Pedestrian AccidentsPedestrian Accidents and Liability: What You Need to Know

May 4, 2023by NeonAdmin

Summer means more people are out and about, enjoying all the outdoor activities Austin has to offer. From barbecues to block parties, summer festivals and pub crawls, family outings, and farmer’s markets, people of all ages go out in the warm weather.

This increase in outdoor and pedestrian activity poses an increased risk of pedestrian accidents. Here’s what you need to know about pedestrian accidents, and when to contact an Austin pedestrian accident lawyer.

Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in Austin

Although Austin’s Vision Zero program is working to improve road safety with a wide range of projects and initiatives, 2022 was the worst year yet for pedestrian accidents and fatalities in the city. The combination of higher density of pedestrians and cyclists in the city center, along with ever-larger trucks and SUVs, creates an increased risk of accidents.

Naturally, these accidents have more severe consequences for unprotected pedestrians and cyclists compared to occupants of other motor vehicles, with a much greater risk of serious injury and even death. The most common causes of pedestrian accidents in Austin are:

  • Larger vehicles with reduced visibility. As SUVs and large pickups continue to increase in both size and popularity, their drivers have larger blind spots and reduced visibility. Safety features like blind spot warnings, pedestrian detection, and automatic braking remain optional on these vehicles. In addition, these big heavy vehicles have slower stopping times that reduce a driver’s ability to respond rapidly.
  • Lack of safe crossings. Austin’s main arterials do not have enough pedestrian crossings. North Lamar and South Congress, for example, were designed as highways, but now pass through popular mixed-use areas with high pedestrian activity. The further away a pedestrian accident is from a designated crossing, the more severe the accident tends to be.
  • Road conditions. Naturally, many accidents increase in frequency and severity in certain road conditions. Areas with high speed limits, fewer street lights, and without formal sidewalks are the highest risk areas for pedestrians.

In a recent study, motorists were found to be at fault 60% of the time in pedestrian crashes at intersections, while pedestrians were found to be at fault 63% of the time in mid-block crashes. Texas has complex laws regarding fault and liability; if you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, it is important to consult with an Austin pedestrian accident attorney.

Summer Pedestrian Safety Tips

The potential consequences of an accident are so much more severe for a pedestrian than a driver that it is critical for pedestrians to be defensive on the roads. In order to avoid accidents and injuries, always follow these important safety tips:

  • Always cross at pedestrian crossings. While crossing mid-block is often much more convenient, it is also much more dangerous. Use designated pedestrian crossings, every time, and urge city planners to create more and better crossings.
  • Look both ways for oncoming traffic. Although pedestrians have the right of way at marked and unmarked crossings, including driveways and alleys, not all drivers will yield appropriately. Even when you have the right of way, it’s better to stay safe and wait than risk an accident.
  • Be attentive. Distracted walking is especially common in the summer when pedestrians are more likely to be out with pets and family, carrying picnic or beach equipment, or eating snacks or ice cream while they walk. All year long the use of smartphones and devices contributes to distracted walking, while wearing headphones can reduce situational awareness. Pedestrians should remain aware and alert to their surroundings at all times, to increase their reaction times and safety on the street.
  • Light up at night. Carrying a light and wearing reflective gear can greatly reduce the risk of pedestrian accidents at night or in low-visibility conditions. If you frequently walk a pet, consider getting a high-viz collar or other protective gear for them as well.

When Do You Need an Austin Pedestrian Accident Lawyer?

If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident in Texas, you may have a number of different damages. You may have medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, or other types of losses. If you were not at fault, you can file a claim against the driver’s insurance policy to recover your damages.

That said, Texas is a modified comparative fault state, where you may be held liable for a portion of your own damages. If you were found to be partially to blame for the accident, you may need to pay a percentage of the damages yourself.

It’s also worth remembering that Texas only requires a minimum of $30,000 in coverage for drivers. A serious injury can far exceed the limits of the driver’s insurance coverage.

Because of the complex issues of fault and liability, and the frequent need to supplement an insurance claim with a personal injury lawsuit in order to recover the full amount, it is always best to talk with an Austin pedestrian accident attorney right away.

The Law Offices of Aaron Allison have been family owned and fighting for accident victims since 1978. We offer free consultations to discuss your case, and we only get paid when we recover on your behalf. If you or a loved one have been injured in a pedestrian accident in Austin, contact us today.