Walking is an efficient way to get around. Whether it’s a quick trip to the store or a work commute, heading somewhere on foot offers both fresh air and exercise. Pedestrians aren’t alone on the streets of Dallas, though. Trucks, cars, and motorcycles can all veer off course, causing catastrophic accidents. Pedestrian accident victims can suffer from life-long injuries or death.
If you were struck by a motor vehicle while walking, you could qualify for a pedestrian settlement. Compensation could help you get your life back on track by reimbursing you for your damages. Our personal injury lawyers have experience getting results for pedestrian accident victims in Texas. A Dallas pedestrian accident lawyer from our team can pursue a settlement on your behalf.
Compensation in a Dallas Pedestrian Accident Case
Pedestrian accident victims usually receive compensation through a lawsuit or insurance settlement. These settlements cover several types of losses, called damages. The first type of damages, called economic damages, accounts for financial losses such as:
- Property damage
- Loss of income
- Reduced earning capacity
- The cost of upfront and long-term medical care
Pedestrian accidents don’t just have a financial toll. They also cause emotional injuries. Living with a lifelong, debilitating injury can negatively impact a victim’s mental health. These losses are covered by non-economic damages, which may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Physical disability
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish
Together, these damages are designed to help you recover after a pedestrian accident. They can’t turn back the clock on your accident, but they can help you move forward.
What If I Lost a Loved One?
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, 2021 saw 841 pedestrian fatalities in the state. This is the unfortunate reality of pedestrian accidents – far too often, victims lose their lives after being struck by a car.
If you’re pursuing compensation on behalf of a lost loved one, we extend our condolences. These cases are never easy, and we understand what you’re going through. By assisting you, we strive to bring relief to you and your family. After losing a loved one, you could qualify for these unique damages:
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Funeral expenses
- Burial expenses
Only Certain People Are Eligible to Pursue a Wrongful Death Case
- A spouse of the deceased
- Parents of the deceased
- Children of the deceased
However, if none of these parties chooses to pursue a case within three months of the death, an estate representative can do so. The estate representative is generally a family member or state appointee who oversees a deceased person’s debts, finances, and other obligations. Your Dallas pedestrian accident attorney can explain wrongful death case eligibility.
What Is My Case Worth?
There’s no “average” value for a pedestrian accident case in Dallas. Each case is unique, so the value often depends on the extent of injuries and financial losses. For example, one pedestrian accident might involve a few broken bones that heal after a few months, whereas another might cause life-long paralysis. For this reason, each case’s value varies widely.
Several factors may impact the value of your case, such as:
- The outcome of settlement negotiations
- The severity of your injuries
- Whether you’re pursuing a personal injury or wrongful death case
- The amount of evidence available in your case
A Dallas pedestrian accident lawyer from our firm can help you estimate the value of your case. These preliminary estimations aren’t guaranteed. However, they could prepare you for settlement negotiations. If you know what your case might be worth, you’re less likely to be fooled by an unfair settlement offer.
We Get Results for Injured Pedestrians
Similarly, our previous case results could inform your case. Domingo Garcia founded our law office 35 years ago. Since then, we’ve successfully represented many clients. Some of our notable settlements involving motor vehicle accidents include:
- $2,750,000for the family of a roadside worker killed in a truck accident
- $1,000,000for a roadside worker injured in a truck accident
Who Can I Sue After a Pedestrian Accident in Dallas?
Lawsuits are common in popular media, appearing in TV shows, books, and movies. This leads many victims to believe they must find someone to sue after an accident. In reality, most pedestrian accident cases are settled without lawsuits. Insurance claims and out-of-court settlements are two ways victims can receive compensation.
In simple terms, liability refers to legal responsibility. Whoever caused your accident is liable for repaying you through a settlement – provided you can prove that they caused your accident. Therefore, your Dallas pedestrian accident attorney’s goal is to find this responsible party. In a pedestrian accident, the liable party could be:
A Vehicle Driver
A car, truck, motorcycle, or bus driver’s negligence may have caused your accident. Before your accident, they may have been:
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving, such as cell phone use
- Ignoring roadway regulations such as traffic signals
- Driver inattention, sometimes caused by drowsy driving
These types of negligence can cause serious or fatal pedestrian accidents. Typically, you can file a claim with the insurer of the driver who caused your accident.
A Parts or Vehicle Manufacturer
Vehicle and parts manufacturers have a responsibility to distribute products that are safe for use. If a faulty vehicle or part caused your accident, one or more of these parties could be liable:
- A vehicle manufacturer
- A vehicle dealership
- A parts manufacturer
- A parts distributor
- Safety inspectors
A Municipality Responsible for Roadway Safety
The city of Dallas is responsible for maintaining roadway safety. Failure to meet this standard can result in:
- Lack of proper roadway signage
- Debris on the roadway
- Other dangerous roadway conditions
If you believe that a Dallas city agency or other municipality caused your accident, you typically have six months to file notice of a claim, per Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 101.101. For this reason, we advise you to seek legal aid quickly if a municipality was involved in your accident. These cases are usually more complex than other types of pedestrian accident cases.
A Truck Driver or Trucking Company
Truckers spend most of their time on rural interstates, transporting goods across county or state lines. For this reason, it’s unlikely that a truck or 18-wheeler caused your accident in Dallas. However, this doesn’t mean it’s impossible. In pedestrian accidents involving trucks, these parties could be held liable:
- The trucker
- A trucking company
- A business responsible for loading and outfitting a truck
Texas has a legal doctrine called “respondeat superior,” also known as vicarious liability. According to the Legal Information Institute, vicarious liability means employers can be held liable for the actions of their employees. Therefore, you could receive compensation from a trucking company if one of their truckers caused your accident.
What Might Make a Trucking Company Liable?
Some actions or inactions that could expose a trucking company to liability include:
- Hiring inexperienced drivers
- Failing to drug test their drivers
- Not regularly inspecting their vehicles
Vicarious liability is a strict rule. An employer can’t be held liable if their employee wasn’t operating within the course and scope of their employment. For example, if the trucker used a company vehicle while off the clock to go to a bar before causing an accident, you probably couldn’t sue their employer.
Like municipal claims, accidents involving vicarious liability are complicated. The description provided here only scratches the surface. Our Dallas pedestrian accident lawyers can act as your legal guide throughout this process. If you are confused, we’ll have answers.
These are just a few examples. Another liable party may have caused your accident. At Domingo Garcia, we have experience identifying liable parties. We can investigate your case and determine who’s responsible for your damages. If you are eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit, we will prepare your case for litigation from the beginning in order to avoid missing important deadlines.
How do You Prove Liability After a Pedestrian Accident in Dallas?
Proving liability is a complex, multi-step process. First, you or your personal injury attorneys serving Dallas must review the evidence associated with your case. In pedestrian accident cases, this evidence may include:
- Phone videos
- Traffic camera footage
- Expert witnesses
- Eyewitness interviews
- Police reports
- Crash reports
- Safety inspection reports
- Images of the accident scene
- Images of your injuries
- Images of damaged property
- Your medical records
Gathering this evidence is time-consuming. It can take weeks or months to build a legal case. We understand that you may have catastrophic injuries and do not have time to investigate your case. For this reason, our Dallas pedestrian accident lawyers are prepared to undergo an in-depth investigation on your behalf.
Gathering evidence is only the first step of the process. Once we have laid this groundwork, we can work towards establishing negligence.
In a pedestrian accident context, negligence generally refers to behaviors that endanger pedestrians. For example, running a red light while a pedestrian is crossing the street in a crosswalk is negligent behavior.
To win a pedestrian accident case, you must show that the liable party behaved negligently. Doing so involves proving the four elements of negligence, which are:
- The liable party owed you a legal duty of care: This element of negligence is typically a given in pedestrian accident cases, as all drivers on the roadway owe pedestrians a “duty of care,” or a responsibility to keep them from harm.
- The liable party breached this duty: Breaches of duty involve behaving negligently. In this case, perhaps the at-fault driver was driving while intoxicated. Therefore, they weren’t upholding their duty of care.
- The liable party caused your accident: For example, if the driver was drunk, they may have failed to stop and hit you while you were crossing the street in a crosswalk. Their breach of duty caused your accident.
- You suffered damages: Let’s say you broke both legs and suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the accident. Your Dallas pedestrian accident lawyer can review your medical records to determine the extent of your damages.
What If I Was Partially Responsible for Causing My Pedestrian Accident?
In a pedestrian accident, both parties may be partially at fault. For example:
- The person on foot broke the law by jaywalking.
- The pedestrian was texting on their phone and stepped in front of a car.
- The pedestrian was drunk and stumbled into the street.
In these examples, the pedestrian was at least partially responsible for causing the accident. This may lead a victim to avoid pursuing a settlement.
You May Still Be Entitled to Financial Compensation
However, in Texas, victims can still collect compensation even if they were partially responsible for the pedestrian accident, per Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Chapter 33. In personal injury cases, Texas uses comparative fault. This rule generally means:
- If you were less than 50% responsible for your accident, you can still pursue compensation
- Your compensation will correspond with your degree of responsibility
For example, let’s say that a pedestrian was jaywalking when a car hit them. Because of this, it’s determined that the pedestrian was 25% responsible for their accident. The careless driver ran a red light, making them 75% responsible for the accident.
Ultimately, the pedestrian receives a $200,000 settlement. Since they were 25% responsible for their accident, they can only receive 75% of their settlement. In this case, their final award would be $150,000.
Pursuing a Pedestrian Accident Settlement in Dallas
As noted before, lawsuits aren’t the only way to settle pedestrian accidents. Generally, there are three ways these types of cases are settled.
In Texas, drivers must carry liability insurance, which compensates those injured in car and pedestrian accidents. Liability insurance claims are most common in accidents involving individual drivers. However, trucking companies and municipalities generally carry liability insurance, too.
According to the Texas Department of Insurance, the minimum required liability insurance limits for individual drivers in Texas:
- $30,000 in injury coverage per person
- $60,000 in injury coverage per accident
- $25,000 in property damage coverage per accident
Insurance Companies Aren’t Interested in Helping You
To secure compensation, you must file a claim through the auto insurance policy of the driver (or insurance coverage of another relevant party) who caused your accident. Then, it’s up to their insurer to make you a settlement offer. Generally, liability insurers are more concerned with saving money than helping you recover.
To reduce the value of your claim, they may:
- Discourage you from hiring a lawyer – Don’t listen to insurers here; you have the right to legal representation.
- Suggest that your injuries aren’t severe – Your lawyer can help you prove the true value of your case.
- Ask that you provide a recorded statement – We advise you not to give a statement without your lawyer’s assistance, as the insurance company may later try to use your words against you.
Dealing with insurers is an art form. Our Dallas pedestrian accident attorneys are familiar with this process. We can handle insurers and undergo negotiations on your behalf. With our help, you can keep your involvement with insurers to a minimum. We will deal with all involved parties from the beginning of your case to its resolution.
Lawsuits don’t always end in trial. To avoid a trial, both parties in the case can enter settlement negotiations. Sometimes, these negotiations occur between both legal teams. Other times, they involve a third-party mediator.
Mediation or settlement negotiations can help both parties avoid a civil trial. This is usually desirable – lawsuits can be time-consuming and expensive. Ideally, settlement negotiations will end with you receiving compensation.
You might need to go to a civil trial after a pedestrian accident in some cases, such as:
- The reckless driver wasn’t carrying insurance
- Insurance negotiations fall through
- Mediation or settlement negotiations don’t produce a desirable outcome
Going to Trial Can Be a Complex Process
Pedestrian accident civil trials involve several steps, including:
- Research: During this part of the process, you and your pedestrian accident lawyer will determine the type of legal case you’re hoping to pursue.
- Filing suit: You file a lawsuit. You or your lawyer must notify the other party that you have filed a lawsuit against them.
- Discovery: During discovery, both sides of the case gather evidence, such as your medical bills, and interview witnesses to your pedestrian accident.
- Pre-trial settlement: As previously noted, you may settle a lawsuit before trial. Both legal teams can discuss settlement options during this step. If they fail to agree, the case proceeds to trial.
- Civil trial: In a civil trial, both sides of the courtroom will make their case. At Domingo Garcia, we’re prepared to act as your legal representative during a civil pedestrian accident trial. We can fight aggressively for your rights.
- Verdict: At the conclusion of the trial, a judge or jury will make a judgment. This judgment determines whether you receive compensation. In some cases, you may be able to appeal the ruling. During appeals, your case will undergo another review.
Pedestrian Accident Lawsuits Are Time-Sensitive
Pedestrian accident lawsuits in Dallas are subject to the Texas personal injury statute of limitations. If you don’t meet this legal deadline, you can no longer file a lawsuit. Different types of cases have different statutes of limitations.
Pedestrian accidents are considered personal injury cases. Therefore, they are subject to the Texas personal injury statute of limitations. This allows injured parties two years from the date of the pedestrian accident to file a lawsuit, per Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003. The statute of limitations may be longer or shorter depending on the facts of your case.
Don’t Wait to Get Started on Your Case
Many pedestrian accidents are settled without filing a lawsuit. However, you should still get started on your case as soon as you can, even if you don’t plan to file a lawsuit. Lawsuits are useful bargaining chips, and insurers may be more likely to cooperate if they know you can still file a lawsuit.
There are several other reasons you should start on your case as soon as you can, such as:
- It provides your personal injury attorneys with more time to gather evidence
- It ensures that you don’t miss any other case deadlines
- It signals to the liable party that you’re serious about pursuing compensation
- It ensures that witnesses don’t forget what they remember about your pedestrian accident
What Should I Do After a Pedestrian Accident?
The aftermath of a pedestrian accident is often stressful and confusing. Between your injuries and aggressive insurers, you may be at a loss for what to do. Taking these steps could streamline your case:
- Seek medical attention: Many common injuries, such as concussions, may not reveal themselves until days or weeks after the initial accident. Seeing a doctor immediately is the best way to record your injuries and provide valuable evidence for your case.
- File a police report: If the police did not report to the accident scene, you should file a police report as soon as possible. This report could be valuable evidence of driver negligence, among other things.
- Gather information: Take images of your injuries and the crash scene if possible. Gathering contact information of those involved in the accident is useful, too. Your Dallas pedestrian accident attorney can fill any remaining evidence gaps and collect witness statements on your behalf.
- Consider securing legal representation: Review local law firm options. Working with a lawyer could make your case much less stressful and time-consuming.
Common Mistakes After a Pedestrian Accident
Doing the wrong thing after a pedestrian accident could jeopardize your personal injury claim or lawsuit. We advise our clients to avoid making the following mistakes:
- Speaking to insurance adjusters without our assistance – We can communicate with insurers on your behalf.
- Ignoring your doctor’s orders – The defendant could claim you made your injuries worse by not adhering to your treatment schedule.
- Posting on social media – If your tweets or photos make it look or sound like you’re having a good time with friends or family after your accident, the defendant may use this as evidence that your injuries aren’t as serious as you claim.
Pedestrian Injuries Often Caused by Negligent Motor Vehicle Drivers
Pedestrian accidents often involve a reinforced metal vehicle colliding with a significantly more sensitive object – the human body. A victim’s age may impact the injuries they’ll suffer from. According to the California Journal of Emergency Medicine, head and neck injuries occur more frequently in children, whereas adult victims experience more musculoskeletal injuries in pedestrian accidents.
More specifically, these two types of injuries may include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Broken bones
- Torn muscles
- Internal injuries such as bleeding and organ damage
- Severe bruising
- Road rash
- Spinal cord injuries
These injuries often come with a high price tag. Researchers at Northwestern University estimate that a TBI can cost anywhere from $85,000 to $3 million in lifetime treatment expenses. If you add lost wages to this estimation, the numbers skyrocket.
Injuries are core damage in a pedestrian accident injury claim. With a settlement, you could receive complete coverage for your current and future medical expenses. At Domingo Garcia, we put our clients first. We’ll pursue your compensation so you can get back on your feet. You don’t have to fight for a settlement alone.
Pedestrian Accident Risk Factors
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), several risk factors are associated with pedestrian accidents:
- Pedestrian accidents occur more frequently in urban areas like Dallas.
- They happen most frequently outside of intersections.
- They occur more frequently at night and on the weekends.
- Almost half of all pedestrian accidents involve alcohol.
This information could help you avoid getting into a pedestrian accident. For example, you should walk during the day when possible and avoid crossing the street outside of intersections.
Working With a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer in Dallas
A Dallas pedestrian accident lawyer from our personal injury law firm can act as your legal representative. Whether you lost a loved one or are recovering from a severe injury, we can support you. Our goal is to approach your case with compassion and care. Ultimately, our goal is to ensure that you receive fair compensation. You shouldn’t have to bear the consequences of someone else’s mistake.
Contact our offices for a free, no-obligation initial consultation. We work contingency, so you won’t need to pay our lawyers anything upfront. We only get paid if you receive compensation.