Dozens of pedestrians are killed in the state of Arizona every year. In the year 2013, 2014 Arizona Crash Facts Summary reports that there were 160 pedestrian fatalities and 1,364 pedestrian injuries. In 2014, there were 157 pedestrian fatalities and 1,466 pedestrian injuries reported. While these statistics suggest that pedestrian accidents are on the decline, pedestrian accidents continue to happen within Phoenix. When you have been hit by a car, here is what you need to know about your rights and options:
Does Insurance Cover Pedestrian Injuries?
If you are hit by a motor vehicle while you are acting as a pedestrian, that driver’s bodily injury liability insurance should pay for your injuries. In addition to the other driver’s insurance, you may be able to collect from your own car insurance company even though you were not driving. If you have health insurance, you should turn to your health insurance provider for medical bills coverage.
What If the Settlement Amount Offered By the Insurance Company is Not Enough?
The Arizona Department of Transportation requires all driver in the state to carry $15,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person. While $15,000 may sound like a lot of money, the truth is, it is not; medical bills can quickly surpass that cap. When an insurance company offers you a check that does not cover the full amount of damages that you have suffered, you have the right and should seek the advice of a Phoenix car accident lawyer to refuse the settlement and negotiate for a higher amount. If necessary, settlements can even go to litigation. You also have the right to file a lawsuit for damages directly against the at-fault driver.
Do Pedestrians Always Have the Right of Way?
A common misconception is that pedestrians always have the right of way. However, this is not the truth. Arizona code section 78-791 reads that, “pedestrians are subject to traffic control signals at intersections,” meaning that if the light is red, pedestrians are not allowed to cross until the traffic control light indicates that they may do so. And while pedestrian do usually have the right of way when crossing in a crosswalk, section 28-793 of the code reads that a pedestrian who is not crossing in a crosswalk “shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles on the roadway.”
It is important to note that if you were in violation of a statute at the time of your pedestrian accident, or if your pedestrian accident would not have occurred but in part for your own negligence, then you may be barred from recovering compensation, or your compensation amount may be reduced. For example, if you were crossing outside of a crosswalk and were hit by a driver who was speeding, then you both may be at fault for the accident. On the other hand, if you stepped off the curb into the pathway of an oncoming driver, giving him or her no time to react, then you may be considered at fault for the accident. An attorney can help you to prove that you were not to blame for your accident, and therefore deserve your full compensation amount.