Being hit by a motor vehicle while walking, running, or jogging can be a traumatic experience. The Texas Pedestrian Accident Guide was created by Austin injury attorney Daniel R. Smith to help injured residents earn maximum compensation.
If you have been hit by a car while walking and are suffering from severe injuries, you may be eligible to file a pedestrian accident claim. Our experienced Texas pedestrian accident lawyer can take on your case and fight to get you the compensation you deserve. We are sorry that you have to deal with these injuries that could have been prevented. If you have a lot of medical bills, are missing time at work, and can’t enjoy your life because of the accident, please call our office today for a free initial consultation.
Pedestrian Accident Statute of Limitations
In Texas, you have to abide by the statute of limitations. You have two years from the date of the accident to either bring your claim or have it settled. This is not a loose time limit. It is hard and final. If you try to bring a claim a day after two years, you will be barred from compensation altogether. Just because you have two years to file the claim, doesn’t mean you should take that whole time to talk to an attorney. The sooner you talk to an attorney, the more time you have to strengthen your case which will ensure you have the best possible result.
Rules of Compensation
There are some simple rules in Texas that we follow regarding the amount of compensation you can get. Texas is a state that uses modified comparative negligence. You can get barred from receiving compensation if you are found to be more than 50% at fault for the accident. This might happen if you really didn’t look both ways and walked into moving traffic. Most likely, that’s not the case. If you are at fault for less than 50%, you won’t be barred from compensation, but you will have your award reduced. This might happen if you crossed somewhere that there wasn’t a designated crosswalk, but the driver of the car that hit you was being careless. In these cases, it’s down to math. If you were awarded $100,000 and deemed to be 10% at fault, then you can collect $90,000 of the award. Now, if you were deemed 0% at fault for the accident because the driver was perhaps on their cellphone and should have stopped for you, then you do not have to worry about any reduction to your compensation.
Dealing with the Insurance Company
The ones who have a role in pointing blame at you is the liable party’s insurance company. They have a job to protect their own interests, which is saving money. They will try their very best to reduce or eliminate your claim. If they call you shortly after the accident asking for a statement about the accident. If you value your claim, you should not give them any details about what happened. They aren’t actually trying to be helpful. They are trying to trip you up and get you to say something that would give them a reason to withhold the compensation that you fully deserve. When they call you, tell them that they can ask the questions they need to through your attorney.
Steps to Take Before Filing
Getting to a doctor is so important after the accident. You might not have a choice if you were knocked unconscious and taken on an ambulance. If you need emergency medical attention, you should be seeking it as soon as you’re able to. If you try to brush off some of your pain, you run the risk of worsening your condition. Also, if you avoid going to the doctor, the insurance company will try to say that you couldn’t possibly be that injured and that you do not deserve compensation for your injuries. Therefore, it is the most important thing you need to do for yourself and for your case if you want it to be successful.
It is just as important to hire an attorney who knows what they are doing. At the scene of the accident, you need to collect evidence. If you’re too injured to do it yourself, then your attorney can do it for you. Photos need to be taken of the scene and the debris from the collision. Contact information needs to be gather from witnesses and the driver who hit you. That can all be done with the help of your attorney.
Frequently Asked Questions | Texas Pedestrian Accident Guide
What Do I Do After My Accident?
The first you should do after a pedestrian accident is go seek medical treatment immediately and follow the doctor’s orders. That gives you the best chance at recovery, hopefully a full recovery. The next thing you need to do is hire an attorney immediately. Part of the role of an attorney is to act as a detective and investigator and collect all the evidence. Evidence disappears and trails go cold. The attorney needs to find witnesses and talk to them as soon as possible.
Lastly, you need to hire the right attorney. The right attorney is a person who focuses primarily on personal injury litigation. If they don’t focus on personal injury litigation, then they might not know everything with regards to the law. Beyond that, it’s important to hire someone who’s a trial attorney. A trial attorney is someone who prepares every case as if they’re going to trial.
How Do I Find the Right Attorney?
You may be wondering, “How do I choose the best pedestrian accident attorney?” First, you have to establish a level of trust and comfort with that attorney, and you should be able to do that in the first meeting, whether it be over the phone or in-person.
Next, you need to hire someone who has experience in pedestrian accidents and not just personal injury law. Pedestrian accidents are different than a car wreck, and if someone doesn’t have that experience, they may not know how to avoid some of the unique pitfalls in those cases.
Lastly, you need to hire someone who is a trial attorney. Trial attorneys work cases differently and insurance companies take notice. Insurance companies know who the trial attorneys are, and they treat them more fairly, and are more likely to put a fair settlement on the table and not force you to go to trial. If, in the rare instance you do have to go to trial, trial attorneys are ready to do that for you.
Should I Talk to the Insurance Company?
There are two big mistakes that happen time and time again when dealing with insurance companies.
The first mistake is that people give a recorded statement. They think that they’re cooperating with the insurance company and that the insurance company will treat them fairly, but that’s wrong. The instance company is not going to share other people’s recorded statements with you. The only thing they’re doing is they’re trying to limit their exposure and trap you in the recorded statement to say anything that can hurt your claim.
The next big mistake that is when people take the first offer, when it’s almost always negotiable. More than that, the first offer is a lowball. The insurance company is seeing if they can get away with paying you way less money than you deserve, money that does not fairly compensate you for your injuries.
What Mistakes Should I Avoid?
The first mistake that people make after a pedestrian accident is they delay in seeking medical treatment. Closely related to that is they don’t follow the doctor’s orders. It’s very important to seek medical treatment and follow the doctor’s orders so you can recover to the best of your ability. If you delay or you don’t follow the doctor’s orders, you’re not going to recover as much as you would have otherwise.
The next mistake people make is they give a recorded statement to the insurance company. Insurance adjusters are there not to give you fair and just compensation for your claims, but to limit the exposure and pay as little as possible. Related to that, a common mistake people make is they delay in hiring an attorney. When you hire an attorney, that attorney can investigate the pedestrian accident right away and can help prepare you for a recorded statement.
Related to that, a common mistake people make is they don’t hire the right attorney. People need to hire an attorney who specializes in personal injury law and has experience in pedestrian accidents specifically. Pedestrian accidents are different than other accidents. Every case is unique. Also, the attorney needs to be a trial attorney. That way, your case is being worked on as if it’s going to trial the whole time. If that happens, you’re more likely to get a fair settlement offer from the insurance company without going to trial. If you do have to go to trial, then you’re represented by someone who’s used to going to trial.
How Much is My Case Worth?
Unfortunately, at the beginning of a pedestrian case, we won’t know the value of your case. As a general rule of thumb, the more serious your injuries, the more your case is worth. However, we don’t know the extent of your injuries until you’re done with medical treatment.
There are a few different types of compensation you can receive for personal injury claims in Texas. This includes past and future lost wages, past and future pain and suffering, and past and future medical costs.
The first thing that has to happen to resolve your case is you need to complete your medical treatment or get to a stage in your medical treatment where we are sure what the extent of your injuries are. Once we know the extent of your injuries and what happened, we can submit a demand to the insurance company outlining all the facts and ask for fair and just compensation. After we submit the demand, they have a few weeks to respond. If they respond and it’s something that we can work with, we negotiate and we try to get your case resolved right then. Unfortunately, most of the time that doesn’t happen and we have to file a lawsuit.
When we file a lawsuit, we then have to serve the defendant. Normally, that’s not an issue, but occasionally people try to avoid service. Once they’re served, they have 30 days to respond to the lawsuit. Normally when an answer is on file, there’s an attorney on record, and at that point we immediately contact that attorney and try to get a trial date, and that way there’s an end in sight. Hopefully, we’re able to negotiate a fair settlement without going to trial, but if not, we’re ready.
What If I Have a Preexisting Condition?
A third-party is responsible for any changes in your condition. For example, if you had a back injury before that on average was a two on a pain scale of one to ten before you were hit by a car, and then after you were hit by a car it was an average of a six, the driver would be responsible for the change in your condition. Preexisting conditions are very complicated and should be looked at on a case-by-case basis.
Will My Pedestrian Accident Case Go to Trial?
You may be wondering, “Will my case go to trial?” The answer to that question is unclear right away. All I can assure you is that you are the boss with regards to the settlement offer. If you want to take a settlement offer, then you can take it. My role is to offer you advice on whether I think it’s a fair offer or not. The client always gets to make the decision on whether or not to take the settlement offer.
If for whatever reason we do go to trial, I can assure that you will always be very well-prepared. Going to trial is nothing to be worried about. Truly, it’s an opportunity for you to tell you story to a jury of your peers and a judge.
Contact Our Office Today
When you are injured in a pedestrian accident, it can stir up a lot of trouble in your life. You might not be able to return to normal day-to-day life and that can be hard on you and your family. We will do everything I can to get you the most compensation possible. Please call Austin pedestrian accident lawyer Daniel Smith today for a free consultation. We will be glad to take your call and go over your case in detail so that you feel supported and educated about your case.