Katy is a historic railroad town, but like in most areas of the country, people these days prefer to travel by car. Many Katy residents commute to other regions in the Greater Houston area or vice versa.
Unfortunately, all these vehicles on our roads mean car accidents are increasingly common.
When most people think of a car accident, they imagine two or more motor vehicles smashing into each other, causing injuries to drivers and passengers. An often-overlooked victim in car accidents is the pedestrian. While pedestrians usually have the right of way, this does not protect them from negligent drivers. In fact, in many ways, pedestrians are the most vulnerable people involved in any accident because they don’t have the protection of a vehicle or other equipment.
If you or a loved one was an innocent pedestrian injured by the negligent actions of a Katy driver, you deserve compensation. The law firm of Stewart J. Guss has over 20 years of experience practicing personal injury law in the Katy area and advocating zealously for our clients. We can help you recover from your injuries and your financial hardship.
We bring our passion for justice and our client-first mentality to every case that we take on. We are a national law firm based in Houston with multiple offices around the country, and we also work with affiliate law firms across the country that share our focus and dedication to excellence.
No matter where you are located, we may be able to help you, so call or contact us now. Contact our Katy Pedestrian Accident Lawyers today by calling (800) 898-4877 to schedule an immediate, free consultation. We know your case is important to you, and we won’t make you wait!
The Painful Truth About Pedestrian Accidents
In a matchup between a car and a pedestrian, there’s a clear winner… and it’s not the pedestrian. Cars have a protective rigid exterior, airbags, and seatbelts. Meanwhile, pedestrians are only protected by the clothes on their backs, and they don’t even have the benefit of the protective gear worn by bikers.
Put simply, pedestrians are vulnerable victims with a high risk of serious injuries or death after a collision with a motor vehicle.
After an accident, a pedestrian is likely to suffer from one or more of the following injuries:
- Head and brain injuries: Pedestrians have no head protection, and there’s a high likelihood of their head striking the ground or the vehicle. A victim could suffer from lacerations or potential fracture of the skull bones. Additionally, collisions involving pedestrians are a common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI). A TBI can leave the victim in a coma or vegetative state, or suffering from brain death.
- Spinal injuries: The spinal cord is the bundle of nerves that allows the brain to communicate with the body. Damage to the spinal cord causes different symptoms in every victim, which include changes in strength, sensation, and bodily function, as well as muscle weakness, numbness, and paralysis.
- Neck and back injuries: A pedestrian’s neck and back are vulnerable to injury in an accident. These injuries often require lifelong physical therapy and pain management.
- Internal damage: A blow to the body can cause internal damage to organs including the heart, lungs, and kidneys. Internal damage and internal bleeding are difficult to diagnose. You may not even notice them at first, but these injuries can lead to dangerous consequences.
- Dental and facial injuries: When they are struck by a car or slammed to the ground, pedestrians may find themselves suffering from facial injuries or dental injuries like cracked or chipped teeth. These issues may require costly and painful reconstructive surgery.
- Broken bones: A pedestrian might throw their arms out to brace for a fall, or the car might strike them in the leg. No matter the circumstance, broken bones are a common result of pedestrian accidents. If the break is severe enough, it may require surgery or physical therapy.
- Cuts, bruises, and sprains: While these injuries are less serious, they can still limit a victim’s ability to live a normal life during recovery.
No matter what you think your injuries are, be sure to seek immediate medical care after a pedestrian accident.
Who Is Responsible for My Injuries After a Pedestrian Accident?
If a party acted intentionally or negligently, and those actions caused the accident and your injuries, that party is responsible for the cost of your recovery. It’s only logical. But sometimes, insurance companies need some persuasion to do what’s right. Our attorneys work with clients to understand the specific circumstances of their accidents to identify all responsible parties.
Consider the actions of the following parties for potential liability:
- Negligent driver: Anytime a driver operates a vehicle or otherwise acts outside a reasonable standard of care, the driver is negligent. One clear parameter for determining negligence is whether the driver violated any traffic laws or ordinances, such as speeding, driving under the influence, or distracted driving. Data shows that 26% of pedestrian fatalities in Texas during the last decade involved a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit, and that percentage has seen continued growth year after year. Distracted driving is another common cause of pedestrian accidents. Data indicates a high probability that driver negligence was involved in your pedestrian accident.
- Driver’s employer: If a negligent driver was performing job duties as an employee at the time of the accident, their employer is responsible for their negligence. In these cases, it’s often better to pursue the employer because they could have a more exhaustive insurance policy. Still, the employer may attempt to argue that the employee is an independent contractor in an attempt to avoid liability. Enlist the help of a pedestrian accident attorney for best results.
- Local government: Pedestrians are at the mercy of other drivers and the existing infrastructure of streets, sidewalks, crosswalks, and traffic signals. The local government is obligated to maintain local roads and traffic signs and lights. If the accident is due to the failure of the local government to maintain this infrastructure, the governmental entity may be responsible for your injuries. Pursuing a local government for negligence is a complicated and often frustrating process. The government is protected from certain claims, and if recovery is available, it might require dealing with bureaucracy. When you’re seeking recovery from the government, a lawyer will be an important advocate.
- Vehicle manufacturer: A vehicle manufacturer has an obligation to test the vehicle and produce a safe product free from defects. If any vehicle involved in the accident malfunctioned, and the malfunction contributed to the accident, the manufacturer is responsible for your injuries.
Our Katy pedestrian accident lawyers work to identify every party responsible for your injuries. We work with our clients to analyze the evidence and facts. Along the way, we build a strong case against the responsible parties and maximize your opportunity for a full recovery.
What Injuries Can I Recover Compensation For?
You are entitled to recover for all the negative impacts the accident has caused! We know an unexpected accident causes a chain reaction that disrupts many areas of your life. The possible damages extend far beyond your doctor’s bills.
Some of the most commonly recovered damages after a pedestrian accident include:
- Medical expenses: The defendant is responsible for all of the medical expenses resulting from the accident. These expenses may include doctor’s bills, the cost of prescription medication, an ambulance ride, or assistive devices, like a wheelchair. You should also include an estimate of the cost of future medical care, including physical therapy or in-home care, in your claim.
- Loss of income: If your injuries require you to miss work or work a reduced schedule, you deserve compensation for the associated loss of income. Many injuries permanently limit a victim’s ability to work or to advance in their professions. Include an estimate of your future lost earning potential in your damages demand.
- Property damage: If your property was damaged or destroyed in the accident, you are entitled to repair or replacement. Many pedestrians are carrying expensive electronics or other property that is damaged in the accident, and the defendant is responsible for compensating you for this loss.
- Emotional distress: Emotional stress is common after any traumatic incident. Many pedestrian accident victims suffer from anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While these damages are harder to quantify, they can still impact your quality of life, and you are still entitled to recovery.
- Loss of enjoyment: Injuries can change many things about victims’ lives, including their ability to participate in activities that once brought them joy. If you can no longer participate in your favorite activities, like playing an instrument or a sport, you should include a loss of enjoyment claim in your damages demand.
- Punitive damages: Punitive damages exist to punish defendants rather than compensate plaintiffs for their injuries. In Texas, punitive damages are only available if a defendant acted with fraud or malice. Punitive damages are capped at two times the award for economic damages, plus an amount equal to what the jury awards for non-economic damages up to $750,000.
Be sure to include all of your damages in your accident claim. Some cases will require the input of experts, including a medical expert to determine future medical costs and an economic expert to estimate your future earning potential. When you partner with us, our attorneys can connect you with some of the most reliable experts in the area.
It is incredibly important to prepare a comprehensive damages demand. This figure will be important as you consider any settlement offer or pursue a jury trial. While you might be enticed to accept an early settlement offer as a quick resolution and be relieved there’s some money in your pocket, the offer is likely far below the amount to which you are truly entitled. Your troubles could multiply in the coming months or years. Having a full damages assessment prepared will help you objectively analyze any settlement offer and avoid making a mistake.
Taking all of the steps necessary to prepare for a lawsuit, including preparing a damages demand, can take quite some time. For this reason, be sure that you do not delay in contacting an attorney! You generally only have two years from the date of the accident to bring a claim against the defendant. Any claim filed after this date will be barred by the courts.
Katy Pedestrian Accident Frequently Asked Questions
Are Pedestrian Accidents Common?
And it is! Pedestrian accidents are much more common than you might expect. A pedestrian crash is any crash that involves an individual who was not occupying a motor vehicle, bicycle, or other mobile forms of transportation.
In the most recent year for which statistics are available, Texas experienced 5,952 total pedestrian crashes , resulting in 656 fatalities and more than 1,200 serious injuries. These pedestrian accidents also caused nearly 2,000 non-incapacitating injuries and an additional 1,954 possible injuries.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association , Texas is particularly dangerous for pedestrians. A study found that Texas is one of five states that accounts for almost half of all pedestrian deaths in the country. Texas is ranked third for most fatalities, just behind California and Florida.
Additionally, Texas is in the top one-third of states for the number of pedestrian accident fatalities per 100,000 population.
Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents are not decreasing but are instead becoming more common. Studies show that from 2008 to 2017, pedestrian deaths increased by over 35% . The increase is not tied to any change in driving or walking frequency. Instead, the increase in accidents is tied to the design of streets, tailored for fast-moving vehicles and not for foot traffic, and a purchasing trend for large SUVs and trucks, which are more likely to kill a pedestrian in a crash.
In response to these numbers, Texas increased its focus on pedestrian safety by launching an annual pedestrian safety forum . Texas also has a strategic highway safety plan that includes a focus on pedestrian safety.
The plan includes these strategies to reduce pedestrian collisions:
- Improving pedestrian visibility at crossing locations
- Improving pedestrian networks
- Developing strategic pedestrian safety plans tailored to local conditions
- Improving pedestrian-involved crash reporting
- Reducing pedestrian crashes on urban arterials and local roadways
- Improving driver and pedestrian safety awareness and behavior
- Establishing vehicle operating speeds to decrease crash severity
Sixty-six active programs and projects will try to address pedestrian safety. While this focus on pedestrian safety aims to reduce pedestrian accidents in the future, it also makes it clear that there are significant risks to pedestrians in and around Katy today.
According to recent reports released by the Texas Department of Transportation, an average of two pedestrians lose their lives every day to a motor vehicle accident. Three additional pedestrians suffer injuries every day in Texas car accidents.
As personal injury lawyers, we deal with cases like these all the time. Below we address some common questions from victims of pedestrian accidents.
What should I do after being injured in a Katy pedestrian accident?
It is common for victims of a pedestrian accident to be seriously injured after an accident. Some are immobilized or incapacitated. But if you are physically able, we recommend following these steps to the best of your ability:
- Document the names and contact information for the driver and witnesses
- Avoid discussing fault — do not apologize or give the impression you were responsible
- Document your injuries immediately and seek proper medical care
- Contact your insurance company if you have an insurer
- Seek expert guidance from a pedestrian accident attorney
What are the right of way laws in Katy?
Drivers are supposed to yield the right of way to pedestrians at crosswalks, traffic signals, and when pulling out / backing out of driveways or alleys. However, pedestrians are not without responsibilities of their own. For example, there are some roadways, including IH-35 and State Loop 1, where pedestrians are prohibited from crossing. These high-speed roadways are dangerous for cars, let alone pedestrians.
Is it true that Katy pedestrian accidents are on the rise?
Yes, Katy and other areas have seen an increase in pedestrian accidents over the last few years. There has been some investigation into the cause of this increase, and it has been determined that the most common reason for this increase is distracted driving.
Many people are unaware that up to 19% of pedestrian accidents result in a distracted driving citation. According to a recent report issued by the US Public Health Service and the Office of the US Surgeon General, most of these distractions are due to cell phone usage — though Texas has had a hands-free rule in place since 2017.
Do I need an attorney following a Katy pedestrian accident?
Why should you talk to a lawyer? Because you need to know your rights and protect them. After a pedestrian accident, you may not be aware of all your options. Hiring a lawyer can help you know exactly what to expect from the accident claims process. In many cases, unwitting victims of a Katy pedestrian accident will speak with insurance company adjusters and accept the first offer they get. This is generally a mistake because it may take weeks before you know what your losses will really be.
Insurance companies want to swoop in and settle quickly, before you realize how long it will take to heal from your injuries, what your final medical costs will be, or how long it will be before you return to work.
If a driver was cited as part of the accident why do I need your Katy pedestrian accident lawyers?
Even if a driver was cited for careless driving, you should still work with a lawyer to get the best possible settlement results. A Katy pedestrian accident attorney is aware of some of the insurance company tactics that are used to ensure they pay as little as possible towards your injuries.
Some common tactics from stubborn insurance companies include:
- Victim blaming – Drivers may point the finger at the pedestrian who was injured even if they were cited. This is because they know unless the pedestrian has hired an attorney, they may not understand what steps to take to prove they were not at fault. A lawyer can help you by requesting surveillance videos from both traffic cameras and security cameras from businesses around the location of the accident.
- Prove preexisting conditions – If the pedestrian had a prior condition or injury that the accident may have exacerbated, the insurance company may claim they do not have liability. If you have a prior injury, inform your attorney.
- Recorded statements – It may seem innocent enough, but if an adjuster asks if it’s okay to record the call, they may be trying to trap you. They’ll ask seemingly casual questions, pretending they care about how you are doing. For example, they might ask “How are you feeling?” but if you respond “fine,” as is our habit, this can be their “gotcha!” moment. They will use your quote to minimize your injuries and claim you’re perfectly “fine.” This allows the insurance company to “low ball” their settlement offer. Never allow an insurer to record any calls with you without talking to an attorney.
The insurance company made an offer and sent me an agreement after my Katy pedestrian accident. What should I do?
Do not sign any agreements without seeking legal help first. Insurance companies know that if you have suffered an injury that requires you to lose time from work, you are likely facing financial hardship. They may believe that by making an offer quickly, you will accept. However, if you review the agreement they sent you, you will quickly learn once you accept the settlement, you will be on your own for future losses.
Insurance companies generally agree to make a settlement when it frees them from future liability. Once you have accepted an offer, you will be asked to sign an agreement that prevents you from holding the insurer or the responsible party accountable for any future losses you suffer as a result of your injuries. Do not accept or sign anything without careful review from a personal injury lawyer.
How do you prove who is at fault following a Katy pedestrian accident?
The basis of all Katy pedestrian accident cases is liability. Liability can only be established after an attorney has reviewed all evidence in your case. This means reviewing accident reports, accessing medical records, getting statements from witnesses, and obtaining private surveillance videos wherever possible. Remember, Texas banned traffic light cameras in 2019, but many Katy business owners have cameras outside of their buildings.
What are the losses I may recover after a Katy pedestrian accident?
Although every accident is different, certain losses are recoverable. Economic losses that often occur as a result of a Katy pedestrian accident include medical bills, both current and future anticipated expenses as well as lost wages during recovery, and future estimated wages which may be lost because of your injuries. Discuss any other economic losses you can claim with your pedestrian accident lawyer.
You may also seek non-economic losses as part of a Katy pedestrian accident claim. These include pain and suffering, PTSD, and other intangible effects of the accident. Contact Stewart J. Guss Injury Attorneys for more information.
How do I pay my medical bills after a Katy pedestrian accident?
For accident victims who have medical insurance, you can use your insurance to pay for your medical visits. However, you should be aware that any amounts paid by your insurer may have to be repaid once your Katy pedestrian accident claim resolves. This process, called subrogation, ensures victims are not being compensated twice for their medical bills.
If you are making copayments or other out-of-pocket payments, keep careful track of them by documenting them and providing that information to your attorney.
Why is it necessary to hire a Katy pedestrian accident lawyer if I know the driver was wrong?
Accident victims can accidentally hurt their chances of getting a reasonable settlement if they fail to take the proper steps to protect themselves. Insurance companies will have an attorney fighting for them; why shouldn’t you?
How long will it take me to get compensated for my injuries?
There is no easy way to determine how long it will take to resolve your case. If a reasonable settlement can be reached with the insurance company, the time will be shorter. However, if your lawyer has to go to court to get you the compensation you deserve, it may take longer.
Do most Katy pedestrian accident cases go to court?
No. In most cases, pedestrian accident attorneys reach a reasonable settlement with the insurance company without going to court. However, reaching that agreement is a process.
Here are the steps you can generally expect to occur:
- Step one: Consultation – A Katy pedestrian accident attorney will evaluate your case during a free consultation and explain your options. Since every accident is different, you may have one option or several to choose from.
- Step two: Retainer – Should you decide to move forward with a claim, you will be asked to review and sign a retainer agreement with a lawyer. Remember, since your Katy pedestrian accident case costs you nothing until you receive compensation for your injuries, the agreement will include the fee amount that your attorney will take from the final settlement.
- Step three: Evidence Collection – Your attorney will take the time to review all available evidence, including police reports, witness statements, and medical records. From there, they may determine how much compensation should be requested from the insurer. Your attorney will discuss this amount with you, since the final decision will be yours.
- Step four: Demand Notice & Filing – A demand notice will be issued on your behalf by your Katy pedestrian accident attorney. Depending on what your lawyer expects, they may also file a Katy pedestrian accident lawsuit at the same time to ensure there is no problem with the statute of limitations expiring.
- Step five: Negotiations – Once your lawyer has heard back from the insurance company, when they will likely receive a counteroffer, and the negotiations on a settlement will commence. Remember, your attorney will be in contact with you because you remain in full control over whether a settlement is accepted.
- Step six: Litigation – Should you and your attorney feel the insurance company is not making a substantial enough offer, then you may be preparing to go to court. This may add to the timeline, though most cases will not go to court. Above all, we will prepare to advocate for you in court should that become necessary.
- Step seven: Disbursement – Once a final agreement has been reached, or a final verdict after a trial is issued, your attorney will receive funds into escrow. If there’s a claim of subrogation by your health insurance carrier, an amount will be issued to them. At this time, your attorney will also receive their fees for handling your case and the final distribution of funds for your case will be released to you.
How soon after an accident should I contact Katy pedestrian accident lawyers?
The sooner you contact our attorneys to advocate on your behalf, the better. Do not sign anything the insurance company requests without having it reviewed. In some cases, they may ask your permission to release your “accident medical records,” but the release will be broader and include your entire medical history. This is an intentionally sly tactic for insurers to pay you less by claiming your accident injury is just an old injury that flared up.
Keep in mind, it is generally unwise to pursue compensation without a lawyer on your side. Insurance adjusters will probably call you shortly after an accident report is filed in the hopes that you will not request legal help.
Take the time to contact us immediately for a free consultation regarding your case. You won’t regret taking this step to protect your rights. Get the knowledge you need to make an informed decision about how to proceed.
Stewart J. Guss and his team of Katy pedestrian accident attorneys are here to help victims of Katy pedestrian accidents. Reach out now to learn more about your legal options. Consultations are always free!
Stewart J. Guss Is Here to Help
The legal team of Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, is nationally recognized for protecting the rights of injured victims for more than 20 years. Stewart J. Guss has formed a team of highly experienced personal injury lawyers motivated by helping clients secure justice and compensation for their injuries. Our lawyers act as pillars of support for our clients, helping them overcome the stressful aftermath of a car accident and return to their daily lives.
Our team prides itself on always being available for clients. We know that each client and each case is unique, and we work with our clients to understand the facts of their cases and their goals for recovery. We set reasonable expectations — while always striving to exceed them. Our nationally recognized firm has deep roots in Texas, and we are honored to serve clients in and around Katy.
If you were injured in a Katy pedestrian accident, call our office right now for a free consultation! Because we take all of our personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, you will not owe us a DIME unless we win your case. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so call us today at 800-898-4877 or contact us now by CLICKING HERE. We are ready and waiting to provide an immediate free consultation!
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Since starting his firm in 1999, Stewart J. Guss has had the honor of representing clients from all over the world, helping them recover from even the most catastrophic injuries.
Today, thanks to a strong belief in those values of compassion, respect, and approachability, the firm has grown to employ over 120 legal professionals in numerous offices across 4 states, with nationwide reach.