Pedestrians are extremely vulnerable to motorists and cyclists on the road. In 2021 alone, close to 8,000 pedestrians were killed in car crashes nationwide. It’s more important than ever for pedestrians and motorists to implement life-saving safety practices. If you or a loved one was injured in a Tucson pedestrian accident, an Esquire Law lawyer is here to help. Our pedestrian accident attorneys have the skills and experience required to secure the compensation you deserve.
What You Should Know About Pedestrian Accidents
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Here’s a breakdown of Tucson’s most common causes of pedestrian accidents.
- Distracted Walking: Pedestrians who use smartphones, listen to music, or engage in other distractions while walking near a road cannot fully observe their surroundings, which puts them at greater risk of getting in an accident.
- Distracted Driving: Drivers who are distracted by texting, talking on the phone, changing the music, or inputting directions—among other activities—are more likely to overlook pedestrians.
- Speeding: Drivers traveling at high speeds have reduced reaction times, which can prevent them from stopping in time to avoid hitting a nearby pedestrian.
- Failure to Yield: Accidents can occur when drivers don’t yield the right of way to pedestrians who walk along crosswalks and through intersections.
- Impaired Driving: Drivers who operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs impair their decision-making and delay their reaction time. According to the CDC, 49% of accidents that caused a pedestrian death in 2021 involved alcohol.
- Poor Visibility: Conditions like inadequate street lighting, heavy rain, and fog limit visibility for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians alike, making accidents more likely to occur.
- Jaywalking: Pedestrians who cross streets without a designated crosswalk or intersection are more likely to be hit by an oncoming vehicle.
- Lack of Infrastructure: Poorly designed infrastructure, including unmarked crosswalks and inadequate signage, contribute to pedestrian accidents.
- Reckless Driving: Aggressive and reckless driving behaviors, like driving through stop signs and red lights, put pedestrians at a greater risk of being hit by a vehicle.
- Poor Weather Conditions: Inclement weather conditions like rain, snow, and fog not only reduce visibility but also create slippery surfaces that increase the likelihood of roadway accidents.
- Inexperienced Driver: New drivers may lack the training or experience required to safely operate a vehicle, which includes yielding the right of way to pedestrians and maintaining a safe driving distance.
- Vehicle Blind Spots: Many vehicles, especially larger ones, have substantial blind spots that prevent drivers from seeing nearby motorists and pedestrians. If a driver doesn’t see a pedestrian, they can easily cause an accident.
Types of Injuries Sustained in Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents can result in a range of physical and psychological injuries, ranging from mild to severe. Here are some of the most common ones.
- Soft Tissue Injuries: These injuries impact the muscles, ligaments, and tendons, potentially resulting in sprains, strains, or contusions.
- Fractures: Pedestrians may sustain leg, arm, hip, or skull fractures—depending on the amount of impact—which can lead to broken bones.
- Head Injuries: Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can develop if a pedestrian’s head collides with a vehicle or the ground, resulting in concussions, contusions, or more severe brain damage.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: The collision’s force can cause damage to the spinal cord. Possible outcomes of a spinal cord injury include paralysis and other neurological impairments.
- Internal Injuries: Blunt force trauma to any part of the body can cause severe internal damage, affecting organs like the liver, spleen, or kidneys.
- Cuts and Abrasions: Pedestrians might sustain cuts and abrasions, especially if sharp objects or surfaces strike them during the accident.
- Whiplash: Abrupt deceleration or impact can cause a rapid forward and backward neck movement, leading to soft tissue damage.
- Facial Injuries: Injuries to the face—which include lacerations, fractures, and dental injuries—can occur when a pedestrian’s face makes contact with a vehicle or the road.
- Psychological Trauma: Being involved in a pedestrian accident can cause psychological trauma that manifests as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or anxiety.
- Amputations: Severe accidents may result in severe injuries that require a limb to be amputated.
- Crush Injuries: Pedestrians caught between a vehicle and a hard surface, like a wall or another vehicle, may sustain crush injuries, which can be severe and life-threatening.
Legal Rights and Responsibilities
Rights & Responsibilities of Pedestrians
- A.R.S. 28-791: Pedestrians must follow traffic rules and are subject to traffic control signals.
- A.R.S. 28-793: Pedestrians who are crossing at an area other than an intersection must yield the right-of-way to oncoming vehicles.
- A.R.S. 28-796: Pedestrians should travel on provided sidewalks. If no sidewalks are available, they should walk along the left side of the roadways while facing traffic.
Responsibilities of Drivers
- A.R.S. 28-792: Drivers must yield the right of way to pedestrians crossing at intersections within crosswalks. Drivers must stop for pedestrians when they are on the other half of the road but are close enough to the motorists’ side that they could be injured.
- A.R.S. 28-794: Motorists should exercise due care when there are pedestrians located nearby, and they should exercise added caution when the pedestrians are children.
- A.R.S. 28-797: Motorists approaching school crossings should approach them while driving no more than 15 mph and should yield to children who are present.
How a Tucson Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Can Help
The aftermath of a pedestrian accident is often overwhelming, especially if you’re navigating it alone. A Tucson pedestrian accident lawyer can help alleviate your stress by taking the reins of your case. Here’s what an attorney can do for you.
Offer Legal Expertise
A bicycle accident attorney is better equipped to provide legal representation compared to the average personal injury lawyer. This professional has an in-depth knowledge of relevant bicycle laws, traffic regulations, and potential obstacles you might encounter.
Establishing liability is crucial for securing compensation. Without identifying the responsible party in the accident, it’s impossible to determine the financial responsibilities of each party involved. A bicycle accident attorney will collect sufficient evidence to determine liability, laying the foundation for a successful claim.
Maximize Your Compensation
While compensation can’t undo what’s been done, it can alleviate the financial burdens associated with accident-related injuries and damages. Your lawyer is committed to securing the highest possible financial compensation on your behalf, minimizing or even eliminating any out-of-pocket expenses you may incur.
Deal With Insurance Companies
Your lawyer will try to reach a fair settlement with any insurance companies involved in the claims process. Unfortunately, insurance companies often attempt to offer lower settlements, resulting in reduced payouts for accident victims. Your attorney will counter any low offers and file a lawsuit if a satisfactory settlement can’t be reached.
Represent You in Court
If insurance negotiations don’t produce a fair settlement, your lawyer will file a lawsuit against the liable party and bring your case to court. A judge and a jury will determine fault and calculate how much compensation each party is owed for their respective injuries and damages.
Handle Legal Procedures
The legal process involves a mountain of paperwork. You have to file a claim, submit evidence, request information from experts and witnesses, and more. If you were involved in an accident, your focus should be on your recovery, not paperwork. Your attorney will submit all paperwork promptly to increase your chances of securing compensation.
Choosing the Right Pedestrian Accident Lawyer in Tucson
What to Look For in a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Specialization and Expertise
Your lawyer should specialize in pedestrian accident cases. An attorney who specializes in a particular case type knows the relevant laws and regulations involved and will be better equipped to represent your case successfully.
Proven Track Record
Your lawyer should have a substantial track record of successful pedestrian accident cases. If they have won previous cases that are similar to yours, your chances of achieving justice and securing compensation increase.
Understanding of Local Laws
Your lawyer should live and practice in Arizona, if not Tucson specifically. A lawyer who understands local laws surrounding pedestrian accidents will know what roadblocks to foresee and how to navigate them. They will also know how to construct the most effective argument in support of your case.
Transparent Fee Structure
Your lawyer should be upfront about what fees they charge and when they charge them in the legal process. A lawyer who prioritizes the success of your case over their financial gain will likely offer a free consultation and operate on a contingency fee basis.
Your lawyer should have satisfied clients. If most previous clients were satisfied with the services provided and the outcome achieved, you likely will be too.
Questions to Ask a Potential Attorney
Before hiring an attorney to represent your pedestrian accident case, you need to ask the right questions. Here are some important questions we recommend asking during the initial consultation. But remember, this is not an exhaustive list. Feel free to ask any additional questions as you see fit.
- How long have you been practicing law?
- Do you specialize in pedestrian accident cases?
- Have you handled similar cases before, and what were the outcomes?
- How do you plan to approach negotiations or, if necessary, litigation?
- How will we communicate, and how often can I expect updates?
- What is your fee structure, and are there any additional costs I should be aware of?
- How involved will I be in the decision-making process?
- Will you keep me informed about major developments in my case?
- Will you personally handle my case, or will other attorneys in your firm be involved?
- How long do you anticipate the legal process will take for my case?
- What factors could potentially affect the timeline of my case?
- How often do your cases go to trial, and what is your success rate in court?
- Are you a member of any professional organizations or legal associations?
Compensation for Pedestrian Accident Victims
If you were injured in a pedestrian accident, you can seek compensation from the at-fault party for two types of damages: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are quantifiable losses that the plaintiff in a pedestrian accident incurs. Some examples of economic damages include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Funeral expenses
Non-economic damages are more subjective and can’t be measured in monetary terms. They compensate the plaintiff for the psychological damages they suffered during or after the accident. Some examples include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress or mental anguish
- Loss of companionship or consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
How Compensation Is Calculated & Claimed
Your lawyer will follow these steps to calculate compensation.
- Assess Damages: Your lawyer will gather and examine all available evidence to calculate the economic and non-economic losses you suffered as a direct result of the accident.
- Establish Liability: Your lawyer will also use the available evidence to determine who caused the accident and what percent of fault each party involved in the accident shares.
- Negotiate: Your lawyer will negotiate with your insurance company and/or the at-fault party’s insurance company to reach a fair settlement.
- File a Lawsuit: If a settlement can’t be reached, your lawyer will file a lawsuit on your behalf against the at-fault party seeking maximum compensation.
- Take Your Case to Court: Your lawyer will represent the evidence to a judge and a jury, who will determine who is at fault for the accident and how much compensation each party is owed.
Factors Affecting Compensation Amounts
Several factors can impact how much compensation is awarded in a pedestrian accident case, including:
- How severe the injuries and damages were
- The total of the economic and non-economic damages
- How the plaintiff’s daily life has been affected
- Who caused the accident
- What laws were broken and by whom
Tucson’s Trusted Pedestrian Accident Attorneys
When you need a Tucson pedestrian accident lawyer you can count on to fight for your rights, look no further than Esquire Law. With a proven track record of winning pedestrian accident cases for previous clients, you can rest assured that we will achieve the results you want.
Don’t wait to start the process. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation.