Phoenix Pedestrian Accident Lawyers
Pedestrian accident cases can be devastating. Given the tragic consequences that can occur when a vehicle strikes a person, drivers have an obligation to exercise care when driving under the law. Pedestrian accidents are a type of personal injury, and many of the same rules and laws apply to them that apply to other types of injury cases. There are, however, some unique laws that do apply in this case. A good Phoenix-based personal injury attorney who is familiar with pedestrian accidents will understand all of these laws and will know how to correctly file and pursue compensation in one of these cases.
You should not have to suffer because of another person’s negligence. The Lamber-Goodnow Injury Law Team is based in Phoenix with offices throughout Arizona and the Southwest. If you or a loved one has been hit by a car, truck, bus or motorcycle, we can help you take proactive legal steps to obtain the compensation that you and your family deserve.
Our team is extensively experienced with cases that involve:
- Crosswalk accidents
- Distracted drivers
- Drunk drivers
- Parking lot accidents
- Intersection accidents
- Drivers failing to yield
- Drivers running red lights or stop signs
Our attorneys focus on client service, and we handle all legal aspects of each case we take on. We have decades of experience and apply innovative tactics and strategies to achieve the results our clients depend on.
Arizona Pedestrian Laws
According to the Revised Arizona Statutes, all drivers are required to yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian who is crossing a street without a traffic control signal and is in the crossway if said pedestrian is on the same half of the roadway as the driver’s vehicle or if the pedestrian is on the opposite half but is close enough to the vehicle that the pedestrian is in dangerous. The driver may need to slow down or completely stop in order to avoid hitting the pedestrian (ARS 28-792). If a vehicle is stopped at a crosswalk to allow a pedestrian to cross, any other driver who approaches the stopped vehicle is also required to stop—they may not pass the vehicle. This includes when a vehicle is stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross at an unmarked crosswalk.
If an accident occurs involving a motor vehicle of any type, then the Arizona laws regarding motor vehicle accidents go into effect. These laws are very similar to the broader personal injury laws. One key factor in these cases is insurance. Arizona requires that all drivers carry motor insurance. The minimum amount of coverage includes the following:
- $15,0000 per person for bodily injury or death.
- $30,000 per accident if more than two people are involved.
- $10,000 for property damage or destruction.
These are the minimum requirements laid out by ARS 28-4009. If you have been in a pedestrian accident and can show that the driver was at fault, this insurance will cover your medical expenses related to the accident in most cases. However, if the driver is not insured, you may not be able to recoup any damages unless you file a lawsuit.
How Compensation May be Recovered
The process of receiving compensation for a pedestrian accident is through a claim or a civil court case. When matters proceed to litigation, these types of cases are brought before a court for the purpose of determining if one of the involved parties is legally at fault. In most cases, a pedestrian accident case will never go to court. Instead, the parties meet prior to the lawsuit being filed and reach a resolution. This type of informal settlement ensures both parties avoid the cost, time, and potential embarrassment or other complication that could come from a formal, legal court hearing and judgment.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), on average, a pedestrian is involved in a traffic accident every seven minutes. Every two hours, a pedestrian is killed. These numbers are increasing, too. In 2014, 4,884 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents. In 2015, NHTSA reports that 5,376 pedestrians were killed. This makes pedestrian accidents quite serious. If you’ve been involved in one of these incidents, you need to take it seriously. You need experienced legal counsel.
There are a number of different laws a Phoenix pedestrian accident attorny may use when representing someone in a pedestrian accident:
- Statute of Limitations – two years in all cases involving a vehicle (ARS 12-542)
- Wrongful Death – Liability (ARS 12-611)
- Comparative Fault System (ARS 12-2501)
Arizona Healthcare Provider Liens and How They Affect Pedestrian Cases
One thing all Arizona residents need to be aware of when involved in a pedestrian accident is that many healthcare providers are going to place a healthcare lien upon any settlement or restitution the injured party receives from a lawsuit. This lien is filed even if the injured pedestrian’s health insurance would cover all of the costs associated with their treatment. In addition to hospitals and emergency rooms, a number of other healthcare providers also file “balance liens.”
According to ARS 33-931 through 33-936, hospitals and other providers are allowed to follow these liens, but there are a number of restrictions on them. The healthcare provider is not allowed to impose a lien on anything other than the third-party personal injury claim. However, the injured party must have an underlying and outstanding obligation (i.e., debt) to the healthcare provider, and that obligation must be for services that were related to the claim. If all of those obligations are satisfied by an insurance company, however, the lien must be released.
These healthcare provider liens also do not give the healthcare provider the right to claim any other income or funds that the injured party may receive outside of the compensation for the accident. This means the lien does not apply to wages, vehicles, property, gifts, or any other type of income. The lien also only has to be paid if the injured wins damages in court. If you do not receive anything from the case, you do not have to pay anything toward the lien.
The law also places a limit on the amount of the lien. It only secures the customary charges that the provider would charge for a service. This caps the total amount of the lien because it does not allow the provider to charge more than they normally would.
While most healthcare providers to impose a lien, that does not always mean that they will collect from it. In a number of cases, the lien may be waived or negotiated. An experienced Phoenix-based lawyer will know how to look at a lien and determine if it can be waived or discounted. They may use a number of arguments, including the following:
- The lien was not filed timely.
- The lien was not filed in the county where the provider is located.
- The provider failed to include a statement indicating if the patient would continue receiving treatment or if the treatment had ended.
- The lien contained an error in the amount or the amount was larger than allowed.
- The lien is for items that were not medically necessary.
- The care given was not related in any way to the accident.
These liens also cannot extend to health insurance claims or to underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage.
Besides a provider lien, those who are injured may also have to reimburse their health insurance provider. Many providers do include a reimbursement clause that states that they must be paid back for any money paid out on the insured’s behalf. Due to the fact that Arizona is an anti-subrogation state, this becomes a complicated issue. The law states that assignment of personal injury cause of action is not allowed, which means that no person or business can assume the rights of another. The insurance company, then, cannot make payments on the insured’s behalf if they are not authorized to do so.
In some cases, such as those with large ERISA-plans that are self-funded, this state law may be superseded by federal law. Always check with a Phoenix pedestrian accident lawyer before making any reimbursement payments.
Where Do Accident Victims File Pedestrian Accident Cases in Arizona?
While filing a lawsuit in a pedestrian accident case may happen, it’s much more likely that the two parties will settle out of court through mediation or arbitration. However, if the case does go to trial, it will be in either state or federal court.
What Does the Plaintiff’s Phoenix-based Attorney Do to File a Pedestrian Accident Case?
In either court system, the process for filing a lawsuit is very similar. The attorney for the Plaintiff is the one who initially files the paperwork. Here is a basic outline of what will occur when a case goes to trial:
- First, the plaintiff’s attorney will file a complaint with the court clerk. This document outlines the reasons the plaintiff is suing, lists the defendants, and lists what the plaintiff would like the court to do.
- The attorney must also state if the case is eligible for arbitration. There are a number of rules that govern whether or not a case may be arbitrated. If it is and both parties agree to this process, the case will not go to trial. Instead, the involved parties will work with an impartial third-party arbiter to decide the outcome. Both will agree to accept the arbitrator’s decision.
- The plaintiff’s lawyer will send a copy of the complaint to the defendant and summon them to court.
- The defendant or his/her legal representative will file a written statement that either accepts or denies the statements made in the plaintiff’s complaint.
- Next, both sides will ask for specific information, documents, and other evidence regarding the events that occurred. This process, called discovery, allows both sides a chance to examine all evidence related to the case.
- Each attorney and party will attend court, provide and hear testimony, and finally hear the judgment of the judge or jury. In Arizona, ARS 21-102 states that all civil juries will be made up of eight people. Only six need to agree for the jury to reach a verdict.
- The losing party then has a chance to appeal.
Pedestrian Accidents in Arizona State Courts
In Phoenix, most pedestrian accident cases will start in Maricopa County Superior Court. This is a branch of the Superior Court of Arizona, the statewide general jurisdiction court. This court hears a wide variety of different cases. While all Superior Courts have at least one superior court judge, the Maricopa County Superior Court has the most in the state because it hears a large number of cases every year.
If the losing party decides to appeal, that appeal will be heard by the Arizona Court of Appeals Division 1. This is the first level of the state’s appellate court system. The court of appeals has two divisions: one in Phoenix and one in Tucson. When a case comes before this court, it will be heard by a panel of three judges.
The decision of this panel can also be appealed. In that case, and in some other specific cases that bypass the court of appeals, the decision is appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court. Like the U.S. Supreme Court, this court does not have to hear every case appealed to them. The justices of the court will review the appeals and determine if they wish to hear the case. If they do not take up the case, the decision of the appeals court stands.
Pedestrian Accidents in Federal Court
Those with injury accidents may, in some cases, file their case in a federal court instead of state court. The United States District Court with authority to hear cases in Arizona is the Ninth Circuit. This court is the only federal judicial district in the state. It has locations in five different cities, including Phoenix.
When filing in a federal court, the case is first heard by the district court. This court is similar to state court with one important difference: juries may have anywhere from six to twelve members, and unless the parties agree to something different, the verdict must be unanimous.
Like the state courts, there is a court of appeals that the losing party may appeal to if they believe the district court did not rule properly. There are 13 different appellate courts in the United States. Here, like the state appellate court, a panel of three judges will hear the case and make a decision.
Finally, the losing party may make an appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States. However, the Supreme Court may not take up the case.
In order to have a case heard in a federal court, it needs to fall under the federal court’s jurisdiction. Cases generally only do this if they in some way pertain to a federal question, which means the case pertains to a question regarding a treaty, federal law, or the U.S. Constitution. Most pedestrian accident cases will not. However, a case may also be heard in federal court if it satisfies the diversity of citizenship qualifier. In most cases, this means that the plaintiff and the defendant are residents of different states. If the value of all damages being sought is less than $75,000, however, the case is not eligible for the federal court.
In most cases, a Phoenix pedestrian accident attorneys will file their cases in Maricopa County Superior Court because a jury trial does not require a unanimous jury decision.
Our No-Fee Promise
If you think you have a case, we would like to speak with you. All initial consultations with The Lamber-Goodnow Injury Law Team are complimentary. If we determine that your case has merit, we will finance all costs of litigation. We will manage all communications with insurance companies and defendants. We take the burden from your shoulders, and we only get paid if we obtain a favorable verdict or settlement in your case.
We pursue maximum compensation in all auto accident cases, and we are committed to providing maximum value to each case we take on.
Contact Our Phoenix And Mesa Pedestrian Injury Lawyers
To arrange a free initial consultation, please contact us online or call our firm at 602-274-9662 or 800-283-2652 toll free.