Like other big cities in Texas—including Dallas and Houston—Austin faces a high risk of pedestrian accidents. In 2021 alone, nearly 8,000 pedestrians were killed nationwide in accidents involving motor vehicles. While implementing pedestrian safety practices reduces your chances of getting in an accident, some factors are out of your control.
If you were injured by a motor vehicle, you’re entitled to financial compensation. The Austin pedestrian accident attorneys at Steinger, Greene & Feiner have what it takes to achieve the results you want. Don’t just take our word for it; hear what our satisfied clients have to say. Contact us today to get started with a free case evaluation.
Why Choose an Austin Pedestrian Accident Lawyer?
Expertise in Local Laws and Regulations
An experienced pedestrian accident attorney knows what laws and regulations apply to you and the at-fault party. This expertise will help them build a compelling case as well as help you navigate the complexities of pedestrian accidents.
Texas Pedestrian Accident Laws
Pedestrians must adhere to green, yellow, and red traffic lights unless a separate pedestrian control signal says otherwise. A pedestrian can cross a road with or without a crosswalk if they’re facing a green signal. The only exception is if the only green signal is a turn arrow. Pedestrians cannot cross if the signal is yellow or green.
A pedestrian can cross a road when a “walk” signal is present, but they can only travel in the direction of the signal. All motorists and cyclists must yield the right of way to the pedestrian. Pedestrians should not cross when a “wait” or “don’t walk” signal is active.
If a pedestrian walks along a crosswalk on a road with no present or operational traffic signal and is on the side of the road where vehicles are traveling, the motorists must yield the right of way.
A pedestrian cannot enter a crosswalk when oncoming traffic can’t safely yield the right of way.
If a driver stops to yield to a pedestrian on a crosswalk, the vehicle behind cannot pass the stopped vehicle.
If possible, pedestrians should walk along the right-most side of the crosswalk.
A pedestrian must yield the right of way to a vehicle on the highway when no marked or unmarked crosswalk is present at an intersection or when no pedestrian tunnel or overhead crossing is present.
A pedestrian should only enter a marked crosswalk if two intersections with traffic controls are next to each other. Additionally, a pedestrian should not cross a crosswalk diagonally unless specified by a traffic control device.
A pedestrian cannot walk on or along a road if a sidewalk is available and easily accessible. If a sidewalk is not present, the pedestrian should walk on the left side of the roadway facing oncoming traffic.
Vehicles entering a main road from an alley, parking lot or garage, or private road must yield the right of way to pedestrians on the sidewalk.
Motorists should practice extreme caution when traveling near pedestrians to avoid colliding with them. Drivers should sound their car horns if they come close to a pedestrian.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in Austin
Pedestrian accidents occur for many reasons and can’t be predicted ahead of time. With that said, the risk of them occurring can be mitigated since we know what factors typically cause them. Check out the top causes of pedestrian accidents in the Austin area to know how you can protect yourself.
- Negligent driving
- Distracted driving
- Failure to yield the right-of-way
- Failure to signal
- Disregarding traffic signs or signals
- Driving too close to the shoulder
- Making dangerous turns
- Aggressive driving
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Drunk driving
- Driving while under the influence of drugs
While not common, here are some additional causes we’ve seen.
- Malfunctioning traffic signals
- Poorly designed intersections
- Mechanical failures
- Poorly designed or lack of infrastructure
Types of Injuries Caused by Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrians can sustain injuries that range from mild to severe.
- Severe cuts and lacerations
- Internal bleeding
- Leg and knee injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Torn ligaments
- Nerve damage
- Broken bones
Long-Term Impact and Rehabilitation
More severe injuries can be life-altering, life-threatening, and even fatal. People who sustain these injuries will face long-term physical and financial impacts. They will likely require rehabilitative care, mobility devices, and other resources to help them navigate life with their injuries.
Understanding Your Rights as a Pedestrian
Texas Pedestrian Rights
Pedestrians in Texas have the right to safely travel on sidewalks, crosswalks, and other designated pedestrian pathways. Motorists and cyclists must yield the right of way to them if they’re adhering to relevant laws and regulations.
Texas is a modified comparative negligence state, meaning a partially at-fault plaintiff can seek compensation from a defendant. Their compensation is simply reduced by the percentage of fault they contribute. The plaintiff cannot be more than 49% at fault for the accident. Here’s an example:
Lucy used a crosswalk when the “Don’t Walk” sign was on at an intersection. Matt had a green light and made a right turn at the same time, hitting Lucy with the side of his car because he didn’t see her while responding to a text.
A judge found Matt to be 60% at fault for texting while driving and Lucy to be 40% at fault for crossing an intersection while the “Don’t Walk” sign was on. Since Lucy is less than 50% at fault, she can still receive compensation. The judge awards a total of $100,000 in damages, with $40,000 going to Matt and $60,000 going to Lucy.
A key factor in assigning fault is determining whether negligence played a role and who acted negligently if it did. If the plaintiff wants to seek compensation from the defendant, they must prove the defendant acted negligently. Four elements must be present to establish negligence.
- Duty: The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care.
- Breach: The defendant breached their duty of care to the plaintiff.
- Causation: This breach caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
- Damages: The plaintiff suffers some form of identifiable harm—whether physical, psychological, or financial—as a result of their injuries.
The Role of an Austin Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Legal Representation and Advocacy
Your lawyer is your legal advocate throughout the entirety of your case. They’re the person you go to with questions, concerns, and feedback about the legal process. From the initial consultation to litigation, their goal is to represent your case successfully so you receive maximum compensation.
Navigating Insurance Claims and Settlements
Insurance companies care more about their bottom line than they do about your well-being. They might try to offer you less compensation than what you deserve or deny your claim for an invalid reason just to minimize your payout. Your attorney won’t let them get away with these bad-faith tactics. They’ll fight back until justice has been served.
Steps to Take Following a Pedestrian Accident in Austin
The aftermath of a pedestrian accident can be stressful. Knowing what to do ahead of time can ease some of the burden. These are the steps you should take after getting in an accident with a motorist.
- Seek emergency medical attention
When it comes to pedestrian accidents, nothing matters more than your safety. The first thing you should do is check yourself for injuries. Since pedestrians are completely vulnerable to their surroundings, it’s common for them to sustain more severe injuries than other accident victims.
Take a deep breath, call 911, and stay calm until help arrives. First responders will render emergency medical care and get you to the nearest hospital or urgent care facility if you require further treatment.
- Move to safety
If your injuries are minor and don’t require emergency medical care, move to a safe location. Whether your accident occurred on a crosswalk at a busy intersection or on a neighborhood sidewalk, getting out of harm’s way will protect you from further harm.
- Call the police
Don’t leave the scene until you contact the police. Officers will arrive to interview witnesses and complete an official police report. Be sure to ask for a copy of this report to give to your attorney.
If the accident is minor, officers might not respond to your call. In this case, file an accident report through the nearest DMV. A copy of this document can substitute a police report.
- Take photos and videos
Evidence gathered at the scene of the accident can be some of the most compelling when it comes to settlement negotiations and litigation. Take photos and videos of the accident from every angle. This documentation will help your lawyer build a strong case. Your lawyer can also present it as evidence in court.
- Notify your insurance provider
While an insurance claim might be the last thing on your mind, don’t put it on the back burner. You’ll need to notify your insurance company about the accident before you can file a claim under your policy.
How to File a Pedestrian Accident Claim
These are the steps your lawyer will take to file a claim for your pedestrian accident.
- Collect evidence and documentation: Your attorney will need sufficient evidence and documentation to build a strong case on your behalf.
- Determine liability: You can’t file a claim without first establishing who’s responsible for the accident. Your lawyer will use all available evidence and documentation to complete this step.
- Submit required paperwork: The last step is to fill out and submit all paperwork required by state law within the specified timeframe. All paperwork must be submitted within the statute of limitations, which is two years in Texas.
Compensation and Settlements in Pedestrian Accident Cases
Types of Damages Available to Victims
Pedestrian accident victims can claim two kinds of damages: economic and non-economic. Let’s take a closer look at the key differences between the two.
Your main concern is likely how much compensation you can recover to pay off mounting bills and other expenses resulting from the accident. The good news is you can secure compensation for two types of damages: economic and non-economic. Here’s a breakdown of these damages, including some examples.
Economic damages are tangible losses a victim incurs after the accident. These damages are associated with a specific dollar amount. Common economic damages include:
- Medical bills
- Property damage
- Rehabilitative care
- Lost wages
- Mental health services
Non-economic damages are intangible losses a victim incurs after an accident. Unlike economic damages, these damages aren’t tied to a dollar value, making them more difficult to calculate. Common examples include:
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent impairment or disability
- Loss of companionship or consortium
Factors That Impact Your Settlement Amount
The settlement amount you receive depends on a few key factors:
- Liability: If you did not contribute any fault in the accident, your compensation won’t be reduced. If you contributed a percentage of fault, even as little as 1%, your compensation will be reduced proportionately. Your lawyer will do whatever it takes to claim maximum compensation on your behalf.
- Severity of Damages: As the severity of your losses increases, so should your compensation. That’s because you need enough funds to cover your losses in full so you aren’t left with any out-of-pocket expenses.
- Willingness to Settle: You have to find a sweet spot when it comes to the timeline of your settlement. If you settle right off the bat, you’ll probably accept an amount that’s lower than what you deserve. If you drag out the process, you could delay your settlement by weeks or even months. The best scenario is when both parties are willing to settle for a fair amount.
Choosing the Right Austin Pedestrian Accident Attorney
Not all pedestrian accident attorneys are created equal. Some are more qualified than others, and you deserve the best. Here are some qualifications to look for when choosing legal representation.
Credentials to Look For
Your lawyer should have the following credentials:
- A degree from an accredited law school
- Bar certification
- Board certification in personal injury
- Membership in legal organizations
Questions to Ask
Ask potential attorneys the following questions to determine whether they’re the right fit for you:
- How long have you practiced law?
- What areas of personal injury law do you specialize in?
- Who will handle my case?
- What’s your success rate?
- How do you communicate with clients?
- What is your fee structure?
Take the Next Step Towards Protecting Your Rights After a Pedestrian Accident
When it comes to legal representation for your pedestrian accident case, you deserve the best. That’s why you should hire Steinger, Greene & Feiner to represent your case. We have the expertise and resources required to litigate with big insurance companies and secure maximum compensation. Plus, we work on a contingency fee basis, so you don’t have to pay until we win.
Today is the day to take the next step toward justice. Contact our team to get started with a free case evaluation.