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The Hart Law Firm

Pedestrian Safety-National Traffic and Highway Administration

Although the total number of pedestrians killed in traffic crashes in the United States has decreased 13 percent since 1997, 4,654 pedestrians were killed and 70,000 were injured in 2007. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study shows that pedestrian safety is a large concern on the roads and highways in our country. "On average, a pedestrian is killed in a traffic crash every 113 minutes and injured in a traffic crash every 8 minutes." The NHTSA study also states that the majority of the pedestrian fatalities that occurred in 2007 were at night, in normal weather conditions, at non-intersection locations, and in urban areas. Not surprisingly, alcohol was involved in about half of all these fatal traffic crashes. This means that either the pedestrian, the driver of the vehicle, or both were inebriated at the time of the crash.

In some states, the driver is automatically considered at fault if he strikes a pedestrian in any condition. This can be overturned if there is solid evidence that the pedestrian was at fault, e.g. jaywalking, etc. Texas, however, is a comparative negligence state, which means that to determine who is at fault, the negligence of all potential parties must be evaluated.

When trying to determine the guilty party in a case such as this, it is important to know the law. In Texas, a pedestrian has the responsibility to act sensibly when crossing a street. For example, Section 552.005 of the Texas Transportation Code states that "a pedestrian shall yield the right-of-way to a vehicle on the highway if crossing a roadway at a place other than in a marked crosswalk or in an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection; or where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided."

On the same note, drivers must drive defensively at all times and keep a look out for pedestrians in non-designated crossing areas. The driver might not always be free of fault if they strike a pedestrian outside of a crosswalk. Section 552.008 states that "the operator of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian on a roadway; give warning by sounding the horn when necessary; and exercise proper precaution on observing a child or an obviously confused or incapacitated person on a roadway."

Because of the amount of responsibility put upon both the pedestrian and driver of the vehicle, cases involving this type of crash are often very intricate and time consuming. It is important to gather evidence on the crash immediately and to investigate the cause or causes of the crash thoroughly. Frequently, an experienced attorney must be brought in to uncover the true hidden facts about this type of case.

In my experience, there have been many cases which appear to be very quick and simple cases where it seems like one clear person is at fault, but a more in-depth investigation reveals the case to be much more complex. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a crash like this, or there has been a wrongful death from a car or truck crash come to the HART LAW FIRM to consult a reputable, experienced, Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Lawyer for free.

 

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