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Pedestrians who are struck by cars often suffer devastating injuries and might be killed. Motorists are required to exercise reasonable care when they are driving to try to avoid causing pedestrian accidents. When someone is injured or killed in a pedestrian accident, the victim or their surviving family members are entitled to pursue compensation by filing an injury or wrongful death lawsuit. While many of the same laws and rules that apply to other types of injury claims also apply to collisions involving pedestrians, some laws are specific to pedestrian accident claims. Finding an experienced and competent Mesa pedestrian accident attorney can help to ensure your lawyer will understand the laws that apply and how to pursue compensation on your behalf.
The Mesa pedestrian accident lawyers at Lamber Goodnow have extensive experience fighting for justice for negligence victims in Mesa, Phoenix, throughout the Valley and Arizona, and across the Southwest. If you have been seriously injured in a collision with a car while walking, you should consult one of our knowledgeable attorneys about your right to recover compensation.
We handle all types of pedestrian accidents, including the following:
- Distracted driving pedestrian accidents
- Parking lot pedestrian accidents
- Drunk driving pedestrian accidents
- Crosswalk pedestrian accidents
- Running red lights or stop signs resulting in pedestrian accidents
- Failure to yield pedestrian accidents
We offer customized case preparation for each of our clients and are prepared to answer any questions you might have throughout your case. We handle all aspects of our clients’ cases and have achieved highly successful outcomes because of a combination of our experience, innovative legal approach, knowledge, and dedication.
Pedestrian Laws in Arizona
Under A.R.S. § 28-792, all motorists must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians crossing the streets in crosswalks or at unmarked intersections when the pedestrians are either on the same side of the road as the vehicles or the opposite half but are close enough to the cars that the pedestrians would otherwise be in danger. If a vehicle is stopped at a crosswalk or at an unmarked intersection to let a pedestrian cross, other motorists must also stop and can’t pass the stopped vehicle.
If a collision occurs, the same laws that cover any type of motor vehicle collision are in effect, including the duty to remain at the scene, summon help, exchange information, and others.
A key factor in pedestrian accident claims is the availability of insurance coverage. Under A.R.S. § 28-4009, all motorists in Arizona are required to carry auto insurance with at least the following minimum liability coverages:
- $25,000 bodily injury/death coverage for one person
- $50,000 bodily injury/death for two or more people per accident
- $15,000 property damage coverage
When a motorist only carries the required minimum liability insurance coverage, it might not be enough to cover all of the losses suffered by a pedestrian in a collision. In that type of situation, you could file a civil lawsuit against the at-fault driver to try to collect what you deserve from the at-fault party’s insurance carrier, the at-fault party’s assets, and any other potential recovery sources.
Pedestrian Accident Statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 6,516 pedestrians were killed in 2020 and an estimated 55,000 were injured in pedestrian collisions across the U.S. Estimates for 2021 from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) are that 7,485 pedestrians were killed, representing an increase of more than 11.5% from 2020. The GHSA also reports that 235 Arizonans were killed in pedestrian accidents in 2021. Pedestrian accidents are serious. If you have suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident, you should get the help of an experienced Mesa pedestrian accident lawyer.
Statute of Limitations
Arizona has statutes of limitations for different types of legal claims, including a statute of limitations for personal injury and wrongful death cases. Under A.R.S. § 12-542, the statute of limitations for a pedestrian accident claim involving injuries is two years from the date of the accident. For a wrongful death claim, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the victim’s death. This means that you must file a lawsuit no later than two years after your accident or after your loved one’s death. If you fail to meet the deadline, you will be barred from pursuing compensation through a lawsuit.
Negligence in Pedestrian Accident Claims
Pedestrian accident claims typically involve negligence causes of action. To win your claim, you will need to prove the following elements of negligence:
- The defendant owed a legal duty to exercise reasonable care and caution while driving to you.
- The defendant breached the legal duty.
- The defendant’s breach of the duty of care caused your accident and injuries.
- You suffered calculable damages as a result.
As the plaintiff, you will have the burden of proof for each of these elements by a preponderance of the evidence. If you fail to present enough evidence to prove one of the elements, the defendant will not be liable. A Mesa pedestrian accident attorney at Lamber Goodnow will carefully investigate your case and gather evidence to support each of the elements of negligence to help you succeed in your case.
Under A.R.S. § 12-2505, Arizona has adopted a pure comparative fault system. This means that each party involved in an accident is responsible for their degree of negligence. For example, if you were injured in a pedestrian accident and were 20% at fault, you would be responsible for covering 20% of your losses while the defendant would have to pay the remaining 80%. How this works is that while you won’t be barred from recovering compensation in a pedestrian accident claim that was partially your fault, your damages award will be reduced by the percentage of fault you are deemed to have contributed. In the above example, if you were awarded $100,000 in total damages in a jury verdict but were found to be 20% at fault, your net award would be reduced to $80,000.
Healthcare Liens and Pedestrian Accident Claims
One issue that arises in many pedestrian accident claims is the placement of healthcare provider liens against a settlement that you might receive from a lawsuit. Many healthcare providers file these types of liens even if the victims have health insurance that covers all of their treatment costs. Some healthcare providers file balance liens.
While healthcare providers are allowed to file these liens under A.R.S. §§ 33-931 to 33-936, there are several restrictions on them. Healthcare providers can’t file liens against any other assets beyond a potential settlement or verdict award. The victim must also have an outstanding debt owed to the provider for treatment provided that was related to the accident. If all of the treatment was covered by the victim’s health insurance, the healthcare provider’s lien must be released. The lien also can’t be filed against any of your other assets, and it only has to be paid if you win a settlement or verdict. If you don’t prevail in your case, you won’t have to pay off the lien. The lien also can only be for the provider’s customary charges and can’t be for more than the provider would normally charge for the same types of services.
Healthcare liens can sometimes be negotiated or waived. A pedestrian accident attorney Mesa at Lamber Goodnow can review the lien and determine whether it can be challenged. Some of the arguments that might be raised against a healthcare lien include the following:
- Failure to timely file the lien
- Failure to file the lien in the county in which the provider is located
- Failure to include a statement about whether the patient will continue receiving treatment or if the treatment has ended
- Claiming an amount larger than what is allowed
- Error in the amount claimed
- Including charges for services that were not medically necessary
- Claiming charges for services unrelated to the accident
Many health insurance companies also include clauses requiring their insureds to reimburse them for accident-related medical treatment from any personal injury awards. However, Arizona is an anti-subrogation state, which means that health insurance companies are generally not allowed to subrogate personal injury settlements. However, Arizona’s state law might be superseded by federal law in some cases. For example, self-funded ERISA plans through an employer might be able to subrogate your settlement. If you receive a bill for reimbursement from your health insurer, you should speak to one of our attorneys before you mail the payment.
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FAQs: Mesa Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents are often catastrophic and involve severe injuries or fatalities. Many people who have been seriously injured in pedestrian collisions or have lost their loved ones have questions about the claims process and what they might expect. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions the attorneys at Lamber Goodnow receive about pedestrian accidents.
Q: Will I Have to Go to Trial?
A: While it might be necessary to file a formal lawsuit and take a case to trial in certain situations, the vast majority of pedestrian accident lawsuits are favorably resolved before trial. Many cases are resolved before a lawsuit is ever filed through negotiations with the insurance company. Even if the insurance company initially refuses to settle your case fairly, it might be resolved after a lawsuit is filed through negotiations, mediation, or arbitration short of trial. Your attorney will be fully prepared to fight for your rights at trial if necessary, however.
Q: How Is a Lawsuit Filed?
A: If the defendant’s insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement, your attorney might recommend proceeding with a formal lawsuit. Your lawyer will first determine the court with proper jurisdiction and venue to hear your case and will file a civil complaint with that court. Once the complaint is filed, your lawyer will then serve a copy of the complaint along with the summons to the defendant. The defendant will then have time to file a response to the complaint called the answer. Once both the complaint and answer have been filed with the court, the case will then proceed to the discovery phase, during which both you and the defendant will exchange evidence about your case.
Q: How Much Is My Case Worth?
A: Many people call and ask how much their cases are worth. However, a Mesa pedestrian accident lawyer can’t provide a set value for the worth of a claim because each case is different. Instead, the value of your claim will depend on multiple case-specific factors, including the facts and circumstances of what happened, the defendant’s insurance policy limits, whether you shared some of the blame, the severity of your injuries, your likelihood of fully recovering, and others. When you meet with your lawyer, they will carefully analyze the evidence and assess the value of your claim. You will be provided with a range of values within which you might expect a reasonable settlement offer to fall.
Q: When Should I Hire a Lawyer?
A: While the statute of limitations for filing a pedestrian accident lawsuit is two years, that doesn’t mean that you should wait until the deadline has almost arrived. If you wait until the end of the limitations period, your attorney might not have enough time to fully investigate your case. Critical evidence that could support your claim might also be lost. The best approach is to talk to an experienced Mesa pedestrian accident attorney at Lamber Goodnow as soon as possible after your accident. When you do so, your attorney can file a motion to preserve important evidence, contact witnesses, and work with experts to fully investigate what happened.
Q: Should I Talk to the Insurance Adjuster or Sign Documents From the Company?
A: You should never agree to provide a statement to the at-fault party’s insurance company or sign anything the company sends you without talking to a lawyer. Insurance adjusters normally contact pedestrian accident victims shortly after their companies learn about their accidents. While they might seem like caring people, remember that their jobs are to try to reduce how much their employers might be forced to pay out in claims. If an adjuster calls and asks you about your injuries and what happened, you should simply explain that you won’t give a statement until you have spoken to an attorney. Adjusters try to get people to make statements that can be used against them later in their claims.
Similarly, the insurance company might ask you to sign a medical authorization and tell you it needs it to verify your injuries. Don’t sign a medical authorization. Insurance companies typically use overly broad authorizations that allow them to dig through accident victims’ entire medical records to try to find something else on which to blame their injuries. You should also not sign an early settlement offer from an insurance company without having it reviewed by a personal injury lawyer. If you accept an early settlement offer and later find out that it was unreasonably low, you won’t be able to come back to ask for more money later.
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