Any seemingly normal day can quickly get turned upside down when an unsuspecting pedestrian is hit by a vehicle in a crosswalk. When a driver’s negligence results in severe injury to a pedestrian it’s important they are held accountable for their actions. Knowing what happens if you get hit in a crosswalk can help you ensure the driver responsible is held legally liable for the resulting damages including associated medical costs.
Pedestrians Hit in a Crosswalk
Pedestrian accidents are among the most dangerous types of accidents that involve motor vehicles. This is because while a car’s driver and its other occupants are protected by the vehicle body around them and the safety features inside, a pedestrian is often left defenseless from the impact of these massive machines. Houston is no stranger to auto-pedestrian accidents either. According to the Houston Chronicle, from 2011 to 2021, Harris County saw 1,230 vehicle-involved pedestrian fatalities – accounting for nearly 20 percent of the total traffic-related deaths in the entire state.
Drivers who hit a pedestrian in a crosswalk may find themselves facing repercussions like:
- Traffic tickets
- Driver’s license sanctions
- A personal injury claim
- Criminal charges
In Texas, as of September 1st, 2021, the Lisa Torry Smith Act (SB 1055) went into effect. The Act allows drivers involved in a pedestrian crash to be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor for causing bodily harm to a pedestrian and face state felony charges if the pedestrian is seriously injured.
Unfortunately, accidents involving getting hit in a crosswalk aren’t always clear cut, as the driver is not automatically at fault; however, drivers are more often found to be the at-fault party. Pedestrians can be found at fault in certain situations, but it is rare. If a pedestrian is found to have acted in a way that made it impossible for the driver to avoid a crash, they can be held responsible. Usually, the driver is found liable in a pedestrian accident because drivers must use caution around pedestrians, as they often have the right-of-way in intersections and crosswalks.
What Steps Can Pedestrians Take to Hold Drivers Who Hit Them Responsible?
There are many steps a pedestrian can and should take after being involved in a motor vehicle collision, but below we list the most common tasks we recommend to ensure at-fault drivers are held legally responsible for the damages they cause if you get hit in a crosswalk or are involved in another type of auto-pedestrian accident.
Determine if any injuries are present and contact the authorities
Although it may be incredibly difficult to remain calm after being hit by a vehicle, pedestrians should try and keep a sound mind. This is essential for assessing any injuries and taking stock of the accident as a whole. If the impact pushed the pedestrian further into the street or into an intersection, they should attempt to move out of the road if they are physically able. If not, another party should be immediately alerted to call 911.
If there are witnesses to the accident, they may have already called the police, or the driver of the vehicle may have. Regardless of the injury, the police will need to be there to file an official accident report. This will also help notify emergency services, so they can arrive to fully assess all injuries present. This is especially important, as the pedestrian may be suffering from dangerous internal injuries.
Get the driver’s information
Ideally, a driver that hits a pedestrian will not flee the scene of the accident afterward; however, this does always happen. Even if the pedestrian was not injured, the driver should not leave. If they are physically able, pedestrians should attempt to obtain the driver’s name, contact information, vehicle make and model, and license plate number. All parties involved in auto-pedestrian crashes should remain at the scene long enough for a police report to be taken.
Gather evidence and document all Injuries
Depending on the injuries sustained, if the victim can do so, they should take pictures and videos of the scene – if they are unable due to their injuries, they should have a fellow passenger or witness document the incident. Take photos of the site where the pedestrian was hit, any speed limit signs, skid marks, the condition of the vehicle, and/or other items of importance at the scene that could potentially be used as evidence. Pedestrians should also attempt to obtain the names and contact information of any witnesses.
Pedestrians have a much greater risk of serious injury resulting from the impact of a collision than the driver. Once recovered, the victim should collect all documents, photos, and videos of their injuries, the scene of the incident, required medical treatments, and related costs.
Keeping the clothes worn at the time of the incident in the condition that they were in after the crash can provide further evidence of the impact. Maintaining any other items that could serve as evidence, such as a cell phone or other devices that may have gotten smashed as a result of the accident is also wise.
Contact the insurance company
After a pedestrian accident, victims should contact their insurance company as soon as possible. Even though they were not behind the wheel at the time of the collision, most car insurance policies provide some type of coverage for auto-pedestrian accidents. Contacting the insurer can help victims with filing medical and/or disability claims post-accident to help offset costs.
Contact a personal injury lawyer
The injuries a pedestrian suffers after being hit by a vehicle may lead to physical, emotional, and financial difficulties that could affect them for the rest of their life. Unfortunately, in these situations, the motorist’s insurance company will attempt to place fault on the pedestrian and deny any claims of responsibility. Because of these and other difficulties, it is often a good idea to hire a personal injury attorney.
A personal injury attorney has experience handling pedestrian injury claims and therefore they can review the facts of your case and determine what needs to be done to help you recover the financial compensation you need and deserve. Taking the time to obtain legal counsel that has handled similar cases gives victims the best chance of a successful outcome.
Houston Crosswalk Accident Injury Lawyers
If you or a loved one has been struck by a negligent driver while in a crosswalk, the experienced auto-pedestrian accident attorneys at Adame Garza LLP can review the details of your case and determine the best options for you. Contact our personal injury trial team today to help put your mind at ease so we can guide you through the legal process during this difficult time.