A new Texas law that took effect in September imposes strong penalties for motorists who cause pedestrian crashes due to negligent driving. Specifically, according to the act, drivers who cause physical harm to pedestrians may be charged with Class A misdemeanors. In addition, motorists who seriously injure pedestrians may face state jail felonies.
Details about the new law
The new Texas law comes on the heels of a relatively deadly year for pedestrians. In 2020, the number of pedestrian fatalities in Texas was 9 percent higher than it was in 2019. In light of this, Texas officials said their goal is to more strongly promote safe driving and walking going forward.
Based on the new law, motorists who severely harm pedestrians may end up spending 180 days to two years behind jail bars. They may also be fined as much as $10,000. However, in addition to strengthening penalties for motorists who injure pedestrians, the Texas law emphasizes that drivers are required to yield to pedestrians — including walkers, bicyclists and individuals riding golf carts or scooters — at intersections or adjacent crosswalks. The above-mentioned penalties might not apply in a situation where a pedestrian was not at a crosswalk when a driver injured him or her.
How an attorney can help an injured pedestrian following a crash
In addition to potentially facing criminal charges based on the new Texas law, a negligent driver who injures a pedestrian in the Lone Star State might face a personal injury claim lawsuit. This is because the injured pedestrian has the right to seek the reimbursement of damages sustained in the crash. If the pedestrian is successful, he or she may receive a damage award to cover his or her hospital bills, the loss of wages and other losses stemming from the collision.