The situation for pedestrians in Tucson and across the country has deteriorated in the past decade or so. A spike in fatal accidents has negated years of progress Tucson made towards safer streets. There is no sign of this trend abating.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries while walking, you need an experienced Tucson pedestrian accident attorney from Zanes Law Injury Lawyers on your side right away.
Drivers have a duty of care toward pedestrians and are responsible for avoiding pedestrian accidents by following the rules of the road. When a driver breaches their duty of care—such as by speeding or running red lights—and causes an accident, they can be held liable for the injuries you suffer as a result.
Pedestrian accidents in the Tucson area arise out of many different causes:
- Distracted driving
- Poor weather
- Fatigued driving
- Mechanical problems
- Failure to follow local road laws or signs
- Aggressive driving/road rage
Arizona has one of the highest rates of pedestrian accidents in the country. Filing a claim against the responsible party after your pedestrian accident injury can not only allow you to pursue compensation for your injuries, but may also prevent them from repeating the same negligent actions in the future.
For a free legal consultation with a pedestrian accidents lawyer serving Tucson, call 866-499-8989
Table of Contents
- Pedestrian responsibility
- Comparative negligence
- How we can help you
- Determine damages
- Case management
- Discuss your case today
- Tucson Pedestrian Accident FAQ
Tucson Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Near Me 866-499-8989
The Number of Tucson Pedestrian Accidents Is Steadily Increasing
Pedestrian accident statistics are downright alarming. Pedestrian fatalities underwent a long period of decline from 1975 to 2009, falling from roughly 7,500 down to 4,100. Since then, much of the progress has reversed. By 2018, the number of pedestrian fatalities had risen to 6,375 nationally.
The number of fatalities in Arizona mirrors the national trend. In 2019, 220 pedestrians lost their lives in the state, and another 1,697 were injured. The fatality rate in crashes was roughly 12 percent. Arizona has a disproportionately high number of pedestrian accidents, in part because the warm weather in the state means that pedestrians are outside year-round. In addition, Tucson is a very car-friendly city that has only recently begun to think about pedestrian safety.
Why Pedestrian Accidents Are Increasing
Many factors drive the increase in pedestrian accidents and fatalities:
- More drivers are distracted behind the wheel because they are doing things like texting and checking social media.
- Smaller sedans have given way to heavier SUVs and light trucks, and the larger size of the vehicles causes more significant injuries.
- More people are walking these days because they have moved to the city core and reduced their vehicle usage.
- The warmer weather that is the trend has people out on foot, taking advantage of unseasonably high temperatures.
- The roadways are more crowded these days, and drivers have gotten worse.
None of these factors show much improvement, so you can expect pedestrian fatalities in the Tucson area to remain elevated.
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Negligent motorists cause most pedestrian accidents, but sometimes a pedestrian might also be at fault. Pedestrians who break state laws meant to protect them could be found negligent.
For example, Arizona Revised Statutes § 28-796 requires pedestrians to use crosswalks when available and to walk on the far left side of the road facing oncoming traffic if the road does not have sidewalks. Arizona law also requires pedestrians to use crosswalks or cross at intersections. A pedestrian crossing outside of a crosswalk or intersection must yield to traffic.
Motorists must drive safely and avoid pedestrians whenever possible. In a collision between a motorist and a pedestrian, the motorist will usually carry some of the blame. Following the law as a pedestrian could help ensure your safety and make your case stronger should an accident occur.
Drivers Must Yield the Right of Way in Crosswalks and Certain Intersections
Arizona law states that drivers must yield the right of way to a pedestrian in the half of the roadway that they are approaching or when they are very close to that half. There are serious penalties for Tucson drivers who fail to yield the right of way to a pedestrian. At the same time, pedestrians must yield the right of way to vehicles when they are crossing outside a crosswalk or on an unmarked crosswalk.
Pedestrians do not always have the right-of-way to cross where and when they want, and one of the first things that a defendant or insurance company will try to do is blame the defendant. Nonetheless, if the driver has injured a pedestrian when they have failed to yield, they could be made to pay damages.
Pedestrian Accident Injuries Are Far Worse on Average Than Other Accidents
Pedestrian accidents have a much higher statistical chance for a serious injury than a car accident because pedestrians have absolutely nothing to protect them from the force of the vehicle striking them. While car accidents are serious, nearly 40,000 people die each year when there are roughly six million car accidents across the country. By comparison, in 2019, 220 people were killed in the 1,842 pedestrian accidents throughout Arizona, a rate of 11 percent.
The faster that the car is traveling, the less chance the pedestrian has of survival.
At lower speeds, the pedestrian will most likely suffer injuries but will survive:
- At 23 miles per hour, there is a 25 percent risk of death or serious injury.
- At 31 miles per hour, the risk of death or serious injury rises to 50 percent.
- When the car travels over 45 mph, there is a 90 percent chance that the pedestrian will be killed or suffer serious injury.
While speed is a major factor in how badly the pedestrian will be injured, other factors are also at work. The size of the car that strikes the pedestrian is also important. Obviously, the larger the vehicle, the more likely it is that the pedestrian will be injured. Since more vehicles on the road are larger these days, pedestrian injuries will be more severe. In addition, injuries will be greater when the driver has not attempted to brake.
Accident Victims Will Be Left With Serious Injuries
Even when the pedestrian does survive a crash, the chances are that they will sustain serious injuries. There is a very slim chance of walking away from being hit by a car unscathed. Usually, the pedestrian will suffer a traumatic impact, whether it is with the hood of the car, the windshield, or the pavement.
Pedestrian accident injuries could include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones and fractures
- Internal injuries
- Damage to internal organs
- Crush injuries
Under Arizona law, an injured person could collect damages even if they were negligent. Each party is responsible for the consequences of their actions.
During negotiations, the defendant’s lawyers or insurer might try to shift responsibility onto you, which would decrease their liability. We could aggressively push back against such tactics, ensuring that you carry no more than your fair share of the blame for an accident.
If a pedestrian accident case goes to trial, a judge will allocate responsibility for the accident among the parties. If the judge decides that you bear some fault in the incident, the judge will reduce your damages by an amount that reflects your apportioned responsibility.
How to Prove Legal Responsibility for a Tucson Pedestrian Accident
The way to put yourself in a position to receive financial compensation for these injuries is to prove that the other driver was negligent. If the police come to the scene of the accident and ticket the other driver for failing to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian, that would go a long way towards determining negligence. Breaking the law is often proof in itself that the driver was negligent.
Outside that, you must make the following showings:
- The other party owed you the duty of care (drivers always owe a duty of care to pedestrians, so this element is rarely in doubt).
- The driver breached that duty by acting unreasonably under the circumstances.
- You suffered an injury.
- The driver’s actions were the proximate cause of your injury.
Examples of the Driver’s Negligence
In a pedestrian accident, some examples of drivers’ actions that would be considered unreasonable under the circumstances are:
- Failing to see a pedestrian because they were not paying attention.
- Driving through a crosswalk when the pedestrian is trying to cross.
- Driving drunk and not seeing the pedestrian.
- Not seeing the pedestrian at night because the driver cannot see.
Pedestrian accident injuries are usually serious. If you have been the one who has suffered an injury, you are in no condition to deal with your legal situation on your own. If your loved one has been injured or killed, you are similarly dealing with other things, and you cannot handle the details of your own case.
You do not have to navigate life after a pedestrian accident alone. There are many ways in which a pedestrian accident lawyer in Tucson can help.
Build Your Case
It is important that we build your case in a way that showcases just how significantly the pedestrian accident has impacted your life. We will collect important documents that determine who is responsible for your injuries, including:
- Police reports
- Witness statements
- Images or videos from the accident
- Driver logs
- Recreating the scene of the accident
These documents can help us establish liability in your case, which may include the driver of the vehicle that caused the accident and/or a third party such as the driver’s employer or the manufacturer of faulty equipment.
What Your Lawyer Can Do to Help Your Claim
You must take care of many things after an accident, including:
- Speaking with people who witnessed the accident.
- Fielding calls from the insurance company.
- Compiling documents that back your possible claim.
- Collecting other evidence that could prove what happened.
These are not things that an accident victim or their family could do on their own. Beyond that, you do not have the technical knowledge about the legal process to carry the case forward. You would not know of their legal options on their own or what their case is worth. The insurance company is notoriously difficult to deal with, and they do not make it any easier because you are injured.
There are two steps to your claim for compensation if you choose to go down the insurance company route. The first is showing liability. The second is proving your damages.
Pedestrian accidents are often severe, leaving you with life-changing injuries. By calculating these damages ahead of time, we can better evaluate any insurance settlement offers you might receive. This amount can also help us better determine the best legal steps to take going forward.
We will include the following costs when calculating your overall damages:
- Medical costs (current and future)
- Lost wages and work benefits
- Diminished earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Rehabilitative devices
- Transportation needs
- Property damage
- Wrongful death
A pedestrian accident injury can change your life overnight. One minute you are walking along, enjoying the Arizona sunshine, and the next, you are laying in a hospital bed.
You do not have to manage the complexities of the legal system on your own. The pedestrian accident legal team at Zanes Law will help you navigate your case during this difficult time. We cater our legal services to meet your individual needs, allowing you to focus on your recovery.
Negotiating a Settlement for Pedestrian Accident Injuries
You may not find it too difficult to obtain a settlement offer in a pedestrian accident. After all, unless the insurance company has evidence that you were at fault, cars do not usually hit pedestrians. However, a settlement offer is not the end of your case. Often, it is just the beginning.
Receiving an offer is only part of the story. The important thing is to get the right amount of compensation because you may be feeling the impacts of your injuries for the rest of your life. You may never be the same again, with continuous medical care and missed work. The insurance company knows this, but they do not want to pay you what you deserve.
There are two keys to negotiating a pedestrian accident settlement with the insurance company:
- Knowing how much the claim is worth
- Being unafraid to stand up to the insurance company and say no if they are trying to underpay you
You Can Reject a Settlement Offer
You can say no by rejecting the insurance company’s offer and filing your own demand letter with what you believe you deserve. Be prepared for protracted negotiations, especially when the value of your claim is high.
You also can file a lawsuit if your claim is either denied or if the insurance company will not make a settlement offer that fairly compensates you for your injuries. In the end, the jury has the ultimate decision-making power about your legal rights. The insurance company is not the jury.
These are reasons why you need the experience and toughness that we bring to the table for you at Zanes Law. We know when to continue negotiating with the insurance company and how to put pressure on them to be more reasonable.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim for a Pedestrian Accident
If your loved one has died in a pedestrian accident, you can file a wrongful death claim against the driver and may receive the following compensation:
- Burial expenses
- Funeral expenses
- Costs of medical care provided to the loved one before death
- Lost income of the loved one and future financial support
- Lost household services
- Lost love, affection, companionship, moral support
You may also file a lawsuit where you can recover for your loved one’s suffering before they die. These damages could add up if your loved one did not die immediately after the accident.
The insurance company or the defendant may try to blame the accident on the pedestrian, which is a common way that they try to escape liability. They may argue that the pedestrian did not have the right-of-way when they tried to cross the street.
You Could Recover Something Even If You Shared in the Blame
However, Arizona laws for pedestrians do not restrict them from crossing only at marked crosswalks. They may still cross when there is no crosswalk, yielding the right-of-way to a vehicle. However, drivers could still bear some fault when they strike a pedestrian outside the crosswalk.
For example, the driver could have been speeding, drunk, or distracted at the time of the accident. Just because the pedestrian was crossing outside a crosswalk would not mean that they are completely to blame.
In Arizona, however, you may receive financial compensation so long as the driver was at least partially to blame for the accident. It doesn’t even matter if you were more than 50 percent responsible. You could still recover in proportion to your own fault. Never assume that financial compensation is out of the realm of possibility. Always check with a lawyer to see if you have a possible case.
If you were the victim of a pedestrian accident in Tucson, you may be eligible to recover compensation for your injuries, damages, and losses.
Statute of Limitations
Pursuing legal action may be the last thing on your mind after suffering a pedestrian accident. However, Arizona law requires you to file a claim no later than two years after the date of your pedestrian accident.
This sounds like plenty of time, but many preparations must be made to create a strong case that supports the compensation you deserve. Getting the process started as soon as possible can make it easier to collect evidence like witness accounts, videos of the crash scene, and medical records within the established time limit.
Notice of Claim for Government Defendants
If a state, city, or county are potential defendants in your case, you must act urgently. A government might be a defendant in your case if the driver who hit you was a public employee, if malfunctioning traffic devices contributed to your accident, or if poor road maintenance or traffic markings were a factor.
You must file a notice of claim within 180 days of your injury, or you lose the right to sue a government defendant. If you file the claim timely, you then have one year from the date of filing to bring your lawsuit.
How Bad Are the Risks to Pedestrians in Tucson?
Tucson has a relatively high pedestrian fatality rate. The city is not different from the national trend, and in some ways, it is worse. Pedestrian fatalities have increased by 180 percent from 2014 to 2019.
In 2019, motorists killed 39 pedestrians in Tucson. This is part of a larger problem in both the city and Arizona. The state ranks second in the country for per-capita pedestrian deaths. It is part of a pattern in the warmer weather Sun Belt states that have exploding populations and distinct car cultures.
In one national study, this local jump in pedestrian fatalities comes years after Tucson was named the 25th most dangerous city for pedestrians.
Note that many studies focus solely on pedestrian fatalities. For every pedestrian whom a vehicle strikes and kills, many others suffer severe injuries that can change the course of the rest of their lives.
Can’t the Local Government Do Something to Protect Pedestrians?
While the local government has tried safety initiatives to protect pedestrians, in some cases, it seems like they are just giving up. While installing pedestrian beacons at some crosswalks at dangerous intersections, they have removed some crosswalks altogether. In some ways, there is an acknowledgment that these streets are too dangerous to cross, and crosswalks give pedestrians a false sense of security.
One particular dangerous intersection is at Pima and Rock. There were numerous serious incidents there in 2019, including a hit-and-run that killed a pedestrian that was never solved. Another dangerous area is on West Silverlake, near the Pima County Jail. There are numerous memorials in the area for pedestrians who lost their lives in tragic accidents. Until local authorities denote more crosswalks and equip them with HAWK beacons, where pedestrians can activate a red light when crossing, these accidents will continue to happen.
Local experts do not have a concrete reason why the problem has gotten so bad in Tucson. Some residents must walk because they cannot afford a car, and they bear a large part of the risk of accidents. Local governments seem to roll out one pedestrian safety initiative after another, and they do nothing to reduce the number of fatal accidents.
City planners seemed to design Arizona streets with traffic in mind only. Designs do not seem to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists. Instead, roadways are aimed primarily at moving cars efficiently.
Tucson in particular, and Arizona as a whole, has many arterial roads to keep traffic moving. These are where nearly all fatal pedestrian accidents happen. Depending on the neighborhood, these roads are not always well lit. In addition, the government has not always invested in pedestrian safety.
Once planners design these arterial roads, it is very difficult to retrofit them for pedestrian safety. It requires a large investment, and even then, it can significantly slow vehicle traffic in the area. Therefore, one wonders whether all of these government safety initiatives really can be effective in Tucson.
Finally, the 65 and older population is increasing. Tucson has two very large segments of its population:
- Older people who retire to Tucson for the warmer weather
- Students at the University of Arizona
Each of these demographics has reasons that may make them more vulnerable to pedestrian accidents.
What if a Company Car or Truck Hit Me or a Loved One?
If the driver responsible for the pedestrian accident was working at the time, they will not be the only ones liable for the injuries. There is a legal principle called respondeat superior, which holds that a company is responsible for the acts of an employee committed within the scope of employment. An employee is an agent of the company that employs them, meaning their acts are considered those of the company.
There are more delivery vans than ever on the road. For example, if an Amazon delivery driver is employed by the company, you can sue Amazon when you have been hit by their truck when the driver was making a delivery. The exception is when the driver was using a company car for personal errands.
However, this is not the case when a rideshare driver strikes a pedestrian. They are an independent contractor and not an employee of Uber or Lyft. Therefore, pedestrian accident victims cannot sue the rideshare companies directly for their injuries. They can file a claim against the corporate liability policy in place for drivers. This is true when any driver is an independent contractor. However, you can try to have the court look at the nature of an independent contractor’s relationship with a company to see if they really are an employee.
What if I am Fine After the Accident?
Few people are completely fine after a car hits them. After all, a large majority of people suffer some type of injury in these accidents. If you think that you are one of the fortunate ones to escape injury after being struck by a car that can weigh an average of 3,000 pounds, you should still get medical attention to make sure that is the case.
Some injuries are not immediately apparent after a pedestrian accident, even when you are fortunate enough to walk away from the incident. For example, traumatic brain injuries do not always show symptoms at the time of the accident. It can take days or weeks to realize that you have been affected. In the meantime, the symptoms can grow worse.
The same goes for back and neck injuries. These can benefit from immediate diagnosis and treatment. All of this means that you should still see a doctor to get fully checked out to make sure that you really are okay. All it takes is some hours of your time to go to the doctor. The alternative can be an undiagnosed injury, causing progressively worse problems.
If you are asking if you need to see a doctor after a pedestrian accident, the answer is always yes.
How Long Will My Pedestrian Accident Case Take?
The answer to this should be that a pedestrian accident case will take as long as necessary to get the compensation that you legally deserve. Getting your money too soon can mean that you receive less than you could ultimately convince the insurer to pay for your injuries had you held out for more money. At the same time, you need your money sooner rather than later because the costs of your injuries are continuing to mount.
The average time for a pedestrian accident case is about 12 months, but of course, your case will take even longer if it goes to court. The general time frame is between a few months and a few years, although we understand that many people will think that we are as noncommittal as possible.
With high-dollar value pedestrian claims, much is up to the insurance company and how reasonable they are in settlement negotiations. You should always expect that you will need to have several rounds of offers and counteroffers before you can reach a settlement agreement. The timetable will be even longer if your case goes in front of a jury.
What Will Happen When I Talk to an Attorney for the First Time?
The initial consultation is a time for the client to get to know the attorney and for the lawyer to learn more about the client’s case. You likely have quite a few questions to ask about your legal situation, and you should have them all written down for your initial consultation. You will also want to know about your legal options and whether you have a good case.
First, your attorney will also have many questions for you. They cannot give you legal advice unless they know as much as possible about what happened. They will ask you some basic facts about the accident, understanding that it may be hard to answer about what happened if you were seriously injured. After discussing the accident with you, they may have some recommendations or options of how you can proceed.
If you can, you should bring to your first meeting with your lawyer:
- The police report
- Witness contact information
- Medical records that show your injuries
- Proof of what you lost by not working due to your injury
- Any evidence that someone gathered from the accident scene
If you don’t have any of this information, a lawyer can try to collect it for you.
In addition, you will also look to see whether you are compatible with this attorney. After all, this is a person who is handling what may be the most important legal matter of your life. Experience counts, and you want to know that your case is in good hands. Experience is exactly what we have at Zanes Law injury Lawyers, as we have helped thousands of injured Arizonans fight for compensation after they have been injured by someone else’s negligence.
Why Can’t I Handle My Own Pedestrian Accident Case?
Lawyers will receive a part of your pedestrian accident financial recovery. Some people think that they might be better off taking matters into their own hands to save some money.
This is the worst decision that you can make if you have suffered a pedestrian accident.
The insurance company wants you to represent yourself because it means that they will save a ton of money. Without exception, those who are represented by experienced lawyers will have a better outcome than those who try to handle their own legal matters.
Liability and compensation are both at issue in every pedestrian accident case. If you are representing yourself, the insurance company may try to pin all or part of the accident on you, reducing your compensation in the process. Even if they concede liability, the amount of compensation is often the hardest part of the battle. You will have no way of knowing that a six-figure offer is extremely low and inadequate because your case is worth seven figures.
You will also not know the pressure points that can force the insurance company to raise its settlement offer. Finally, you will not have the legal know-how to take the defendant to court when you cannot get a reasonable settlement offer during negotiations or your claim gets denied.
Can I Still Recover Financially From a Hit-and-Run Pedestrian Accident?
Yes. Even though you cannot locate the driver of the car that struck you or a loved one, there is still a way to receive some compensation. Your own insurance policy will cover accidents caused by uninsured motorists up to your policy limits. This will pay you even when you cannot locate who struck you. Nonetheless, you are still dealing with an insurance company that does not want to write a check, so you need a lawyer to help you fight for the compensation that you deserve.
What if the Insurance Company Blames Me for the Accident?
Insurance companies are always looking for a way to get out of paying damages. They may try any tactic that they can to deny the claim. One of their favorite things to do is to blame the accident victim for their injury. This is why you need a lawyer to investigate the accident, gather evidence, and counter the insurance company’s claims. Just because the insurance company says that you are at fault does not make it true.
We will fight for you to make sure that the insurance company hears and understands your side of the story, and we will gather the proof to support liability for your crash. We know that insurance companies use tactics to try to convince claimants that they deserve less money—or even no money at all. Too often, people do not know how to fight back against blame from an insurer, so they end up with far less than they need to cover their losses.
Blaming the victim is only one of many tricks that insurers can use to limit pedestrian accident payments. You want a Tucson pedestrian accident lawyer on your side to protect your rights.
You Can Afford a Tucson Pedestrian Accident Attorney
When it comes to hiring an attorney, you do not need to worry about finances. You already have enough on your plate, and stressing about how you will afford a lawyer is not something that you even need to consider. Unlike other lawyers, a personal injury attorney does not ask for a retainer as a condition for representing you. They also will not send you hourly bills for the duration of your case.
Not only is the initial consultation free, but our services will not cost you any money unless we help you win. Legal help is not out of your budget. In fact, budgetary considerations will not come into play at all. The thing that you really cannot afford is to be without legal representation after a serious accident because that is what will really cost you money.
4580 E Grant Rd #101
Tucson, AZ 85712