Pedestrian Accident Wrongful Death

Austin Personal Injury Attorney Works for Your Benefits

Pedestrians are incredibly vulnerable on the streets, and pedestrian accidents are more common than you think. If a pedestrian is injured in a car accident in Texas, the victim or their family can pursue a personal injury lawsuit. However, if they pass away as a result of a pedestrian car accident, their loved ones may be able to sue for wrongful death. Fortunately, victims of a pedestrian accident do not have to wait to file their claim. Our experienced Austin law firm handles your personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits and can help you understand your rights in this difficult time. 

What Happens When a Pedestrian is Injured in a Car Accident in Texas? 

Pedestrian accidents and fatalities are on the rise in Texas. In 2020, there were over 4,800 pedestrian-involved car accidents, which resulted in 1,211 serious injuries and 731 deaths. Pedestrian-involved motor vehicle accidents are especially dangerous and pose many special medical and legal challenges that make pedestrian accident wrongful death claims necessary. Here are some of the special challenges of pedestrian accidents:

  • Pedestrians are especially vulnerable in motor vehicle accidents. Drivers who are involved in accidents are typically protected by the car itself, along with additional safety devices like seat belts and airbags. Pedestrians who are hit by cars are much more vulnerable, without the benefit of these kinds of protections. Their injuries may be much more severe and life-changing.  
  • Pedestrians can incur high medical bills before passing away. Many pedestrian car accidents are not immediately fatal. The victim can incur a wide range of medical costs, along with lost wages and other expenses, before the accident proves fatal.  
  • It can be particularly difficult to determine and prove liability. Unfortunately, pedestrian-involved accidents are more likely to be hit-and-run accidents, where drivers fear liability and leave the scene. The higher risk of hit-and-run can make it more difficult to identify the driver and hold them accountable for the pedestrian’s injury or death.

What Happens if a Loved One Passes Away After Being Hit by a Car?

If a pedestrian has been injured in a car accident, they have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover their costs and losses as a result of the accident. However, if the victim passes away, they can no longer sue for personal injury. Instead, the surviving family members can decide to sue for pedestrian accident wrongful death. Here is a quick overview of the similarities and differences:

  • Personal injury claims. Personal injury lawsuits are typically:
    • Filed by the person who was injured
    • Eligible to recover damages like:
      • Medical costs
      • Lost income
      • Legal fees
      • Pain and suffering
    • Punitive damages to punish the at-fault driver
  • Wrongful death claims. Wrongful death lawsuits are usually:
    • Filed by family members or loved ones who have been damaged by the loss
    • Eligible to recover damages like:
      • Burial expenses
      • Loss of the financial contributions of the victim
      • Loss of companionship and care
      • Emotional pain and suffering
      • Punitive damages to punish the at-fault driver

As you can see, the types of losses that result from a personal injury are different from the losses of a surviving loved one. A wrongful death claim does not traditionally compensate surviving family members for the victim’s medical bills, lost income, and other expenses. 

Because of this, Texas has a “survival statute” that allows family members or an estate to recover the same damages as a personal injury lawsuit. The survival statute allows family members to continue with an existing personal injury claim, and also sue for wrongful death if their loved one passes away. 

In other words, if you or a loved one have been injured as a pedestrian in a motor vehicle accident, it’s important to consult with a qualified attorney. You can begin a personal injury lawsuit, and continue the process even if the victim passes away. The same process of proving liability will be essential in either type of claim. 

How Can You Prove a Wrongful Death Claim? 

It is not always easy to sue for wrongful death. Proving driver negligence can be difficult, especially if it was a fatal accident and there were no witnesses. However, if a driver has caused an accident by driving recklessly or negligently — especially if they hit and run — they may face criminal as well as civil liability. A driver who hits a pedestrian may be guilty of crimes like:

  • leaving the scene of an accident
  • reckless or distracted driving
  • driving under the influence
  • vehicular manslaughter

If the driver has committed criminal offenses in a pedestrian accident, law enforcement will investigate and may prosecute. If there is a criminal investigation, some of that information may be used to help prove a civil lawsuit. In most cases, courts will hear the criminal case before the civil case, because settling the facts in the criminal case helps determine relevant facts for the civil case. 

How Can Aaron Allison Help? 

Since 1978, the Aaron Allison law firm has been fighting for the rights of pedestrians who have been injured or killed in car accidents in Texas. With expertise in both personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits, you can get expert guidance and legal help all along the way. If you are the victim of a pedestrian accident wrongful death, contact us today for a free consultation.

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