If you suffered an injury in a pedestrian accident in Phoenix, the pedestrian accident attorneys at Begam Marks & Traulsen, P.A., can help you get fair compensation.
Pedestrians are the most vulnerable road users. In collisions with motor vehicles, pedestrians have little to no protection and are likely to suffer a catastrophic injury. If they survive the initial car accident, victims are often left with lifelong injuries and disabilities.
Why Choose Us?
- Our legal team has helped hundreds of clients achieve their goals for their injury cases. We take a tailored approach to pedestrian accident law, focusing all our efforts on each client’s unique needs.
- Our Phoenix personal injury lawyers will do what it takes to obtain results they believe are fair, full and just for the client. We have recovered more than $178 million in settlements and verdicts for clients in the last 15 years.
- Our Phoenix law firm never charges for cases we do not win. We accept injured clients’ cases on a contingency fee basis, with $0 necessary for a retainer and attorney’s fees only if we succeed in obtaining a monetary award on behalf of the client.
What Can a Pedestrian Accident Attorney Do?
A pedestrian accident lawyer will look out for your best interests for the duration of your case against an at-fault driver or another party. Insurance companies can take advantage of clients – even those who are seriously injured – to try to save money. If you have a lawyer representing your case, you can take a stand against car insurance companies that try to take advantage of your fear or stress. A lawyer can also handle tasks such as investigating your accident and finding out who is the responsible party. A law firm will have the resources to conduct an investigation, preserve evidence and build an aggressive legal strategy while you concentrate on healing.
What Damages Are Available After a Pedestrian Accident?
In a personal injury case, damages refer to both the losses an accident victim suffered and the monetary award he or she could receive through a successful negligence claim.
General Categories of Damages
There are three general categories of damages that you may receive compensation for after sustaining injury from a pedestrian accident in Phoenix.
- Special Compensatory Damages: Special damages compensate victims for expenses they incur as a result of the injury. These can include loss of earnings, medical bills, future medical care, and therapy, etc.
- General Damages: General damages compensate victims for non-monetary damages they incur. These can be pain and suffering, loss of companionship, loss of consortium, mental anguish, and more.
- Punitive Damages: Punitive damages are awarded when the negligent or wrongful conduct was particularly malicious or wanton. These are typically aimed at holding large companies and manufacturers accountable for these types of actions.
With the help of a pedestrian accident lawyer, you may be able to maximize the amount of damages recoverable. To learn more, schedule a free consultation to discuss the specifics of your case with a qualified attorney in Phoenix.
Tangible and Intangible Damages
As a claimant in a lawsuit, the damages you could receive through a successful personal injury claim may help you and your family members pay for many related losses. The Arizona civil courts allow plaintiffs to demand compensation for both tangible and intangible damages.
- Past and foreseeable future medical expenses. A pedestrian accident can require thousands of dollars in medical bills throughout the victim’s recovery. Permanent injuries can mean lifelong medical care.
- Out-of-pocket costs. These may include the costs of traveling to a doctor or specialist, staying at a hotel, hiring an attorney and filing a claim with the courts. They can also cover lost income and benefits due to a serious injury.
- Damage to property. If you suffered any damage or destruction of property in your accident, such as to your cellphone, tablet, laptop, clothing or jewelry, you could recover the costs to repair or replace them.
- Physical pain and suffering. A pedestrian accident can cause significant physical pain and suffering from injuries ranging from broken bones to muscle sprains. The courts may award noneconomic damages to cover these intangible losses.
- Emotional distress. Other intangible losses can include mental anguish, psychological trauma, nightmares, post-traumatic stress, humiliation, anxiety, depression and other experiences you had because of the accident.
The value of your unique claim will depend on many factors, including how serious your injuries are and how long you will be out of work. A Phoenix accident attorney from our firm can help you determine the value of your case and assist you in the claims process. Our attorneys always fight for maximum compensation for our clients.
How Compensation May Be Recovered
Obtaining compensation is one of the main reasons injured pedestrians bring claims with the civil courts in Phoenix. Although a claim also serves to hold a negligent driver responsible for his or her actions, the driving force behind filing is often to receive a monetary award for the victim’s many damages. To recover compensation, however, you or your attorney will need to fulfill the burden of proof. This burden comes with four essential elements:
The Driver Owed a Duty of Care
All drivers owe general duties of care, but the driver that struck you may have also owed more specific duties, such as the duty to yield you the right-of-way at a marked or unmarked crosswalk.
The Driver was Negligent
The driver must be guilty of an act of negligence, carelessness, recklessness or intent to harm. Any breach of duty of care can suffice to prove the defendant’s fault for your damages.
The Driver’s Negligence Caused your Accident
Your pedestrian accident lawyer must establish a causal relationship between the driver’s negligence and your injuries. If a driver was texting and driving, for example, but you tripped and fell on an uneven sidewalk, the driver would not be responsible for your injuries.
You Suffered Compensable Damages
Finally, your lawyer must show proof of real damages because of the accident. Proof can come in the form of medical bills, receipts, statements and testimony from people close to you.
You will only recover compensation if your lawyer can prove these four elements through a preponderance of evidence. This is a lighter burden of proof than in criminal cases, which require proof beyond a reasonable doubt. During a civil accident claim, your lawyer must only prove that your version of events is more likely to be true than not true. Claims based on the legal doctrine of negligence will come with a requirement to prove these four elements. Other cases, however, such as those based on product liability, may not require proving negligence for the victim to recover compensation.
Is There a Time Limit on a Pedestrian Accident Claim?
As a victim of a pedestrian accident in Phoenix, you have a limited time to bring your personal injury claim. The Arizona civil justice system comes with strict deadlines, called statutes of limitations, on each type of personal injury case. Each state has statutes of limitations, but they differ across jurisdictions. The limit in Arizona is two years for all personal injury lawsuits. If you fail to file your claim with the county courts within two years of the date of your accident, you will most likely miss out on receiving any compensation.
No amount of evidence against the defendant could salvage your case if you miss the statute of limitations. The courts take this time limit very seriously to uphold the justice of the system. If a court permitted plaintiffs to bring claims whenever they wanted, claimants could feasibly wait until the loss of important evidence that could have helped the defendant’s case. To keep things fair, the state courts must enforce the statute of limitations, with only rare exceptions. It is important to contact a lawyer and file your claim as soon as possible to avoid missing this deadline.
The two-year statute of limitations may start after the date of your accident if you did not discover your injuries right away. If you thought you were fine but three days later detected symptoms of a concussion, for example, your statute of limitations might not start until the date of your brain injury diagnosis rather than the date the vehicle struck you. The deadline may also be longer for accident victims under the age of 18. Minor victims will typically have two years from their 18th birthdays to file. The courts may also toll a deadline for a victim with a disability.
Time Limit for Wrongful Death in a Pedestrian Accident
The time limit could be slightly different if you are filing a claim for the death of your loved one after a Phoenix pedestrian accident. Rather than having two years from the date of the collision, you and your family members will have two years from the date of your loved one’s death. Parties that can file for wrongful death in Arizona include the deceased person’s surviving spouse and children. Do not risk filing too late to be eligible for compensation. Speak to a wrongful death lawyer in Phoenix after suffering serious losses to reserve your legal right to file.
Arizona Pedestrian Laws
Understanding your state’s pedestrian laws could help you prevent an accident as a driver or pedestrian. Many common misconceptions surround pedestrians’ rights to the road, including the assumption that pedestrians always have the right-of-way in Arizona. Learning what the law actually says can decrease the likelihood of a vehicle striking a pedestrian or a pedestrian mistakenly walking into the road. It can also help you determine whether you have a case against a driver after a pedestrian accident.
- Section 28-793 of the Arizona Revised Statutes says that a pedestrian crossing the street anywhere other than within a marked crosswalk must yield the right-of-way to passing vehicles.
- Pedestrians may not cross the road anywhere except within a marked crosswalk between adjacent intersections with traffic control signals (jaywalking).
- Pedestrians may not leave a curb and enter the roadway unless they have the right-of-way and it is safe to do so. Even with the right-of-way, a pedestrian may not step out into traffic when the driver does not reasonably have enough time to stop.
- Pedestrians must yield the right-of-way to drivers when a traffic signal shows the Wait or Don’t Walk sign.
- Vehicles must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians at crosswalks and intersections that do not have traffic control signals. Drivers must yield to crossing pedestrians who are in their half of the crosswalk.
- Pedestrians must use sidewalks or pedestrian pathways when provided. If there is no sidewalk, a pedestrian can walk as far to the right-hand side of the road as possible, in the direction facing oncoming traffic.
Breaking the law is a common cause of pedestrian accidents in Phoenix. Both parties – drivers and pedestrians – have a duty to know and obey pedestrian laws. Breaking any pedestrian law could expose the person walking or jogging to serious risks of injuries or pedestrian death. The party that broke the law will likely be the one liable for damages.
Do Pedestrians Always Have the Right-of-Way?
Pedestrians do not always have the right-of-way in Phoenix, or in most cities in the U.S. Although between a vehicle and a pedestrian the latter is much more vulnerable to injuries, the law does not automatically grant right-of-way to pedestrians. Although, in general, pedestrians will have the right-of-way, this will not be the case at intersections with traffic control devices. At these intersections, pedestrians will only have the right-of-way when the control signal reads Walk. It is illegal for a pedestrian to cross the road when the signal reads Don’t Walk or when the pedestrian has the red light.
A pedestrian will bear the right-of-way automatically in some locations in Phoenix. At marked crosswalks and intersections without control devices, for example, pedestrians have the right-of-way. While it is always against the Arizona crosswalk law to step off a curb into oncoming traffic, once the road is clear, the pedestrian may cross. All drivers must yield to crossing pedestrians that are on their side of the road or close enough to put the pedestrian at risk. The only exception is if the pedestrian is jaywalking, in which case he or she will not have the right-of-way.
Who Can be Held Liable for a Collision with a Pedestrian?
The driver that struck the pedestrian will be liable for the accident in many cases. Some of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents trace back to driver error: distracted driving, drunk driving, driver fatigue, ignored pedestrian rights-of-way, speeding, etc. In some cases, however, the driver may try to allege comparative fault. Comparative fault places some of the blame with the victim for also contributing to the accident. In Arizona, comparative fault could reduce your rate of damages if the courts find you partially responsible for the accident. You may need a lawyer to help you counter this defense tactic and recover maximum compensation under Arizona law.
The City of Phoenix
Some accident cases involve the liability of someone other than the driver or pedestrian (a third party). If you walked into the road because of a malfunctioning traffic control signal, for example, the driver that struck you might not be wholly liable. The City of Phoenix could be at fault, or at least share fault with the driver, for failing to repair the malfunctioning light. The city could also be liable for defective roadway designs, lack of pedestrian walkways, unsafe crosswalks, sidewalk defects, dangerous construction zones or other hazards that contributed to the collision.
Another potential defendant in a pedestrian accident case could be a product manufacturer. A vehicle manufacturer could be responsible for a pedestrian’s injuries if a defect with the vehicle contributed to the collision. The maker of an autonomous vehicle, for example, could be liable if the technology glitched and failed to detect a crossing pedestrian. Determining liability and identifying the correct defendant(s) often requires an investigation. At Begam Marks & Traulsen, P.A., we have the resources to investigate any type of traffic accident in Phoenix.
Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Pedestrian accidents are often so devastating due to the disparity between the vehicle and the person. A pedestrian does not have any safety gear; no metal shell, seat belt, airbag or helmet to protect him or her from personal injuries. Contact with a motor vehicle, even one traveling at a low speed, can cause catastrophic and fatal injuries. While a pedestrian collision could cause almost any type of injury, some are more common injuries than others due to the nature of these accidents.
- Pelvic injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Leg and foot injuries
- Chest injuries
- Fractured ribcages
- Face and head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
- Bone fractures
- Wrongful death
If you suffered any of these serious injuries, or are caring for a loved one with a permanent disability because of a pedestrian accident in Phoenix, contact an attorney. You could be eligible for significant recovery for catastrophic injuries or wrongful death. One of our pedestrian injury attorneys in Phoenix can review your unique injuries, help you gather medical documentation and negotiate for fair compensation from an insurance company on your behalf. We have won cases involving a wide range of personal injuries throughout Arizona.
Common Factors in Pedestrian Accidents
In 2016, there were 1,643 motor vehicle accidents in Arizona involving pedestrians. These accidents involved cars, motorcycles, bicycles, or a variety of other vehicles. Determining who is liable depends on each person’s duty of care. The law requires both drivers and pedestrians to act in a way that keeps themselves and others safe.
An important aspect of a driver’s duty of care is avoiding distraction. Distracted driving is an issue across the country and can cause accidents of all kinds, including pedestrian accidents. Pedestrians are also particularly vulnerable when vehicles are backing up and the driver and any time a vehicle makes a turn or merges into traffic. During these scenarios, drivers are typically focused on other vehicles and road signals. Some of the other most common factors that lead to drivers failing to uphold the duty of care are:
- Distracted driving
- Failing to yield to pedestrians
- Disobeying traffic signs or signals
- Failing to signal while turning
- Ignoring weather or traffic conditions
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Drivers owe a special duty of care to children under the age of nine. The law doesn’t expect children to exercise a duty of care, as they are too young to understand the rules of the road. Therefore, a driver must be especially careful around children. When driving near parks, schools, or other places where there could be children, drivers must exercise a higher standard of care behind the wheel.
How Do I Prove a Driver’s Fault?
Comparative fault is a common defense drivers use in pedestrian accident claims. Comparative fault asserts that the pedestrian caused or contributed to the accident, thus diminishing the driver’s liability. To maximize a compensatory award as a pedestrian, your attorney may have to combat a comparative negligence defense by proving the driver’s fault. Proving fault will be necessary if you wish to obtain compensation for your damages. A law firm could help you prove fault for an accident through many potential means.
- Photographs of the scene of the accident
- Video footage of the collision
- Interviews and statements from eyewitnesses
- Testimony from pedestrian accident experts
- Medical records
- Police reports
- Crash reconstruction
- The driver’s cellphone records
- A commercial truck’s black box in a truck accident case
The attorneys at Begam Marks & Traulsen, P.A. can help accident victims through even the most complex claims in Phoenix. Our legal team can work hard to maximize compensatory awards by proving the driver’s fault and combatting comparative negligence defenses, if applicable. Under Arizona state law, you could still recover partial compensation even if a court finds you 99% responsible for an accident. The courts will reduce your money damages by your percentage of fault, however, so it is important to hire a pedestrian accident attorney that can help you minimize your liability.
Contact a Phoenix Pedestrian Accident Attorney Today
A pedestrian accident injury can have serious effects on all aspects of your life. If another person’s negligence caused you to suffer an injury, you deserve compensation to help recover.
The Phoenix pedestrian accident attorneys at Begam Marks & Traulsen, P.A., have six decades of experience helping people recover from personal injuries, earning millions of dollars in settlements, arbitration awards, and jury verdicts. Contact Begam Marks & Traulsen, P.A., for attorneys who will fight for you and your case in the Phoenix area.