Walking is a great way to get somewhere. It helps you to stay healthy and is good for the environment, but if you’re not careful it can also put you in danger.
Not all accidents involving cars and pedestrians are the driver’s fault. In fact, there are some things that a pedestrian can do that absolutely contribute to an accident and may even make them liable in court for damages.
The next time you take a walk, remember that you can help to prevent an accident by simply being aware of what your responsibility is as a pedestrian and some of the most common reasons accidents involving cars and pedestrians take place.
Responsibilities of Texas Pedestrians
There is a specific section of the Texas Transportation Code that pertains to pedestrians and what their responsibilities are when they’re traveling on foot and on or near roads. Pedestrians are required to:
- Only cross when given the walk signal at traffic lights
- Use sidewalks where available
- Keep on the correct side of the crosswalk
- Perform any other duties under the law
The situation that puts pedestrians most in harm’s way is crossing the road. The Texas Code states that pedestrians are required to use marked crosswalks but if one isn’t present then they can cross the road – but they must give vehicles the right-of-way.
In this particular situation, if a pedestrian is struck by a car while crossing the street, then they can be the one held liable for the accident if it can be shown they didn’t correctly yield the right-of-way.
Determining Fault in a Texas Pedestrian Accident
Ultimately, when an accident occurs, who is at fault will be determined by examining three primary factors. They are whether negligence was involved, if anyone involved was distracted, and if there were any violations of the law.
- Negligence: If traffic laws are not followed or if the pedestrian fails to take proper care in their actions, then negligence can be determined through those actions.
- Distraction: If the pedestrian wasn’t paying attention to the road because they were looking at their phone or distracted by something else, then they can be at fault for the accident.
- Law Violation: The pedestrian laws above must be abided by. Otherwise, the pedestrian can be held accountable for causing the accident.
How Texas Pedestrians May Be Held Liable
If the court determines that the pedestrian is at fault for the accident, then they can be made responsible for many different things.
Any property damage is done to the vehicle as well as public or private property, injuries to the driver including medical expenses, lost wages of the driver due to injuries sustained, and fines for violating pedestrian can all be the responsibility of the pedestrian.
What About Shared Fault?
In some instances, the fault may be determined to be shared. When this happens, each party is found responsible for their part of the accident. In order to get compensation for your injuries, it must be determined that the pedestrian was less than 50 percent at fault.
If you are a pedestrian who has been involved in an accident, don’t simply assume you aren’t at fault because you’re on foot. You can take actions that squarely put the blame on your shoulders.
So take care when walking on the road and understand what your responsibilities are when you walk on the streets. You don’t want to find yourself in an accident and getting sued as a result.
About the Author:
Brandon Fulgham has an in-depth understanding of both Texas law and Texans themselves. Before practicing law here, he received his undergraduate degree from TCU and his law degree from South Texas College of Law in Houston. After graduation, he worked in District Attorneys’ offices as a prosecutor. Now, he uses that knowledge to anticipate opposing counsel’s arguments and protect the rights of people in and around Fort Worth. His work has been recognized by Expertise (Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in Forth Worth and Best DUI Lawyers in Fort Worth, both 2020), Fort Worth Magazine, and The National Trial Lawyers, just to name a few.