for a safe point to cross.
Crossing at Points Other Than Crosswalks
If you are crossing the street at a point other than a crosswalk, you must yield right of way to vehicles in the road. If you are not crossing in a marked crosswalk, the oncoming traffic has the right of way.
What to Know About Crosswalk Accidents Statistics and Fault
Cross Walk Accidents Caused by Drivers Making Right Turns
Drivers making right turns into a crosswalk cause some of the most dangerous crosswalk accidents. When drivers are turning right, they typically look left to check on the traffic flow, and then turn without looking right again. If you have stepped out into the crosswalk while a driver was checking oncoming traffic, you could be seriously injured by the driver's distraction and failure to check the crosswalk.This kind of accident is the driver's fault.
Drivers Making Left Turns and Causing Crosswalk Wrecks
Drivers making left turns are also dangerously distracted by oncoming traffic and are also capable of causing crosswalk accidents that lead to serious injuries. Drivers turning left in traffic typically do not look into the crosswalk before they turn; they are simply looking at oncoming traffic to determine whether or not it is safe to turn. These kind of wrecks are the driver's fault.
Cross Walk Accident Statistics
No one ever plans to be in an accident. However, pedestrian fatality statistics have remained steady around 5,000 per year for the past 15 years. Pedestrian injuries have generally gone down, but there are still approximately 70,000 pedestrians injured every year. This translates to nearly 200 pedestrians injured every day, and roughly eight pedestrians injured every hour. Many of these injuries occur in cross walk accidents, even when pedestrians have the right of way.
How to Know Who is At Fault in a Pedestrian Accident
Figuring out who is at fault in a pedestrian accident is one of the first steps in the personal injury claims process. There are several questions that can be asked to determine if the driver was at-fault, such as:
Did you have the right of way?
If you had the right of way, whether it was because a traffic light signaled pedestrians could pass, you were walking on a dashed area, other vehicle turned in an area where they should not have turned, this could be grounds for negligence on the driver’s part.
Were you walking on a pedestrian-designated area?
If you were walking on an area that was specifically marked for pedestrians and a vehicle hit you, it could be ground for negligence.
Did the driver stop after you were hit?
If the driver that hit you did not stop, chances are they know they are guilty.
There is a difference between being the victim and being the intentional victim in an accident. In other words, if the pedestrian that was hit was acting in a reckless manner or purposely tried to get hit by a vehicle, then this could be grounds of negligence - in this case, the pedestrian would be at-fault.
Why Hiring a Lawyer Makes Sense
Typically when people hear of personal injury attorneys they think of car accidents or injuries that occurred in a store or business. However, personal injuries can occur anywhere, and they do not have to necessarily occur in the places mentioned; they can even occur, as we learned here, on a sidewalk. Here is a sample of the types of expenses a personal injury accident can generate:
A crosswalk injury can be very dangerous to the victim’s health in certain ways. Injuries such as broken or fractured bones, pulled muscles, and strained neck can lead to mounting medical bills, especially due to the fact that a victim will have to make multiple visits to a doctor (and/or rehabilitation). Each visit to the doctor’s appointment costs money, so a patient who has visited a doctor for several times can easily incur thousands of dollars of medical bills, not counting the ambulance ride to the hospital and other related costs. Medical expenses are completely covered in a personal injury claim, and an injured victim can seek treatment without the need of insurance.
When an injured victim of a car accident either leaves or misses work in order to receive treatment, they are losing money earnings they could have otherwise made. Lost wages can be compensated for in a personal injury claim.
Pain and Suffering
Although perhaps not as straightforward as medical expenses and lost wages, an injured victim who has experienced pain and suffering as a result of an accident has the right to receive compensation for this. Valuable time missed from playing with one’s children can be compensated for in a personal injury claim. As a result, expenses can be a large factor in deciding whether or not an injured victim may want to hire an attorney to handle their personal injury claim. If you have any questions or need assistance in deciding if hiring a personal injury attorney is the right choice, please feel free to contact us.