Traveling by foot is usually good for your health. Walking might help you burn a few calories, but it is important to always be aware of your surroundings. When pedestrians and moving vehicles cross paths, serious injuries can occur.
If you have been hurt in a pedestrian accident, you could be entitled to damages from the motorist that struck you. If you are considering filing an insurance claim or taking legal action, an Odessa pedestrian accident lawyer from Domingo Garcia can help. Our personal injury lawyers can handle your case from start to finish.
What is a Pedestrian Accident Case Worth?
The injuries that can result from a pedestrian accident are often catastrophic. Unfortunately, these serious accidents are commonplace in Texas. According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), there are more than 5,000 of these accidents annually. If you suffered injuries in one of these accidents, you could be entitled to compensation. But what is your pedestrian accident case worth?
There is no way to estimate the value of your case with certainty. Numerous factors go into determining what you recover in a personal injury lawsuit. These factors include admissions of fault by the other driver as well as the existence of insurance policies to cover your accident. These factors come together to determine what your case is ultimately worth.
Even though an attorney cannot guarantee a certain outcome in your case, our firm could help you understand what it might be worth. There are different types of damages available in pedestrian accident cases, and you could be entitled to several of them. These include:
For many people injured in pedestrian accidents, the cost of medical care can be overwhelming. Medical care is costly, especially when emergency treatment is involved. If you pursue a civil lawsuit against the responsible party, you could be entitled to damages that pay for things like hospitalization, surgical procedures, pain medication, and ambulance transportation.
Pain and Suffering
You might also be entitled to damages based on the physical pain you experienced. This pain was avoidable and only occurred due to the negligence of the driver that struck you. It is only fair to pursue compensation for the extent of that pain against the at-fault party.
It is not uncommon for people injured in pedestrian accidents to be unable to return to work right away. Some injuries clear up in a matter of days, while others could last a lifetime. When these injuries impact your ability to earn a living, financial compensation could be available.
Some injuries can leave lasting scars or disfigurement. This could include visible scarring or the loss of a body part. Disfigurement can impact your confidence and have a harmful effect on your emotional state. You could pursue damages based on how your disfigurement has impacted you.
Diminished Future Earning Power
Even after you heal from your injuries, the lingering effects of the accident could limit the type of work you can perform. These limitations could place a limit on the amount of future compensation you earn. If you are likely to miss out on wages in the future due to a long-standing injury, you could be entitled to damages based on your diminished future earning power.
There are times when reliving a pedestrian accident is as traumatic as the accident itself. Even after your injuries heal, the emotional impact of being struck by a car can linger. These feelings can impact your life directly, including making it difficult to travel as a pedestrian in the future. In this situation, you could be entitled to damages based on the degree of your mental anguish.
If you had personal belongings that were damaged in the accident, you could be entitled to compensation. This compensation could apply to a range of things, including damage to mobile devices, watches, or jewelry in your possession at the time of the accident. Depending on the extent of the damages, you could be entitled to compensation covering the cost of repairing or replacing your items.
Keeping Up With Your Medical Care is Vital
If you were hurt in a pedestrian accident, it is crucial for you to seek medical care right away. This is true for serious injuries, but it is also important to seek treatment even when your injuries appear minor. The injuries suffered in a pedestrian accident can worsen over time, with conditions that seem minor at first suddenly becoming serious. Seeing a doctor right away could protect your health as well as your personal injury case.
It is important to remember that seeing a doctor once and failing to follow up is not enough to protect your health. Following the care plan provided by your doctor could speed up your recovery and strengthen your personal injury case. If you fail to follow the treatment plan provided by your doctor, the at-fault party could claim you have failed to mitigate damages.
You have an obligation to mitigate your damages in a pedestrian accident case. In other words, you must take reasonable steps to prevent your injuries from worsening after the accident. If the other side can show you could have prevented some of your damages by following your doctor’s orders, you might not receive compensation for that aspect of your injuries. Keeping up with the treatment prescribed by your doctor could prevent this from happening.
What Does a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Cost?
For many injury victims, the cost of hiring an attorney to pursue compensation following a pedestrian accident might seem out of reach. It is helpful to understand that our firm accepts pedestrian accident injury cases on a contingency basis. This approach allows you to move forward with a civil lawsuit without paying any legal fees upfront.
When our firm takes a case on contingency, we begin working right away and will not be paid our fee unless we recover compensation on your behalf. We retain a percentage of the compensation we recover in your case as our fee. That means if you get nothing, you owe us nothing.
Hiring an attorney on a contingency fee basis gives you the chance to pursue legal action no matter what financial situation you are in. Attorneys might have developed a reputation for being costly, but you will not have to pay anything upfront to secure representation in your injury case. We believe you deserve representation no matter your financial situation.
Pedestrian Safety Laws in Odessa
State law provides a number of rights and responsibilities for pedestrians in Odessa. Motorists have a duty to drive carefully around pedestrians, who often have the right-of-way. However, pedestrians also must comply with some of the same rules of the road that apply to motor vehicles.
Drivers must always yield to pedestrians at crosswalks where traffic signals are not present. Pedestrians also have the right-of-way at intersections when there are signals to direct them to cross the street. When it comes to intersections with traffic signs, both vehicles and pedestrians must obey the sign’s instructions before proceeding.
Pedestrians have obligations as well. If there is a sidewalk, pedestrians are barred from walking in the street. Pedestrians should also not illegally cross the street without a crosswalk or an intersection. While drivers must make every effort to avoid a collision with a pedestrian, those on foot are prohibited from suddenly stepping into the path of oncoming traffic.
How Do Pedestrian Accidents Happen?
Pedestrian accidents can happen in Odessa for a variety of reasons. In some cases, multiple factors will contribute to a pedestrian accident. Understanding these causes could be useful when filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Violation of Traffic Laws
Most pedestrian accidents are caused by driver negligence. Usually, these cases also involve a violation of state traffic laws. Drivers that ignore yield signs or drive too fast for the conditions are a common cause of collisions with pedestrians. While motorists are usually to blame, some accidents occur because pedestrians fail to follow the law. This could occur when a pedestrian suddenly steps in front of an oncoming car outside of the area of a crosswalk.
There are times when issues with the roadways or their designs are to blame for a pedestrian accident. Poor design could result in motorist confusion or make it difficult for a pedestrian to see oncoming traffic. Poorly marked intersections and crosswalks can also cause pedestrian collisions.
Some pedestrian accidents occur through no fault of either party. When motor vehicles or their parts are defective, accidents can happen despite a driver’s best efforts. Some pedestrian accidents only occur because of a failure in one of the systems of the vehicle involved. For example, a pedestrian accident could occur when a vehicle’s braking system fails, making it impossible for a driver to avoid a collision.
Are Pedestrian Accident Injuries Covered by Insurance?
While suffering an injury in a pedestrian accident can be devastating, there could be more than one avenue for pursuing financial compensation. In addition to filing a lawsuit directly against the party that injured you, it could also be possible to recover benefits through an insurance claim.
Every motorist is required to maintain a minimum level of liability insurance according to state law. This insurance protects a driver from third-party claims, including those filed by pedestrians injured in a collision. If the driver has adequate insurance coverage, the policy could pay for your physical, emotional, and mental hardships.
You have the right to file a liability claim on these policies, but it is worth noting that every policy has limits. The insurance company is only obligated to pay your damages up to the limit set on the policy. In Texas, you must carry a minimum of:
- $30,000 in bodily injury coverage per person
- $60,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident, and
- $25,000 in property damage coverage per accident
In addition to liability coverage, there might be other policies that are also available to you following a pedestrian accident. In fact, your own insurance coverage might be in place even though you were not driving. Our firm could help you review your options to determine if your own insurance policy might cover your injuries.
Avoid Discussing Your Odessa Pedestrian Accident Case With Anyone
It is never a good idea to discuss the facts of your pedestrian accident case with anyone other than your attorney. The things you say could be misconstrued, especially by insurance adjusters or attorneys for the driver that hit you. When you talk about your case, you are giving the other side evidence they could use to discredit you in the future. It is important to not only avoid discussing your case in person but also refrain from mentioning it on social media, as well.
Thankfully, you have no obligation to discuss any aspect of your case. This is especially true when it comes to insurance adjusters. That will not prevent adjusters from attempting to secure a recorded statement from you. In fact, the driver’s insurance company could imply that you are required to give them a statement. That is not the case. You have the right to refuse to discuss your case with them directly at any time.
One of the ways an attorney could be invaluable in your case is by serving as your advocate following the accident. Your attorney could deal directly with insurance companies and their attorneys so that you don’t have to. This is more than a convenience, as leaving settlement negotiations to your attorney could prevent you from saying anything that could be misconstrued as an admission of liability.
How Our Firm Resolves Pedestrian Accident Cases
When our firm takes on a pedestrian accident case, there are two ways we could secure a favorable outcome on your behalf. The first option—negotiating a settlement—is the most common way for us to resolve these cases. When settlements fall through, our firm could pursue legal action and secure a judgment in your favor.
Our firm will work to resolve your case through settlement long before we file a lawsuit. In fact, very few of these cases ever go to trial. Settlement agreements are common, but that does not mean it is in your best interest to accept the first offer that comes along. Insurance companies are known for making low, unreasonable offers in the early stages of a case. This is especially common when the injured party has not yet hired an attorney. Our firm could help you understand what your case is worth and advise you on whether or not an offer is in your best interest. The decision to settle is yours, but we are ready to provide you with all of the information you need to make that decision.
There are also times when settlements are out of the question. This can happen when the at-fault party refuses to accept responsibility for an accident. It can also happen if a driver is uninsured and lacks the resources to make a viable settlement offer. In either case, our firm could take your case to trial and seek a verdict. Not only can our firm ensure you are prepared for trial, but we will continue to work toward a settlement until the last possible moment.
Discuss Your Odessa Pedestrian Accident Case During a Free Consultation
If you have never been involved in a personal injury case before, it is understandable that you might have questions about the process. Our attorneys understand that pursuing legal action can be stressful, and we look forward to answering all of your questions during a free consultation.
During your consultation, you will have the chance to ask what your case is worth, learn about the legal deadlines that might apply, and discuss any potential roadblocks that could come up. Our attorneys are also prepared to discuss the legal system, in general, to help you understand what to expect moving forward.
You Have a Limited Amount of Time to Sue for a Pedestrian Accident in Odessa
You do not have an unlimited window of time to file a lawsuit following a pedestrian accident. There is a formal deadline in the law—referred to as the statute of limitations—that must be complied with. If you file your lawsuit after the statute expires, you can expect the court to dismiss your case with prejudice.
In Odessa, the statute of limitations is governed by Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §16.003. In most cases, you will have two years from the date of the accident to file your lawsuit. This is true for both wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits.
A dismissal with prejudice is a worst-case scenario for your claim. If the court dismisses your case with prejudice, the case ends, and you are also barred from ever filing it again. These are steep consequences that could dramatically impact your future. Thankfully, our firm could ensure you comply with the statute of limitations by filing your lawsuit in a timely manner. The sooner you speak to an attorney about a case, the more likely you are to comply with the statute.
How Can an Odessa Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Prove My Case?
It is not enough to sustain injuries in an accident and expect to be given compensation. In order for your personal injury case to be successful, you will need to establish that negligence played a part in your injury. Most of the time, this involves the negligence of the motorist that struck you while you were traveling on foot. There are four elements you must prove to establish negligence. Failing to prove even one of these will result in an unsuccessful outcome in your case.
The Duty of Care
Every pedestrian accident injury case begins with something known as the duty of care. To be entitled to compensation, the party that injured you must have had a duty to prevent that harm from occurring. This element is rarely an issue in pedestrian accident cases. Motorists have an obligation to drive safely, and this duty extends to any pedestrians in their vicinity.
Breaching the Duty of Care
Once the duty of care has been established, the next step is to show that the duty of care was breached by the motorist that struck you. A duty can be breached by any careless, intentional, or reckless act that results in your injury. Some common examples include driving too fast for the road conditions, failing to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk, or leaving the road to strike a motorist on a sidewalk. Whether or not the driver breached their duty of care is often a central issue in these cases.
Causation is the name for the link between your injuries and the breached duty of care. The purpose of this element is to ensure that you do not recover compensation for injuries that were not caused by the accident. For example, injuries that occurred prior to your pedestrian accident do not have a causal link to the defendant and would not be covered in this case.
The final element you will need to prove is that you have suffered compensable damages. Even if the other elements are met, you are not entitled to compensation unless you were harmed in a way that damages you. Some of the types of compensation commonly recovered in these cases include medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Let Us Help You Seek Damages Following a Pedestrian Accident in Odessa
If you have questions about your rights following a pedestrian accident, now is the time to discuss your options during a free consultation. Our firm is ready to help you pursue fair compensation for the injuries you sustained by investigating your case, aggressively pursuing a settlement, and thoroughly preparing for trial when necessary.
Domingo Garcia is ready to advocate on your behalf. We have recovered numerous settlements on behalf of our clients, and we look forward to pursuing compensation in your case as well. Reach out to an Odessa pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible for your free consultation.