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Sugar Land Personal Injury Lawyer > Blog > Pedestrian Accident > Red Light, Green Light, Yellow Light

Red Light, Green Light, Yellow Light


In a pedestrian accident, the color of the light doesn’t change the fact that a vehicle hit a pedestrian and caused injury. However, the light’s color often affects the extent of injury, because it often affects the tortfeasor’s (negligent driver’s) speed. At impact speeds below 30mph, the pedestrian death rate is below 10 percent. At impact speeds above 55mph, the pedestrian death rate is above 90 percent.

Furthermore, the light’s color doesn’t disable a negligence claim. The light’s color simply makes it easier, or more difficult, for a Sugar Land pedestrian accident lawyer to prove negligence, or a lack of care, and obtain maximum compensation in these cases. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages might be available as well, in some extreme cases.

Red Light

If the victim was crossing with the light and inside the crosswalk, the case is rather straightforward. Drivers must legally yield the right-of-way to these pedestrians. As a result, in a collision, the tortfeasor (negligent driver) could be liable for damages as a matter of law.

As a side note, if any part of the victim’s foot was on or inside the crosswalk lines, the victim was “in the crosswalk” for negligence purposes.

However, the right-of-way isn’t absolute. Pedestrians, like drivers, still have a duty of care to avoid accidents if possible. In this context, avoiding an accident usually means stopping and looking both ways. If the insurance company proves the victim didn’t stop and look both ways, the court could reduce the victim’s compensation. More on that below.

Significantly, the insurance company has the burden of proof on this point. Contributory negligence is an affirmative defense.

Yellow Light

Most Houston streets have wide lanes, short red lights, and other features designed to quickly move vehicle traffic. As a result, many victims cannot make it to the other side of the road in time, especially if they have mobility impairments.

The contributory negligence doctrine, which was mentioned above, usually dictates the outcome of these accident claims. If the pedestrian doesn’t have the right-of-way and the tortfeasor ignores the pedestrian, both parties are most likely at fault.

During trial, a Missouri City personal injury lawyer uses evidence to minimize the victim’s responsibility. For example, the victim might have started across the street on green but simply ran out of time.

Based on the evidence, jurors must apportion fault between the parties. Texas is a modified comparative fault state with a 51 percent bar. So, if the victim was no more than 49 percent responsible, the tortfeasor is liable for a proportionate share of damages.

Incidentally, a mobility impairment is not part of the responsibility division. If victims are unusually vulnerable to injuries, insurance companies cannot use these vulnerabilities against them.

Green Light

If the pedestrian was jaywalking, depending on the circumstances, compensation could still be available, based on the aforementioned driver duty of care.

Even if the other party was in the wrong, the driver still has a duty of care to change lanes or speeds if possible, in order to avoid an accident. Usually, drivers who don’t take such measures are at least partially responsible for a wreck, from a legal perspective.

Count on a Hard-Working Harris County Lawyer

Injury victims are entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Missouri City, contact the Henrietta Ezeoke Law Firm. Virtual, home, and hospital visits are available.



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