So my girlfriend struck a pedestrian

Discussion in 'Quackenbush's' started by Dr.Strangehorn, Jan 7, 2008.

  1. Dr.Strangehorn

    Dr.Strangehorn 100+ Posts

    So to set the scene, me and my girlfriend were driving along about to turn onto the road leading to our house. It was a dark moonless night, at a dark intersection, and the pedestrian in question was wearing dark clothing.
    We pulled up to make a left turn down the road and were waiting at the light with a yield sign letting traffic clear so we could turn. She was driving, I was the passenger. I saw that a pedestrian was crossing the street that we were about to turn into and I casually said, "Hey, watch out for that pedestrian." But I guess since her attention was on oncoming traffic she didn't hear me. Then she started to turn, I said "Watch out for that lady, watch out.. watch out! Stop! Stop! STOP!" It was then that the poor lady glanced off the passenger side bumper.
    This all happened fast and she never saw the lady, but she did at least take her foot off the pedal at the last second and swerved a bit and we didn't hit the woman full on. Of course we pulled over and called an ambulance. The pedestrian wasn't injured, she was knocked to the ground and had a sore hip. The ambulance looked her over and quickly let her go. The police arrived but issued no citations to anyone.
    Another thing, the woman had an open beer in her hands and it was laying in the middle of the street when the police arrived. They took pictures of the open beer can. Not only that, but the lady reeked of beer and cigerettes. The first thing the cops asked me when they got there was "Was she drunk?" Referring to the lady we struck. My girlfriend did not run the light, we had a green arrow.
    Now, a few questions for the legal eagles. Is there a potential my girlfriend could be sued? Does the fact that the pedestian was carrying an open container of alcohol mitigate the circumstances? The woman wasn't seriosily injured, but that's no garuntee of anything. She could wake up tommorow and decide she's been seriosily hurt. We were driving a fairly nice car, so I'm worried she may decide we could be a target for a law suit. Additionally, the moral of the story is: if you see a pedestrian in your path and your the passenger, make sure the driver is aware of it.
  2. LdyLnghrn

    LdyLnghrn 100+ Posts

    Every individual operating a motor vehicle within Texas has a duty to exercise reasonable care in the operation of that motor vehicle. The burden of reasonable care makes drivers accountable for acts which they knew would likely result in injury to person or property and for acts which they should have known would likely result in injury to person or property. Texas state law identifies a driver's failure to use reasonable care as negligence.

    In an attempt to clarify the negligence standard, Texas courts have stated that "whenever [an] automobile driver should as [a] reasonable man foresee that his conduct will involve unreasonable risk of harm to other drivers or to pedestrians, he is then under [a] duty to them to exercise [the] care of [a] reasonable man as to what he does or does not do." Thus, the foreseeablitity of an accident becomes an important question in determining whether a driver acted negligently.

    Another legal standard that Texas courts have developed to more specifically describe legal negligence is the "proper lookout" standard. According to Texas law, a motorist's "proper lookout" describes the duty of a driver to observe, in a careful and intelligent manner, traffic and the general situation in the vicinity, including speed and proximity of other vehicles, as well as rules of the road and common experience. In other words, "proper lookout" requires a driver to see what a person exercising ordinary care and caution would see under similar circumstances, and to take those steps necessary to guard against an accident. At its simplest, the "proper lookout" standard requires a driver to pay attention to the road and other drivers in an effort to avoid accidents. Failure to observe the "proper lookout" standard is legal negligence. Negligence represents the first requirement for a successful lawsuit.

    Once the negligence of a party is established, it must be shown that their negligence caused the accident that resulted in the injury. "Causation," in a legal sense, can be a complex issue, but suffice it to say that if the negligence of the party resulted in the injury to person or property doing the suing, causation exists.

    Finally, in order to maintain a suit as the result of an automobile accident, it must be proven that damages have been suffered. Damages include economic injury, such as lost income or wages, medical and funeral expenses, lost support and services, and replacement value or repair costs of personal property damaged in the accident. In addition, damages may include non-economic injuries such pain, suffering, mental anguish, and inconvenience as a result of bodily injury that result from the accident.

    A Texas court may reduce the damages, if the defendant can establish that actions on the part of the plaintiff contributed to the accident. This principle, known as "comparative negligence," holds that a court can reduce the plaintiff's damage award by the percentage for which a jury found them responsible for the accident. For example, if they establish damages in the amount of $10,000, but the jury finds that their negligence constituted twenty percent of the reason the accident occurred, then the court would reduce their damage award by twenty percent, to $8,000.

    Since you saw the pedestrian, and tried to warn your girlfriend, it sounds like she failed to maintain proper lookout, as opposed to a situation in which a child darts from between two parked cars, without warning. However, you might be able to impute some negligence on to the pedestrian, related to use of alcohol and/or entering the crosswalk when they didn't have a pedestrian cross light (if there was one at that intersection). In any case, your girlfriend needs to report this to her insurance company as soon as possible. I can almost promise you that the pedestrian has already contacted a lawyer. If not, you can bet one will be contacting them when the police report is released.

    Good luck.
  3. Perham1

    Perham1 2,500+ Posts

    I would largely ignore the conclusions of above.

    The driver had a green light and hit a pedestrian (with a can of beer) who was wearing dark clothing.

    Failure to abide by the advice of a passenger does not mean the driver was negligent.

    But this leads me to comment on the recent death in Sugar Land of a beloved citizen who was struck and killed while jogging. (my comments are based on available news at the time of this post). The driver, and the press seems to take delight in calling him a teen-ager, (which some people are interpreting as speeding, reckless driver) was stopped at a light and pulled forward when the light turned green. He then hit the jogger. A tragedy all the way around.

    This is the same intersection that saw a death about 5 years ago when a pedestrian walked out in the street (not in the crosswalk).

    This leads to my point: Does anyone think that there is a problem with people running in the streets (sorry for the hijack)? I've seen joggers in the street even when good sidewalks are available. And bicyclists? I don't think I've ever seen one abide by the rules of the road, i.e., actually stop at a stop sign.
  4. Huckleberry

    Huckleberry 1,000+ Posts

    Oh yeah, well this morning some woman right in front of me slammed on her brakes to let one of her friends out of a parking lot. We were flowing with traffic at 20 (school zone) and this woman was headed into the school parking lot at the next entrance and decided to just stop in the right lane of a 4 lane road, holding up traffic.

    I was right behind her and stopped in time. The person right behind me stopped in time but I think they were pretty close to me or didn't notice as quickly as I did. The person behind that car hit them.

    I, of course, politely gestured to the woman indicating my displeasure with her idiocy. All I did was throw my hand in the air and look at her like she was an idiot. Then she flipped me off.


    As for your situation, that sucks. I don't see how hitting a drunk pedestrian that is walking through a don't walk sign in dark clothing at night could be her fault.
  5. Perham1

    Perham1 2,500+ Posts

  6. si se puede

    si se puede 100+ Posts

  7. Perham1

    Perham1 2,500+ Posts

  8. former mayor gus garcia was just involved with the Austin's first fatal car accident this past weekend. hit a guy crossing lamar near braker ln. it was dark, the guy was in dark clothes.

    it was reported gus would not be at fault. he was not cited either. he was visibly shaken up which is expected.
  9. Perham1

    Perham1 2,500+ Posts

    That's too bad about the Austin accident.

    Are there a lot of runners in Austin who run in the street?
  10. si se puede

    si se puede 100+ Posts

  11. bluto

    bluto 500+ Posts

    'seriosily'..... srsly?
  12. l00p

    l00p 10,000+ Posts

    Without a doubt it is very possible she won't get a citation with the factors you presented. It is not cut and dry that a driver will be cited. We hit people all the time (well, not all the time but often enough) and maybe once out of a hundred does the driver get the ticket. People dart out into the street all the time on campus and downtown.

    We do everything right, use proper safety and distance but sometimes that is not enough. It is a long process they go through and having witnesses helps out bigtime. We always have those so our process is pretty fast. But in the situations when somebody ends up under a bus, a bike gets mangled or something like that, it takes longer.

    And people don't give near enough stopping room or distance no matter what the speed is. I would venture to say that maybe 5 percent of the drivers on road are good drivers. Okay, 10 percent. I am amazed this type of situation does not happen much more often.
  13. BillyW

    BillyW 500+ Posts

  14. Steinbeck

    Steinbeck 250+ Posts

  15. kangsta

    kangsta 500+ Posts

  16. Bernard

    Bernard 1,000+ Posts

    I've been hit by a car twice. I never saw a dime from it. My back's feeling a bit sore today though. Maybe it's sime to call a lawyer. [​IMG]

  17. GakFoo

    GakFoo 500+ Posts

  18. Perham1

    Perham1 2,500+ Posts

    Oh, I do pay attention.

    It's more a matter of non-compliant bicyclists who should obey the simple rules of the road.

    It's hard to sympathize with the plight of bikers when they bring some of these problems upon themselves.
  19. MilkmanDan

    MilkmanDan 1,000+ Posts

  20. Perham1

    Perham1 2,500+ Posts

    But saying cyclists "bring some of these problems upon themselves" is an absurd overstatement.

    No, it's not.

    I ride a bike myself, and I have no prejudice against them. But when they run a stop sign and a car hits them then they have brought that problem on themselves. And I rarely see a biker stop at a stop sign. I didn't say they bring all their problems on themselves, only some. And they do.
  21. MilkmanDan

    MilkmanDan 1,000+ Posts

    Ok, we're on the same page, then.

    Unfortunately there are plenty of drivers who lump anyone on a bike in the same category, which is how I interpreted your post. They're the ones that think it's fun to buzz you at high speed or run you off the road.

    I'd rather not have my wife worry whether I'm going to make it home from a ride because of people that can't make the distinction. I'll do everything I can to ensure my safety, but at the end of the day I'm at the mercy of the people with physics on their side.
  22. drunkfan#1

    drunkfan#1 100+ Posts

    Having lived in central and downtown Austin, which required walking around town, I have little sympathy for drivers who don't pay attention to pedestrians in the crosswalk... day or night. There were too many times my life was endangered by drivers who seem to treat people not in cars as less than human, or nonexistant.
  23. Truck's Son

    Truck's Son 500+ Posts

  24. MilkmanDan

    MilkmanDan 1,000+ Posts

  25. NickDanger

    NickDanger 2,500+ Posts

    If there were two people in the car (there were) and one of them was paying close enough attention to see that there was a pedestrian in harm's way, then there was one who wasn't.
  26. Lat22

    Lat22 1,000+ Posts

    What county are you in? I bet she going to get sued.
  27. LdyLnghrn

    LdyLnghrn 100+ Posts

  28. gecko

    gecko 2,500+ Posts

    All your pedestrian needs to find is a doctor to ascribe to her traumatic injuries and need for physical therapy and your girlfriend's insurance company will pay off like a broken slot machine.

    If they don't there's a personal injury attorney out there that will have your girlfriend linked to 911 by the time this is over.
  29. Perham1

    Perham1 2,500+ Posts

    It doesn't sound like the sequence of events happened as fast as Perham indicates....

    Now you're simply embellishing the story to fit your theory, rather than reading what the op posted.

    Go back and read what he wrote. He's the one who said it all happened fast.
  30. LdyLnghrn

    LdyLnghrn 100+ Posts


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