Pedestrian Accident Lawyer: What To Do if Hit By a Car

Legal Options If Injured While Crossing the Street

Video Transcript:

Alan Roberston:

You're gonna be at quite a disadvantage if you are injured as a pedestrian by a motor vehicle striking you.

Rob Rosenthal:

If you're injured as a pedestrian, do you know what to do, and do you know how to find out who's at fault? Well, that's what we're going to find out when we ask the lawyer today.

Hi again, everybody, I'm Rob Rosenthal with askthelawyers.com, and my guest is Texas attorney Alan Robertson with the Sloan firm. Alan, good to see again. Thank you for making some time for us.

Alan Robertson:

Thank you for having me.

Rob Rosenthal:

So let's just start. Where do pedestrian accidents take place mostly in what you've seen in your experience? Where are they happening?

Alan Robertson:

Well, frankly, they happen anywhere drivers are distracted, and with cell phones and tablet computers, and in-dash what the auto manufacturers call “infotainment” systems, they're happening more frequently than perhaps they once did. So any place where there are cars and pedestrians sharing space where drivers are distracted. A vehicle-pedestrian accident may occur.

Rob Rosenthal:

And how is fault determined in these accidents? Is that difficult to determine?

Alan Roberston:

Not typically. Usually the driver is declared to be at fault by law enforcement. Pedestrians typically have the right of way on most crosswalks, on streets. On anything but a major highway, pedestrians typically have the right of way. So as a driver going about our business, living our daily lives going from point A to point B, we have an obligation to look out for pedestrians who may enter the roadway.

Rob Rosenthal:

You mentioned crosswalks. What if somebody's jaywalking? Crossing the street, not in the crosswalk. Does that change anything?

Alan Roberston:

So in Texas, we have a system called comparative fault. The jury is asked whether both the plaintiff and the defendant were negligent; they have to answer that question yes or no. If they answer yes, that both were negligent, then they're required to assign percentages of fault to each of the parties.

So if you have someone who's jaywalking, that doesn't necessarily mean that you're just out of luck if you were the party that was jaywalking. But that is evidence that might be considered by a jury; a judge may allow a jury to consider that evidence to determine what percentage of fault each party bears for that incident.

Rob Rosenthal:

And then if there's some sort of settlement or money involved in the case, then it's divided up by that percentage? Is that how it works?

Alan Roberston:

That's correct.

So suppose there was a jury verdict in the amount of $100,000, just to use a round number, and the jury determined that the driver was 90% at fault and the pedestrian jaywalker was 10% at fault. Well then that verdict would be reduced post-verdict by the judge by 10% to $90,000, and that would be the gross jury award that the pedestrian jaywalker would come away with. Whatever the jury does, whether it's 80%-20%, 70%-30%, some other percentage, that would be how that verdict would be divided up.

Rob Rosenthal:

Gotcha. Now, let's say a pedestrian is hit by a car, they're injured, and they need to pay for their medical treatment. Should they use their health insurance to do that? Is there some other way to do that? How does that work?

Alan Roberston:

Well, of course, these are questions that are best addressed to a lawyer, to have a lawyer look at based on the facts and circumstances of a particular case. However, you have a right to use your health insurance. You have a right to avail yourself of all of the contractual agreements within network providers that your health insurance has negotiated. Then whatever your health insurance pays as a result of the negligence of some other party, they may ask to be reimbursed for those expenses from your recovery, if and when such a recovery from that negligent party occurs.

Rob Rosenthal:

Alan, is there anything else someone should know if they’re a pedestrian injured in an accident with a vehicle? What sort of advice do you offer to them?

Alan Roberston:

Typically because of the disparity between a one-ton or multiple-ton glass and steel car, and the structures of the human body, you're gonna be at quite a disadvantage if you are injured as a pedestrian by a motor vehicle striking you. So I would encourage either yourself or your family to contact a qualified attorney as soon as possible, so that the attorney can go about securing the proof that's necessary from the parties that were involved from law enforcement while you’re convalescing. If there were cameras of the scene where the incident occurred, to get that footage before it's deleted, so that all that can be going on while you are in the process of getting better.

That would be my number one advice, because our services are done are on contingency fee, meaning that you don't pay for our services unless and until we settle or win your case.

Rob Rosenthal:

And if a person is, say in the hospital and unable to contact you themselves, a loved one can contact you on their behalf, correct?

Alan Roberston:

Absolutely. We'll be happy to speak with a loved one until you start feeling better, so that you can sign documents and have a conversation with us

Rob Rosenthal,

Alan, thank you so much for answering our questions today, very helpful information. Thank you.

Alan Roberston:

You bet. Glad to be of service.

Rob Rosenthal:

That's gonna do it for this episode of Ask the Lawyer. My guest has been Texas attorney Alan Robertson.

If you'd like more information, or you'd like to be able to choose a lawyer that lawyers choose, make sure to go to askthelawyers.com. Also, please take a second and click the button down in the corner so you can subscribe and know when future episodes are available. Thanks for watching, everybody. I'm Rob Rosenthal with Ask the Lawyers™.

Disclaimer: This video is for informational purposes only. In some states, this video may be deemed Attorney Advertising. The choice of lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.

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