Traveling from point A to point B on foot is a healthy and affordable mode of transportation, but it comes with risks. Texas rules of the road try to protect pedestrians by giving them the right-of-way in most situations. But it’s easy to forget that sharing the road with motor vehicles can be life-threatening for those traveling on foot.
Odds of getting hit by a car: Pedestrian fatalities and injuries in Texas
Whenever cars meet road users like pedestrians, it’s a fact that cars win every time. These statistics reveal how:
- AAA Foundation for Highway Safety reports that the number of pedestrian fatalities in the United States increased 53% from 2009 to 2018.
- Pedestrian and bicyclist deaths are on the rise in Texas. In 2019, pedestrian deaths accounted for 1 in 5 deaths on Texas roads.
- In 2018, Houston police reported that 66 pedestrians and 9 bicyclists lost their lives in car accidents.
What happens when you get hit by a car
Pedestrian-car accidents involving high rates of speed can easily cause serious damages to the body. A pedestrian’s chances of being killed significantly increases with the speed of the car.
According to research, the average pedestrian struck by a car traveling at 20 mph has a 93% survival rate. At 30 miles per hour, one in five pedestrians won’t survive. Beyond 30 miles per hour is a tragedy for many.
The most tragic pedestrian injuries usually occur in the beginning of the accident, during the initial impact phase. While broken bones, head, neck and spinal injuries can occur, the nature and severity of the injuries depends on:
- The age and height of the pedestrian
- Where the pedestrian was standing in relation to the car
- The speed of the vehicle
- The type and shape of automobile (truck or car)
How to protect your body if hit by a car
As a pedestrian, you can’t control if drivers on the road watch out for you or not. But you can take steps to protect your body when you see an accident coming:
- Protecting your head. A broken arm can heal easily but your head is the most important part of your body. Head injuries can be life-long and even fatal. Use your arms as a shield to cover your head in order to avoid impact with the car.
- Jumping on top of the hood. This is safer than being under the tires and possibly getting run over. If you are in the position to do so, try to jump or even roll on top of the hood.
- Using the tuck-and-roll method. Studies suggest there is a right way to fall. As you get close to the ground, try to pull your knees into your chest, cross your arms, and tuck your head inward or down towards your chest.
After getting hit by a car, you may wonder how you’re going to pay for your injuries. As a pedestrian, you have rights to seek compensation from your insurance company (even if you weren’t in a car at the time of the accident) and from the driver who hit you.
Compensation in a pedestrian car accident in Texas
In Texas, your auto insurance policy may protect you in a pedestrian accident.
Policy additions like medical payments coverage (med-pay), personal injury protection (PIP), and uninsured motorist (UM/UIM) work to pay for a portion of your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and disability.
These come in handy especially when the at-fault driver does not have insurance. If the driver does have insurance, you may also have the right to file a claim with their insurance company. Lastly, you can choose to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the driver.
To recover compensation for your pedestrian-car accident, you must collect many forms of evidence. Here are some types of evidence that will help:
- Photographs of the accident scene
- Video surveillance like a dash cam
- The police report
- Statements of people who saw the accident
If you’re going against the insurance company, the claims process involves negotiating with the insurance adjuster to get a fair settlement offer. If you’re filing a personal injury lawsuit against the driver, you have two years from the accident date to file.
What to do after you’re hit by a car
If you were hit by a car, here’s what you should do:
- Move to a safe location. If you’re in the street, be sure to move to a safe location first to prevent causing other accidents.
- Call the police. No matter who caused the accident, contact the police. You want an official investigation so you can receive a police report in order to support your claim or lawsuit.
- Gather information. If you can, take photos of your injuries as well as the scene of the accident. Collect names and phone numbers of anyone involved and witnesses who saw the incident.
- Seek medical treatment. Go to the emergency room and be examined for injuries. Some injuries are not visible right away and medical records can help you prove your damages.
- Contact a personal injury attorney. If you’ve suffered injuries after being hit by a car in Texas, call our experienced personal injury attorneys. The sooner you get us involved, the better chances we have of getting the money you need to recover.
Don’t try to walk it off: Contact an experienced Houston injury attorney today
If you’re a pedestrian in Texas who got hit by a car, don’t try to handle the accident on your own. With over 30 years of experience, Johnson Garcia LLP Houston injury attorneys are standing by to enforce your rights after being involved in a pedestrian-car accident. Give us a call today or contact us online for a free consultation. You’ll pay nothing unless we win.