When a pedestrian is involved in an auto accident, it’s rare that they walk away unscathed. In fact, the Texas Department of Transportation reports that, of the 5,767 crashes involving pedestrians in 2017, only 221 were reported as being injury-free. This means that approximately 96% of pedestrian-related accidents result in pedestrian injuries and/or fatalities.

These statistics are telling, but one thing they can’t show us is how often injured pedestrians succeed in collecting the financial compensation they need to cover their medical bills, time missed from work, and other costs caused by the accident. You see, being hit by a car doesn’t automatically result in full and fair compensation. Rather, the pedestrian (or a family member speaking on behalf of the pedestrian) has to demonstrate that the driver was at fault for the accident.

Accident Fault & Pedestrian Payment

In order to determine how much an accident victim should be paid (or if they should receive payment at all), Texas courts strive to pinpoint who caused the accident in the first place. Often, there isn’t a clear-cut answer to this question because both parties may have played a part in causing the accident. For instance, if the driver was texting while driving and the pedestrian was jaywalking, each party would be considered partially responsible for what happened.

Whether a Pedestrian Gets Paid: The Bar-51 Rule

So how do the courts determine fault? They look at the evidence presented — from witness statements to police reports to traffic camera footage. After reviewing this evidence, the court will assign a percentage of fault to each party:

  • If the driver is found to be more than 50% at fault, the injured pedestrian can claim compensation.

  • If the injured pedestrian is found to be more than 50% at fault, he or she cannot claim compensation.

This concept of awarding compensation to the injured party only when they’re the minority fault-holder is known as the “bar-51 rule.” While the bar-51 rule decides whether a pedestrian victim should be granted compensation for their injuries, it cannot decide how much they should be compensated. To make that determination, the court must consider the extent of the damages, as well as Texas’s comparative fault rule.



How Much a Pedestrian Gets Paid: Damages & Comparative Fault

Once a pedestrian is deemed less than 50% at fault for their auto accident, all that’s left to be determined is how much compensation he or she can claim.

In order to assign a fitting value to the case, the court must consider the damages that resulted from the accident. In pedestrian injury cases, “damages” refers to a victim’s physical injuries, emotional trauma, and/or property damage. Each case’s value directly correlates to the estimated costs of treating, repairing, and/or replacing those damages.

For reference, consider how a pedestrian injury claim typically unfolds:

  1. The pedestrian’s attorney interviews their doctor(s), employer, and other experts who can help determine how much money the pedestrian is losing because of medical bills, time missed from work, and other accident-related expenses.

  2. The court reviews this evidence and uses it to assign a value to the case.

  3. The court reviews the percentages of fault that have been assigned to each party and awards the pedestrian a corresponding settlement. (For instance, if a case is valued at $100,000 and the pedestrian is 0% at fault, he or she can claim the full $100,000 settlement. On the other hand, if the pedestrian was found 25% at fault, he or she can only claim up to $75,000.)

As you can see, successfully claiming compensation for a pedestrian accident requires a strong presentation of the evidence. That’s why it’s important to choose an attorney who understands these cases inside and out. As a former insurance adjuster, attorney Frederick K. Wilson is intimately familiar with the tactics the driver (and their insurance company) may try to use to weaken your case. Even better, he knows how to effectively argue against their claims and present your own evidence to the court.


Whether you were injured as a pedestrian or are speaking on behalf of a family member who was seriously injured, incapacitated, or lost their life, the Law Office of Frederick K. Wilson II is here to help. Schedule a free consultation with us today so we can begin building a strong case on your behalf.