Pedestrian accidents are more common than you might think. In 2021, there were 7,388 pedestrian fatalities associated with traffic accidents. This number increased by 12.5% from 2020, which saw 6,565 pedestrian fatalities. While pedestrian safety is just as important as motorist and cyclist safety, it’s often neglected. Reaching out to a Phoenix pedestrian accident lawyer can be crucial for navigating these unfortunate incidents.
If you’re the victim of a pedestrian accident, contact Esquire Law for expert legal representation. Our pedestrian accident lawyers in Phoenix have what it takes to bring the at-fault party to justice and secure the compensation you deserve.
Understanding Pedestrian Accidents
A pedestrian accident is any incident that involves a person on foot being struck by a bicycle, motorcycle, or motor vehicle, resulting in possible injuries and/or property damage. These incidents can take place in various environments, such as streets, walkways, crosswalks, parking lots, or other public spaces.
Pedestrian Laws in Arizona
Pedestrians are required to promptly cross the street when a traffic signal permits them to do so, provided that traffic has come to a halt.
In cases where there is no pedestrian crossing signal at an intersection, pedestrians are obligated to adhere to the instructions provided by traffic control devices.
Motorists must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians who are in a crosswalk on the same side of the road or on the opposite side if their proximity makes it dangerous not to do so.
When pedestrians cross the street at an intersection and no markings are present, they must yield to cyclists and motorists.
Drivers must exercise heightened vigilance when encountering individuals with disabilities or children on the road and should make every effort to avoid collisions, even using their horns if necessary.
Pedestrians using a crosswalk should stay on the right side while crossing the street.
Pedestrians should utilize sidewalks when they’re available. If a sidewalk isn’t available, pedestrians should walk on the shoulder while facing oncoming traffic.
Motorists must observe school crossing zones during school hours and must not exceed 15 mph when passing through them. Drivers must stop fully and wait if a child is crossing the street.
Rights of Pedestrians
Right of Way in Crosswalks
Pedestrians have the right of way when crossing the street at an intersection, whether or not a marked crosswalk is present. Drivers must always yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
Crossing at Intersections
Even if a crosswalk isn’t clearly marked, pedestrians still have the right of way to cross. In such cases, drivers should yield to pedestrians.
Pedestrians have the right to use sidewalks for safe walking. If a sidewalk is not available, be sure to walk on the left-hand side of the road, facing traffic. This way, you can see oncoming traffic.
Pedestrians with disabilities who use mobility aids, such as wheelchairs or canes, have the right to accessible crosswalks and curb cuts for easy passage.
The Aftermath of a Pedestrian Accident
Steps to Take
These are the steps you should take immediately following an accident.
- Check for Injuries: The first thing you should do after getting in an accident is make sure you’re okay. Check your person for any visible injuries. Call 911 if emergency medical care is needed.
- Contact Law Enforcement: Call the police to report the accident. If officers respond, they will gather information from those involved to file a police report. If officers don’t respond, you can file an accident report through the local DMV. Whichever report is filed, be sure to grab a copy of it for later use.
- Exchange Information: Exchange information with the driver(s) involved in the accident. Share your name, phone number, email address, and insurance information. You should also note their vehicle make, model, year, and license plate number.
- Gather Evidence: Take photos and videos of the scene. Retake any that are blurry.
- Seek Medical Attention: Not all injuries are noticeable. You could have suffered internal injuries that won’t present themselves until days or even weeks after the accident. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Visit an urgent care facility or primary care doctor to be safe.
- Consult a Phoenix Pedestrian Accident Lawyer: You’re going to need legal representation after your accident. The claims process is complicated. You don’t want to navigate it on your own. An attorney will provide legal counsel, ensure deadlines are met, and help secure financial compensation.
- Notify Your Insurance Company: Most insurance companies require those who hold a policy with them to report any type of accident, no matter how minor it may be. Notify your insurance provider about the accident as soon as possible. Be careful not to say anything that could be considered admitting fault.
Why Evidence Is Essential
Sufficient evidence helps you and your Phoenix pedestrian accident lawyer:
- Establish Liability: Evidence helps determine who caused the accident. This is critical for determining responsibility and accountability. It is difficult, if not impossible, to establish liability without key evidence.
- Support Claims: Evidence provides support for the injured pedestrian’s claims regarding the extent of their injuries and losses. This includes medical bills, treatment records, and other documentation that substantiates the damages claimed.
- Dispute Claims: Providing evidence can help refute or challenge claims made by the at-fault party, their insurance company, or their legal representatives. It can help establish the accuracy and validity of the injured pedestrian’s claims.
- Negotiate with Insurance Companies: When negotiating with insurance companies, strong evidence can make a persuasive case for fair compensation. Insurers are more likely to settle for a reasonable amount when confronted with compelling evidence.
- Calculate Damages: The evidence can demonstrate the severity and cost of the pedestrian’s injuries and losses, which is crucial for determining the amount of compensation to which they are entitled.
- Reconstruct the Accident: Evidence, such as accident scene photos, damage assessments, and accident reports, can help reconstruct the accident sequence and clarify how it occurred. This is valuable in determining liability.
- Secure Fair Compensation: By providing compelling evidence, the injured pedestrian can increase their chances of obtaining fair compensation for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages.
- Avoid Legal Challenges: Proper evidence can prevent legal challenges and disputes, ensuring a smoother and more efficient legal process.
Arizona Insurance Laws and Issues
Minimum Liability Coverage
Arizona’s minimum liability insurance requirements, as per ARS 28-4009, are as follows:
Bodily Injury Liability:
- Minimum of $25,000 per person injured.
- Minimum of $50,000 for all persons injured in a single accident.
Property Damage Liability:
- Minimum of $15,000 for property damage in an accident.
These minimum coverage levels ensure that drivers can financially cover injuries and property damage they may cause to others in an accident. It’s important to carry proof of insurance when driving, and failure to maintain the required coverage can lead to penalties and legal consequences. Verify the current requirements with the Arizona Department of Transportation or an insurance professional, as regulations may change.
Why Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage Is Important
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM coverage) is a crucial component of an auto insurance policy that provides financial protection to you, your passengers, and your vehicle in the event of an accident involving a motorist who either lacks insurance or does not have sufficient insurance coverage to fully compensate for your losses. Here’s why uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is important:
- Protection Against Uninsured Drivers: Despite legal requirements in most states, some drivers operate vehicles without any insurance. UM/UIM coverage helps pay for medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and other losses when you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist.
- Coverage for Underinsured Drivers: Some drivers carry insurance, but their coverage limits may be too low to adequately compensate you for the damages in a serious accident. Underinsured motorist coverage fills the gap between the at-fault driver’s policy limit and your actual costs, ensuring that you are not left with substantial out-of-pocket expenses.
- Medical Expense Coverage: UM/UIM coverage can pay for necessary medical treatment and rehabilitation if you or your passengers are injured in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. This is particularly important because health insurance may not cover all costs, and accident-related medical bills can be substantial.
- Property Protection: UM/UIM coverage can also extend to property damage, helping to repair or replace your vehicle if it’s damaged by an uninsured or underinsured driver.
- Peace of Mind: When you have UM/UIM coverage, you can rest easy knowing you’re covered if an accident occurs. You don’t have to worry about the financial consequences of getting in an accident with a driver who doesn’t have adequate insurance.
Challenges With Insurance Policies of At-Fault Drivers
Here are some of the challenges you might face because of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.
- Coverage Limits: At-fault drivers may have insurance coverage limits that are insufficient to fully cover the expenses of all parties involved in an accident, leading to potential financial burdens.
- Legal Consequences: At-fault drivers can face legal actions and potential lawsuits if their insurance coverage falls short, potentially resulting in personal financial liability.
- Premium Increases: After an at-fault accident, the driver’s insurance premiums are likely to increase, making future coverage more expensive.
- Coverage Denial: In some cases, the at-fault driver’s insurance company may deny the claim, leaving the driver responsible for all costs.
- Non-insured Drivers: Some at-fault drivers may not have insurance at all, causing difficulties in obtaining compensation for the other party’s losses.
- Delayed Payouts: Insurance claim processing can take time, causing delays in receiving compensation for damages, medical bills, and other expenses.
Legal Timelines and Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is a legal time limit set by law that restricts the period during which a person can file a lawsuit or take legal action for a particular type of claim. Once this time limit expires, the individual is typically barred from pursuing the claim, regardless of its merits.
The statute of limitations in Arizona for both personal injury claims and cases involving wrongful death is two years. If you’re filing a claim against another party, you have two years from the date of the accident or the death to do so.
Tolling for Minors
The tolling of the statute of limitations for minors typically means that the time period during which a minor can bring a legal claim is suspended or extended. In many jurisdictions, the statute of limitations for minors is tolled until they reach the age of majority, which is 18 in most cases. This means the statute of limitations doesn’t start until the minor turns 18, giving them additional time to file a lawsuit or take legal action for a claim. However, specific rules and exceptions vary by jurisdiction, so it’s important to consult with a Phoenix pedestrian accident lawyer familiar with your local laws to understand the precise regulations that apply in your case.
Compensation and Damages
Types of Compensation
In pedestrian accident cases, compensatory damages are designed to compensate the injured party for the losses and suffering they have experienced due to the accident. Here are the common types of compensatory damages in such cases:
1. Medical Expenses
These damages cover the cost of medical treatment related to the pedestrian accident. This includes expenses such as:
- Hospital bills
- Doctor’s visits
- Emergency room care
- Surgery and other medical procedures
- Prescription medications
- Physical therapy
- Medical equipment (crutches, wheelchairs, etc.)
2. Income Losses
Pedestrian accident victims may be unable to work or may miss time from work due to their injuries. Compensation for income losses may include:
- Wages that were lost while the victim was unable to work
- Wages that can’t be made due to the victim’s reduced earning capacity
3. Pain and Suffering
These damages compensate the pedestrians for the physical and emotional distress they have suffered due to the accident. Pain and suffering damages may include:
- Physical pain resulting from injuries
- Emotional distress, like anxiety, depression, or PTSD
- Loss of enjoyment of life
4. Property Damage
In pedestrian accidents, this category includes compensation for damage to personal property, such as clothing, personal items, or electronic devices that were damaged during the accident.
5. Loss of Consortium
These damages compensate the victim’s surviving spouse or children who relied on them for financial support. It covers the loss of companionship and care as a result of the accident.
6. Out-of-Pocket Expenses
This category covers additional expenses that are directly related to the accident but not included in medical expenses or property damage. Examples include transportation costs for medical appointments or home modifications to accommodate the injuries.
Understanding Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are a specific type of compensation awarded in a legal case to punish the defendant and deter them from engaging in similar egregious conduct in the future. Unlike other types of compensatory damages—which are designed to compensate the victim for their economic and non-economic losses—punitive damages are designed to penalize the defendant and make an example of them. Here’s a more precise breakdown.
- Punishment: Punitive damages punish the defendant for their bad behavior. The amount of punitive damages is typically higher than compensatory damages (those meant to compensate the plaintiff) to create a significant financial penalty.
- Deterrence: By imposing substantial financial consequences on the defendant, punitive damages aim to deter not only the defendant from repeating their harmful conduct but also to send a message to others that similar behavior will not be tolerated by society.
- Civic Responsibility: Punitive damages can help society express its disapproval of particularly heinous or malicious actions. They can serve as a means of social justice.
Why Choose Esquire Law?
Thanks to our track record of success representing personal injury cases, Esquire Law is the name you can trust to get the results you want. But don’t just take our word for it. See what previous clients have to say about us.
“I spoke with Esquire Law about an accident I had that the police placed me at fault. I wasn’t really expecting it to go anywhere, but they took my case, and in no time they had a settlement offer for me. The settlement was way more than I expected. They were friendly and actually cared about me. I am grateful for the work they did and will recommend them to everyone.”
– Daniel Engstrom
“Esquire Law’s Salt Lake office did EVERYTHING for me from the first phone call. Hassle-free, easy, and empathic. Everything was straight to the point and they recovered a great settlement. Would definitely recommend!”
– Tonya Youngberg
“So thankful for all of the help I received throughout my case from Alan Beal at Esquire Law! Alan was tremendous in always communicating with me at every step of the case after my accident. He was able to get me compensated fairly and handled everything from start to finish, making it a stress-free process for me. Alan is outstanding at what he does and was a pleasure to work with. I highly recommend his firm!”
– Hector Diaz
The Legal Process
Here’s what you can expect once you hire a Phoenix pedestrian accident lawyer.
- Initial Consultation: First, we’ll schedule your free case evaluation. This is a time for us to get to know you and review your case. It’s also a time for you to ask questions and address any initial concerns you may have.
- Investigation: Your Phoenix pedestrian accident lawyer will investigate the case to gather essential evidence.
- Negotiations: Your lawyer will negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company to secure a fair settlement on your behalf.
- File a Lawsuit: If a settlement can’t be reached, your attorney will help you file a lawsuit against the at-fault party.
- Trial: Your lawyer will take your case to court, presenting all relevant evidence to demonstrate your right to compensation.
- Verdict: The judge will decide who is at fault for the accident and how much compensation will be awarded.
Elite Representation in Phoenix for Pedestrian Accident Victims
Do you want to create a safer community for pedestrians like you? One way to achieve this goal is by holding the person who hurt you accountable for their actions, as it will deter others from making the same mistake.
A Phoenix pedestrian accident lawyer at Esquire Law is ready to take on your case. We’ll start with a free case evaluation to better understand your situation and pave a path forward. With your success as our top priority, you can count on us to fight for your rights and secure your rightful compensation. Contact Esquire Law today to start the process.