How Pedestrian Impairment May Affect an Accident Claim

Pedestrian accidents aren’t always the driver’s fault when a car is involved. Sometimes, a pedestrian’s own actions contribute to the occurrence of a collision. One thing that can affect liability and the ability to recover damages in a pedestrian accident claim is if the pedestrian was drunk at the time of the accident.

Pedestrians and Drunk Walking – What does the law say?

In Texas, there’s no specific law or statute that prevents a pedestrian from legally walking while intoxicated. However, there is a law that prohibits public intoxication when the person is, “intoxicated to the degree that the person may endanger the person or another.” As such, if the pedestrian was extremely inebriated when walking, then the pedestrian may have been in violation of Texas Penal Code Section 49.02 – Public Intoxication.

When the Driver Was Negligent

Even if a pedestrian was drunk when involved in an accident, it does not necessarily mean that the pedestrian has forfeited rights to compensation. Instead, if the driver of the vehicle was partially or completely at fault for the accident or did anything negligent, then the driver may be liable.

Examples of negligence that may lead to driver liability include the following:

  • Failure to drive with headlights on at night
  • Failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk or who otherwise had the right of way
  • Speeding
  • Driving aggressively
  • Drunk driving
  • Running a red light/stop sign

In other words, if the motorist broke a traffic law or otherwise acted unsafely and irresponsibly, then he or she may be at fault.

Texas’ Proportionate Responsibility Law

In some cases, both the drunk pedestrian and the motorist may be at fault for the pedestrian accident. If this is the case, then Texas’ proportionate responsibility law may be relevant. This law states that claimants (pedestrians) cannot recover damages if they are more than 50 percent at fault for the accident.

If the pedestrian was less than 50 percent at fault for the accident, then he or she still has the right to file a claim. However, damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault. So if the pedestrian’s damages were worth $40,000, but the pedestrian was 40 percent at fault for the accident, then the pedestrian would be entitled to only 60 percent of $40,000, or $24,000.

Our Pedestrian Accident Attorneys Can Help You

Even if you were drunk at the time of your pedestrian accident, you shouldn’t automatically assume that you were at fault and are therefore unable to recover damages. Instead, you should call the Law Office of Julie Johnson, PLLC today for legal representation. Reach us now at 214-290-8001 or contact us online.

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