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What Happens if a Car Hits a Pedestrian in Texas (and How Much Is My Case Worth)?

  1. What Happens if a Car Hits a Pedestrian in Texas
  2. Pedestrian Accident Claims in Texas: Who Pays?
  3. What Is an Average Settlement for a Pedestrian Hit By Car Accident?
  4. What if a Loved One Was Killed in a Pedestrian Accident?
  5. What if the Accident Results in Criminal Charges?
  6. Hit By a Car? Let the Will Adams Law Firm Team Help

What Happens if a Car Hits a Pedestrian in Texas

Pedestrian accidents are highly likely to be catastrophic—even at relatively low speeds. Out of 4,844 car-pedestrian accidents in Texas in 2020, at least 1,107 involved confirmed serious injuries, such as broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, or disfigurement. At least 719 resulted in a fatality.

If you’ve been hurt in a pedestrian accident, or someone you love has been hurt or killed, you may be entitled to significant compensation for your losses. However, navigating the laws surrounding pedestrian accidents and calculating a “fair” settlement isn’t always a straightforward process. And if your losses are severe, the last thing you’d want is to settle for an amount that’s far from adequate to meet your long-term needs.

In this blog post, we’ll take a close look at how the law treats car-pedestrian accidents, what kind of compensation you could receive, and why hiring a personal injury attorney can help protect your rights and maximize your settlement or verdict.

RELATED: Hurt in a Texas Car Accident? Here’s What to Do

Pedestrian Accident Claims in Texas: Who Pays?

In Texas, filing an insurance claim as an injured pedestrian—and the types of insurance available to cover your damages—is very similar to those who are involved in more traditional two-car accidents.

Since Texas is a tort state, the at-fault party bears the primary responsibility for paying medical expenses, wage losses, pain and suffering, and any other applicable damages related to the crash. If you were a pedestrian hit by a car, and the accident was not your fault, you would typically file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

However, this is not the end of the story for many pedestrians. If the driver is uninsured (which is true for around one in six Texas drivers) or you’re the victim of a hit and run, there’s no source of liability insurance for you to make a claim against. And even if the driver is insured, Texas only requires a minimum of $30,000 in liability coverage per person (or $60,000 total for an auto accident with multiple victims). Since pedestrian accidents are often severe or fatal, this figure may be woefully inadequate to cover your damages.

Fortunately, there are other potential sources of insurance you may be able to turn to. If you have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UI/UIM) or personal injury protection (PIP) on your own auto insurance, these policies could apply to your situation even though you weren’t in your car when the accident occurred.

A pedestrian accident attorney can help you identify all potential sources of insurance coverage so that you can receive the largest settlement possible.

Can a Pedestrian Be at Fault in an Accident?

Yes. Even in pedestrian accidents, the driver of the automobile isn’t always 100% liable. Often, fault is shared between the driver and the pedestrian. In rare cases the pedestrian hit by a car may even be primarily or entirely liable.

For example, a pedestrian could be held at least partially liable if they:

  • Clearly failed to follow right of way rules
  • Ignored crosswalk directions
  • Was jaywalking
  • Suddenly darted into the road (for example, while intoxicated)
  • Was walking in an area where pedestrian access is restricted or prohibited

That said, the driver will often share responsibility as well—for example, if the were speeding, or distracted at the wheel.

How Texas Law Affects Your Pedestrian Accident Case

Texas is a modified contributory negligence state. You can only recover financial compensation to cover your losses if you’re found to be 50% or less at fault for the accident. Furthermore, the amount of damages you can recover are reduced by your share of fault. For example, if you’re claiming $100,000, and a jury finds you 25% responsible, you can only recover $75,000.

Personal injury cases where fault is shared or unclear are frequently contentious and often take longer to resolve. Working with an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you protect your legal rights and work toward a fair resolution.

What Is an Average Settlement for a Pedestrian Hit By Car Accident?

Talking about average pedestrian accident settlement values isn’t really all that useful, simply because the range of possible outcomes is so vast. Every pedestrian accident case is unique, and the ultimate amount that the case will settle for is depending on a huge number of factors.

Some of the factors that go into calculating a fair settlement amount includes:

  • Your medical bills—both those you’ve already received, and those that you’re likely to receive in the future.
  • The total value of your projected lost wages, now and in the future.
  • Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering or emotional distress. These are more likely to be added if your injuries have a significant, long-term impact on your quality of life and daily routine (for example, keeping you from enjoying hobbies or altering the nature of your previous relationships).
  • Punitive damages, if the driver engaged in especially reckless or malicious behavior like excessive speeding or driving drunk.

As discussed above, the size of your payout may also be limited by the percentage of fault that you share for the accident, as well as the combined policy limits of any insurance policy that is available to you.

Trying to calculate a fair settlement value without the help of an experienced attorney can be particularly difficult. While current medical bills are easy to calculate, future economic losses are uncertain, and pain and suffering losses are subjective.

If you accept a settlement offer, you will give up your right to negotiate or sue for more compensation later. For this important reason, making sure you’re getting a fair deal is extremely important. You don’t want to be in a position where your settlement check has run out but you’re still struggling with the consequences of your injury five or 10 years down the line.

“Will treats his clients with great kindness and compassion. He fully understands the pain and injustice each victim is going through. This compassion and understanding allows Will to prosecute your case to the fullest. Will is tenacious in pursuing what he feels is the correct settlement for his clients.”

- B & ES – Dallas, TX

“Will, Chris & Sarah. K and I just want to thank you so much for everything you’ve done for us and our family. Throughout this process you have kept us informed and been patient with us (especially me) as we navigated through unchartered territory. Putting things in your hands allowed Karl and I to focus on him getting better.”

- SC – Katy, TX

“Hi Will, I just wanted to take a minute and let you and your wonderful staff know just how much we appreciate each one of you! All of you have been so great to us. Y’all have always answered any and all questions immediately and never left us hanging or wondering about anything. All of you have made this.”

- SB – Katy, TX

"Dear Sarah, you are the best legal assistant in the history of such creatures of legend and lore. (And Brian is in the tribe too) Do take a copy of this email to your next annual performance review... you have raised the bar. Thank you for all your help!"

- AM – Houston, TX

"I wanted to thank you both for a job well done and for an outcome that far exceeded my expectations. I appreciated your expertise and your thoroughness of preparation, as well as keeping me informed of the possible outcomes at each major point.Will, I think that Chris did an excellent job and wanted to bring that to your attention."

- MJ – Katy, TX

What if a Loved One Was Killed in a Pedestrian Accident?

If a pedestrian accident results in a fatality, close family members (or in some cases the estate of the deceased) may be able to file a wrongful death claim. In Texas, specifically, the spouse, parents, or children of the deceased are eligible to file together or separately. If none of these individuals file within three months, a case may be filed by the person representative (or executor) of the deceased’s estate.

Wrongful death cases are similar to personal injury cases in many ways. A wrongful death claim can include:

  • Medical treatment expenses incurred before death
  • Lost wages, earning capacity, or inheritance that the deceased would have been able to provide
  • Loss of care, guidance, or companionship
  • Pain and suffering experienced by loved ones of the deceased as a result of the death
  • Punitive damages

Again, while there’s no way to truly replace a loved one, calculating “fair” compensation for wrongful death under the law can be extremely difficult without an experienced wrongful death attorney to advise you.

RELATED: How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Paid Out in Texas?

What if the Accident Results in Criminal Charges?

Pedestrian accidents often lead to arrests and criminal charges or proceedings. This is true if the crash resulted in a death, or alcohol was involved.

It’s important to understand the criminal charges or trials are not related to civil proceedings, such as personal injury and wrongful death. Injured individuals or family members of the deceased receive no compensation for a criminal case. If you want compensation, you must file a civil lawsuit.

You should also understand that a verdict or guilty or not guilty in a criminal case does not necessarily guarantee the success or failure of a personal injury or wrongful death case. Again, these are separate kinds of cases tried in separate courts. The standard of proof is also different—in criminal cases guilt must be established “beyond a reasonable doubt,” whereas in civil cases the plaintiff must only prove that fault is more likely than not.

Will Adams Law Firm works exclusively with civil cases. We cannot help you with any criminal proceedings, but we can help you fight for fair compensation if you’ve been hurt by someone else’s negligence.

Hit By a Car? Let the Will Adams Law Firm Team Help

If you or a family member were hit by a motor vehicle as a pedestrian, you deserve experienced legal representation and a pedestrian accident lawyer who can help you navigate personal injury claims processes, negotiation with insurance company adjusters on your behalf, and fight for fair compensation—whether it comes through an injury settlement or a verdict at trial.

At a time like this, you should be focused on your health and recovery, and not on whether or not you’re getting a fair deal from the insurance company.

Our lawyers fight for seriously injured people throughout Texas and stand up for what’s right. Your case review is always free, and because we work on a contingency fee basis you never pay up front or out of pocket. If we do not recover a settlement or win at trial for you, there is no fee.

To request your free consultation, call us today at (281) 371-6345 or complete our simple online form.

References

Texas Department of Transportation (2021). Pedestrian and Pedalcyclist Injuries and Crashes 2020. Retrieved from https://ftp.txdot.gov/pub/txdot-info/trf/crash_statistics/2020/07.pdf

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

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