Attorneys for Walkers Struck By Motor Vehicles Resulting in Personal Injuries and Wrongful Death Claims
A “pedestrian accident” occurs when a jogger, walker or bicyclist is struck by a person who is operating a mode of transportation such as a scooter, bicycle, car, motorcycle, bus, truck, etc. The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) published a report in 2018 called “Motor Vehicle Crash Facts.” The report proves that accidents involving automobiles and pedestrians are rising in the state of Arizona and throughout the United States.
According to the ADOT report, pedestrians who have been hit-by-cars only accounted for 2% of the total accidents in Arizona, but pedestrian-automobile accidents resulted in 25% of the total fatal accidents in Arizona. At Torgenson Law, our pedestrian accident attorneys fight hard on behalf of those injured or tragically killed in a pedestrian accident.
How to Protect Your Legal Rights After a Pedestrian Accident
If you or a member of your family has been tragically killed or injured while walking, playing in the street, bicycling, or running, it is imperative that you speak with a qualified pedestrian accident lawyer to discuss your legal options, according to Arizona personal injury law. You or your loved one may be entitled to monetary compensation for your losses.
The Time to Recover Monetary Compensation is Limited by Arizona Law
In Arizona, the amount of time that you have to file your claim is limited by Arizona’s statutes of limitations. So do not delay in discussing your case and the monetary damages your case deserves. For over 15 years, Torgenson Law has fought to recover maximum compensation for their clients. If you have questions about your pedestrian case, simply call Torgenson Law at 602-759-0012 and receive your free, no-obligation claim review. We can even come to you.
Distracted Drivers Pose a Serious Threat to Pedestrians in Arizona
Whether a driver sends a text message, chats with a passenger, or juggles a $5 cup of coffee, multi-tasking drivers endanger everyone using Arizona streets, roads, and interstates. Among the many people threatened by distracted driving, pedestrians are placed at the greatest risk of experiencing permanent disability, disfigurement, catastrophic injury, and loss of life. Pedestrians can be difficult to see under the best circumstances, but motorists with their attention devoted to non-driving related matters are even more likely to fail to notice a person crossing the street, waiting at a public or school bus stop, or walking on the side of the road.
When a walker or jogger is struck by a motor vehicle, the human body is no match for thousands of pounds of steel moving at speeds of 25-65 miles per hour. This mismatch in size and weight usually leaves pedestrians with significant or even fatal injuries. The concept of a “minor pedestrian accident” is an oxymoron; pedestrian accidents by their very nature are serious life-changing events. If you have been hit while crossing the street or walking to your car in a parking lot, you may experience excruciating pain and suffering, a prolonged course of treatment and rehabilitation, prolonged disability from employment, and staggering medical bills. Our experienced pedestrian accident attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona understand these hardships because we have been representing the victims of careless and distracted drivers for over 15 years.
Distracted Drivers Cause Serious Injuries and Fatalities
Distracted driving has become one of the most significant causes of traffic-related injuries and deaths. While cell phone use constitutes only one form of distraction that can cause a serious collision, motorists using mobile phones cause 1.6 million crashes per year, according to the National Safety Council. During the most recent one-year period that data is reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website, distracted drivers were involved in accidents that claimed the lives of 3,450 and resulted in injury to another 391,000. Because pedestrians can be more difficult to spot and possess no protection from injury, they face a heightened risk from motorists multi-tasking behind the wheel.
The widespread use of portable electronic devices like cellular phones constitutes an exceptionally serious safety risk to pedestrians. During daylight hours, 481,000 drivers operate vehicles while using a portable electronic device like a cell phone. A few facts indicate the scope of the threat from distracted motorists:
- 481,000 drivers are distracted by electronic devices during daylight hours on a typical day.
- Drivers texting while driving are six times more likely to cause a collision than a drunk driver.
- A vehicle traveling at 55 mph travels over the length of a football field in the 5 seconds it takes to read a text message.
- The number of pedestrian deaths nationally increased 27 percent from 2007 to 2016 despite a 14 decline in overall traffic-related deaths during the same period.
- Pedestrian fatalities increased as a percentage of traffic-related deaths from 11 percent to 16 percent from 2007 to 2016
- The number of pedestrians killed by distracted drivers increased by 50 percent, and the number of fatally injured bicyclists increased by 30 percent over a five-year period.
Common Distractions That Cause Pedestrian Fatalities
Many distractions can contribute to a multi-tasking driver to run into or over a pedestrian. Some of these distractions can be located inside the vehicle like a car multimedia system or factors outside the vehicle that cause a driver to avert his or her attention from the road. Driving distractions can be divided into three basic categories that include:
Manual Distractions: When drivers take their hands off the wheel to reach for an object or to clean up a spill, this type of distraction is referred to as a “manual distraction.” If drivers remove their hands from the steering wheel, a vehicle may drift toward the side of the road or sidewalk and run down a pedestrian.
Visual Distraction: Drivers often avert their eyes from the roadway toward distractions both inside and outside their vehicle. These distractions can range from reading a cell phone to rubbernecking at the scene of a traffic accident. Because pedestrians are small, they can be difficult to perceive.
Cognitive Distractions: This type of distraction involves drivers focusing their attention on something other than driving. Common examples of mental distractions range from thinking about family, work, or personal issues to talking with a passenger.
Why Cell Phone Use Constitutes a Special Danger for Walkers and Joggers
Although motorists endanger the safety of those traveling on foot anytime they multitask behind the wheel, mobile phones have become a particularly dangerous threat to pedestrian safety. Whether a cell phone is being used to make a phone call, send a text message, or surf the web, mobile phones involve all three forms of distraction (manual, visual, and cognitive). The degree and prevalence of a distraction determine the magnitude of the threat from any particular distracting behavior. Drivers who use their cellphone while driving are four times more likely to be involved in a collision than drivers entirely focused on driving. Texting raises this risk to between 8 to 23 times. While other distractions are just as dangerous, the high number of motorists texting or talking at any point in time make cell phones different. While a very small number of drivers might reach for an object at any point in time, the National Safety Council estimates that approximately 10 percent of all drivers are using their mobile phone at any point in time.
Injuries to Pedestrians Struck by Distracted Drivers
Pedestrians suffer many of the types of injuries also experienced by vehicle occupants involved in collisions, but the injuries incurred by people hit by a car while walking tend to be debilitating. Some of the most common injuries suffered in pedestrian accidents include:
Spinal Cord Injuries: Injuries to the spinal cord often have long-term disabling consequences because this vital part of the body transmits signals between the brain and body.
Lacerations: The location and severity of lacerations can mean permanent disfigurement, infection risks, and severe pain.
Bone Fractures: Because pedestrians lack any significant form of protection from injury, they can suffer compound fractures that require the insertion of medical appliances like pins and screws as well as surgical procedures.
Injuries to the Pelvis: Depending on the design of the hood of a vehicle, pedestrians hit by a distracted driver can suffer one of several kinds of pelvic injuries/fractures.
Head Injuries: When a pedestrian suffers head trauma, damage to the brain can mean impaired cognitive functioning, permanent disability, and potentially death.
Internal Injuries: Many internal injuries like rib fractures, damage to vital organs, internal bleeding, or brain bleeds can be serious and even life-threatening.
Wrongful Death: Tragically, families can prematurely lose a loved one because a driver puts reading a text message above the safety of a pedestrian. The difficult emotional hardships that accompany such a loss are compounded by the associated financial hardships of a loss of household income, medical bills, and burial/funeral expenses.
Punitive & Compensatory Damages in Arizona Pedestrian Accidents
Arizona proves specific laws that permit personal injury victims to recover damages from individuals who engage in negligent actions that harm others. Arizona’s personal injury statutes detail what monetary compensation may be recovered in Arizona’s civil court system. In Arizona, the legal term “damages” is used to describe the financial compensation awarded in Arizona personal injury cases.
In some Arizona injury cases, the plaintiff could be permitted to recover both compensatory and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages are designed to “compensate” the plaintiff for their economic damages such as medical bills, lost earnings, rental car, and all other accident-related losses. Also, non-economic damages compensate the plaintiff for things such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and similar non-economic damages.
Punitive damages could be awarded to accident injury victims under certain situations and if the personal injury case goes to trial. Punitive damages are intended to “punish” the defendant so that he or she doesn’t repeat the same wrongful act to another. Punitive damages aren’t always awarded in a personal injury case.
Calculating Compensation for Future Losses Related to Catastrophic Injuries
Catastrophic injuries are those injury events that can produce permanent disabilities, whose effects will be felt for a considerable period of time, and/or that result in death. According to the National Institutes of Health, traumatic injuries remain one of the leading causes of death for Americans under 40 years of age.
When you or your loved one have suffered a catastrophic injury – a traumatic brain injury or a spinal cord injury, for example – it is easy to become focused on the present and lose sight of the future. Each day is enough of a struggle that it is hard to consider how you will manage with the long-term limitations or disabilities these serious injuries can cause.
Some of the most common catastrophic injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries, caused by blunt force, whiplash, or injuries that pierce the skull;
- Injuries to the spinal cord, which can (in certain cases) cause paralysis;
- Injuries to the spine or neck that can result in crushed or fractured vertebrae and significant accompanying pain;
- Burns, especially burns to the head and/or face, which can end up leading to tremendous pain and long recovery periods;
- Amputations of the hands, feet, arms and/or legs, which can severely impact a person’s ability to engage in activities and/or live independently.
These and other catastrophic injuries will often require compensation for anticipated future costs and losses as well as compensation for the injury victim’s immediate expenses. This requires injury plaintiffs to have a good sense of the bills they have already incurred as well as what long-term care they will likely need for the remainder of their lives. Full and fair compensation following a catastrophic injury requires more than simply getting your medical bills paid.
Long Term Care for Catastrophic Injuries
Once an injured person is initially released from the hospital following a serious injury incident, he or she will typically be given discharge instructions and told to follow up with a specialist or other provider within a certain amount of time. It is critical that injury victims keep these and all other follow-up appointments, and follow the instructions given by their healthcare providers. Failing to do so can not only result in further complications, but it can also lessen the likelihood that the victim will receive adequate compensation for his or her injuries since the argument can be made that he or she is partly to blame for the severity and complications of those injuries.
Failing to plan for the long-term, future costs of these injuries and seek compensation for them can be a devastating mistake. Expenses like having a live-in assistant or having someone come and assist with housework during the day, not being able to return to work, and the necessity of regular medical appointments in the future are all examples of future expenses that can quickly add up. While estimating these expenses is not always a precise art, consulting with experts like medical professionals and experienced case workers can usually provide catastrophic injury victims with information about what services they will likely need in the future and what those services would cost.
Should I Retain a Phoenix Pedestrian Accident Lawyer?
If you or someone you love is injured in a pedestrian accident, you should understand your legal rights and how the pedestrian accident injury or wrongful death claim process works. Torgenson Law offers a free case evaluation to answer all of your important legal questions. There is no cost to you or obligation to speak with one of our Phoenix pedestrian accidents lawyers.
Pedestrian-Related Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Arizona
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Arizona is different than a personal injury case because the accident victim has passed away. Wrongful death actions in Arizona may only be brought by the decedent’s immediate family. These immediate family members may also file a separate wrongful death civil suit to recover damages related to their loved one’s fatal accident. A significant number of family members who file wrongful death lawsuits say that their suit isn’t about money but about justice for their loved one. Also, many families pursue a wrongful death suit in hopes of preventing a similar accident in the future. The monetary damages awarded in an Arizona wrongful death lawsuit span tens of thousands of dollars to several millions of dollars. The nature of the accident and who is named as a defendant in a wrongful death case has an impact on the total damages that could be recovered if the plaintiff wins their case.
Which Family Members May Bring a Wrongful Death Case in Arizona
According to Arizona’s Wrongful Death Statutes, the following family members may file a wrongful death suit.
- Legal Guardians
- The Designated Personal Representative for the Decedent’s Estate
Do you have questions about filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit? If so, simply contact Torgenson Law at 602-759-0012 for legal answers and your free case review.
Frequently Asked Questions About Arizona Sidewalk Accidents
How do most pedestrian accidents occur in the state of Arizona?
Usually, pedestrian accidents are the result of driver negligence. The following list includes the most common causes of pedestrian accidents in Arizona:
- The driver was driving distracted.
- The driver was driving while intoxicated.
- The driver was driving recklessly and/or speeding.
- The driver failed to yield the right of way to a pedestrian.
- The driver was driving while sleepy.
- The driver was acting out in a fit of road rage.
Should I call 911 after a sidewalk pedestrian accident in Arizona?
Yes. In Arizona, all traffic and pedestrian accidents are to be reported to authorities. The at-fault driver must also stop and wait for law enforcement to arrive at the accident scene. If you are involved in an accident or if you witness an accident, you should contact 911 to alert the police and emergency medical responders. Always follow up with law enforcement and obtain a copy of the accident report as it may be crucial evidence for your crosswalk accident injury case.
Should I contact my insurance company if I’m injured in a pedestrian accident?
Yes. You are required to contact the insurance companies after an accident. However, you must use caution when speaking with insurance representatives. It would be better to speak with an attorney a few minutes prior to making the call to your insurance company to protect your legal rights. When you speak with your insurance company or at-fault party’s insurance company, you only need to state that you were in a pedestrian accident as well as your name, the name of the other person involved, the accident scene location, the time of the accident, and your contact information. Do not accept blame or discuss the actual accident details. Do not discuss whether or not you feel pain. Simply provide the basic information and state that you are going to receive a medical examination and you will contact them again when you are able. At this point, you should consider retaining an attorney to speak on your behalf. This way you are assured that you protect your legal rights. The last thing you want to do is to volunteer information that damages your future financial recovery.
What should I do if I have been injured in a motor vehicle accident?
If you suffer an injury in a vehicular collision caused by another party, your top priority should be seeking immediate medical assistance, performing all diagnostic testing and scans, and completing your course of treatment and rehabilitation. Prompt medical care could significantly improve your prognosis, and the medical records will provide documentation regarding the nature and severity of your injuries. Insurance companies often contend that an injury victim’s injuries are fabricated or exaggerated based on delays in obtaining medical attention or the victim’s failure to follow his or her doctor’s orders and recommendations.
Individuals injured in a motor vehicle collision also should seek legal advice promptly. The other driver or his or her insurance company could contact you shortly after your accident to discuss your potential claim. Because they will be focused on acquiring evidence to justify the smallest possible settlement or to deny the claim entirely, you need objective legal advice from a knowledgeable professional focused on your best interests. Many accident victims undermine their own legal claim by attempting to resolve their case directly with the other driver’s insurance company. An experienced Arizona personal injury attorney can handle communication, negotiations, and litigation involving the other insurance company. Legal advice can prevent missteps when navigating legal complexities and insurance company traps.
How do I know I can afford to hire an attorney for my injury claim?
Generally, Torgenson Law handles personal injury claims based on a contingency fee basis. If you enter into this type of retainer agreement with our law firm, you only owe attorney fees if we obtain a monetary recovery through a settlement or judgment in your case. Unless otherwise indicated in your retainer agreement, we will also advance court costs and litigation expenses. These expenses and attorney fees will be deducted from the money we obtain from the other party in your case.
Will I have to participate in a civil trial to recover compensation for my injuries?
Although the experienced litigators in our law firm are prepared to effectively advocate for clients at trial, we frequently can resolve matters through various modes of alternative dispute resolution, such as negotiation, arbitration, or mediation. Because our law firm has recovered millions of dollars for our clients, we have a reputation for results that puts insurance companies on notice that we will diligently pursue the best outcome for our clients in negotiations or at trial.
How long will my personal injury case take to resolve?
The precise timeline for your personal injury case will depend on the specific circumstances and facts, but strict deadlines control the process of pursuing a financial recovery for personal injury claims. Although some people are not anxious to deal with legal issues when they are injured by an individual, government entity, or business, the process of pursuing an insurance claim and/or a civil lawsuit for damages requires adherence to applicable deadlines. Non-compliance with these timing requirements could result in the claim being barred or its value being compromised.
What should I do if the other party’s insurance company contacts me?
While the insurance company for an “at-fault” driver or another party might call you, declining to talk to the representative for the insurance company constitutes the best way to protect your legal rights and to avoid undermining your case. The insurance adjuster or investigator’s motivation for speaking with you is to obtain information that can be used to reduce the compensation you receive or to avoid any payout. Insurance companies handle a high volume of claims, and their representatives are skilled at obtaining admissions and other evidence to mitigate the liability of their insured. Even innocuous comments by an injury victim could later be twisted in ways that harm a legitimate personal injury case. When personal injury victims hire a top Arizona personal injury attorney, their legal representative can handle all communications with the insurance company and guide clients through the confusing matrix of insurance company traps and legal complexities.
What types of compensation can I seek in my personal injury case?
The precise value of an injury claim and the categories of potential damages will vary based on a wide range of factors, but the types of damages that might be available in a personal injury case in Arizona include:
- Medical and hospital bills
- Lost income (past, present, and future)
- Property damage (e.g., vehicle damage)
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium (impairment of affection and companionship of a spouse)
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
- Costs of burial/funeral (wrongful death cases)
- Punitive damages (injury claims involving particularly egregious conduct)
Why do I need an attorney if the law enforcement accident report indicates the other driver was “at fault.”
Although a favorable conclusion by a law enforcement officer regarding the issue of fault certainly is helpful, a judge or jury does not have to agree with the officer regarding the extent to which either party is responsible for causing the accident and resulting injuries. Even in cases where liability seems clear, such as when a driver is rear-ended while stopped at a red light, the insurance company often will respond by contesting the nature and severity of the victim’s injuries. The level of contentiousness over the issue of damages can be just as intensely disputed as the relative fault of the parties
How can a personal injury attorney make a difference in the outcome of my personal injury case?
The process of pursuing a liability claim for injuries caused by another individual or entity involves complex legal procedures, the rules of evidence, extensive case law and statutes, and effective application of the law to the specific facts. Our team of attorneys at Torgenson Law has over fifteen years of collective experience handling a broad spectrum of personal injury claims. Our lawyers also work with highly regarded experts in a range of disciplines, such as doctors, vehicle engineers, traffic safety experts, and many more. Because our law firm has recovered millions of dollars for our clients in settlements and judgments, insurance companies often agree to resolve our clients’ cases without the need for extensive litigation or trial.
What steps are involved in the civil lawsuit process?
The initial step in our law firm’s process of handling a personal injury claim will be a meeting with the injury victim. During this meeting, we will review what happened during the incident and collect important information from our client. Based on this information and our own investigation, we will prepare the documents necessary to file a civil lawsuit. The first filing in most lawsuits will be a complaint that outlines the legal claims against the defendant. After the defendant has filed a response to the complaint, our attorneys and the defendant will conduct “discovery.” This phase of the litigation process involves using discovery tools, like interrogatories (written questions), requests for admissions, depositions, document requests, and others to learn about the other side’s evidence and contentions while narrowing the issues in the case.
The next stage in the litigation will involve various hearings to review the status of the case and discuss settlement. The parties also file and argue motions during this stage of the lawsuit. Settlement negotiations occur throughout the entire process, and most cases will settle without the need for a trial.
If the case proceeds to trial, the jury or judge will review all the evidence. Both sides will have an opportunity to dispute the other party’s contentions and evidence. A determination will be made regarding whether to hold the defendant financially responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries. This overview is significantly simplified and condensed, so you should speak to an experienced lawyer if you have specific questions.
Contact Our Phoenix Pedestrian Accident Attorneys for Your Free Case Review
If you or a member of your family has been harmed in a pedestrian accident in Phoenix or anywhere in the state of Arizona, you or your loved one could be entitled to receive monetary damages. Our sidewalk accident lawyers are ready to assist you in your time of need.
If our firm is able to represent you or your loved one, our attorneys will fight on your behalf to hold the at-fault party accountable for their negligence. We will ensure that your best interests are well-represented. Please call 602-759-0012 today to receive your free pedestrian accident consultation from Torgenson Law.