Pedestrian Accident Liability in Texas

Who is at Fault in a Jaywalking Accident

Walking the roads in Texas may help preserve the environment and burn a few calories, but it certainly doesn’t come without danger. A factbook published by the Governors Highway Safety Association claims that in 2009 alone there were over 300 pedestrian accidents within the state, placing Texas at third in the nation, only below Florida and California.

Given the comparative extent of damages in accidents involving a motor vehicle and a pedestrian, many quickly place blame solely on the motorist. In some cases though, a pedestrian’s actions while on the road may largely contribute to the accident, raising questions about who may be liable for damages.

Pedestrians’ Responsibilities when on the Road

The Texas Transportation Code governs the rules of the road within the state, which includes a specific section that pertains solely to pedestrians.

Per the guidelines set forth in the Texas Transportation Code, pedestrians must:

  • Use sidewalks whenever present.
  • Only cross at traffic lights when given the signal.
  • Keep on the right side of a crosswalk.
  • Perform other duties according to the law.

In regards to crossing the road (which often puts a pedestrian in harm’s way), the Code provides that pedestrians must do so at marked crosswalks, or, if crosswalks aren’t present, may do so otherwise, but the pedestrians must yield the right-of-way to vehicles. In this case, a pedestrian who is struck while crossing a street anywhere other than a designated crosswalk (often referred to as “jaywalking”) could be deemed liable for the accident, if it was shown that they did not yield appropriately.

Motorists Must Drive With Care

This does not mean that motorists will escape liability entirely if involved in a pedestrian accident. The same section of the Code also includes rules governing motorists, stating specifically that drivers must “exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian on a roadway” and “give warning by sounding the horn when necessary.” In light of this, a pedestrian who is struck when jaywalking may be able avoid liability if it can be shown that the driver didn’t take due care on the road.

An Attorney May Be Your Best Ally

Naturally, each party may see it differently: the pedestrian may assume it was the negligence of the driver that led to the accident, while the driver may declare that it was the pedestrian’s failure to adhere to specific traffic laws.

Because of this, if you have been hit as a pedestrian, you should speak with a legal professional for help. An attorney can help you gather all of the evidence necessary to help bolster your claim, and advise you on the best course of action. Additionally, even if it is determined that you were partially liable for the crash, Texas law still may allow you to recover damages minus the percentage for which you were responsible. A legal professional may become your strongest ally in the aftermath of this devastating experience. If you suffered injuries in a pedestrian and motor vehicle accident contact Tate Law Offices, P.C., today by calling 888-769-1086 for a free initial consultation.