Pedestrian accidents are among the top 20 causes of death for unsuspecting Arizona residents. In larger cities like Glendale, Phoenix and Tucson when traffic congestion is higher and there is a greater number of individuals walking in the area, car crashes occur more frequently and seriously injure or kill pedestrians. Hiring a pedestrian accident lawyer in Phoenix can help you receive the compensation you deserve if you are one of these accident victims.
Why You Should Hire a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Many people shy away from hiring lawyers after an accident, either believing their injuries aren’t severe enough to warrant legal help or thinking they can’t afford legal services. Attorneys are able to look at your situation and determine how the law applies. They understand your concerns and work to represent your interests in obtaining compensation and justice for your injuries and damages.
You Can Avoid Under-Settling
Insurance companies are notorious for wanting to make a quick settlement. Rather than really evaluating the cost of the accident, from your injuries to emotional damages or long-term disability, they throw a lowball offer to avoid any further hassle.
You Can Remain the Victim
Without a lawyer to represent your side of the story, an insurance company may try to deny paying an injury claim. They may deny that their client, the motorist, was at fault. Injury, negligence and at-fault claims can be tough to navigate without help from legal advice. A pedestrian accident lawyer can help you remain the victim and hold the real party accountable.
You Can Focus on Recovery
When you are dealing with injuries, you don’t need to add the stress and burden of fighting with the at-fault party to your plate. You need to focus on healing and recovery. A lawyer takes on the responsibility of protecting your legal rights and giving your case the attention it deserves.
How You Should Hire an Accident Lawyer
Unfortunately, there are many legal teams looking to make a quick dollar on personal injury cases. In fact, legal service advertising originated in Arizona decades ago. Working with a TV-famous office doesn’t usually provide the results you hope for. You can narrow down your search for the right pedestrian accident lawyer with a few simple tips.
Start With Experience
Even though you are dealing with a personal injury, you want a lawyer with specific experience in pedestrian accidents. Personal injuries can involve a number of incidents and applicable laws, but attorneys with pedestrian accident experience know the laws that directly relate to your situation. Find out how many pedestrian cases a lawyer has successfully litigated.
Check the Success Rate
You want a lawyer with experience winning in the courtroom, particularly in areas of pedestrian accidents. Ask about how many cases were litigated and the ratio of wins and losses. You want to find out about the award amounts and if any of the details were similar to what you are facing. Knowing the success rate gives you an idea of what to expect for your case.
Ask for References
Even if there is a glowing success rate backing a pedestrian accident lawyer, you need to know what kind of reputation the individual has. In addition to looking at reviews online from former or current clients, ask the attorney for references from other industry professionals and clients. If you don’t get a response or see poor reviews, you may want to look elsewhere.
Talk to Multiple Lawyers
Reputable attorneys often provide free consultations, as they want some insight into the legitimacy of a case before agreeing to litigate it. Take advantage of these consultations and meet with three or four lawyers. Ask the same questions to each about their experience and expectations. Use the meeting to get a sense of who you think would do the best job of representing your interests.
Evaluate the Personality
While you want someone who will aggressively fight for your interest in the courtroom, you need to have a certain level of comfort and chemistry with the attorney. After all, you will spend a lot of time with this individual and share personal information about your health, finances and other situations with them.
An attorney that you get along with should have the following traits:
- Patiently listens to your questions or concerns
- Presents clear and direct answers
- Demonstrate compassion and empathy for your situation
- Relates to the situation you are in
- Commands respect and control in matters of law
Fighting a pedestrian accident case can take a while. You want to be sure that you have the right advocate on your side.
Review the Payment Terms
You should always avoid paying a pedestrian accident lawyer according to an hourly rate. A reputable personal injury attorney in Phoenix typically handles personal injury cases on a contingency basis. This means they get paid from the award you receive, rather than you paying them directly. This structure means the lawyer has a vested interest in your success.
You can expect a contingency rate to start around 33%, but it could go higher if you have a complex case or end up in trial. You are generally responsible for the court filing fees, which may need payment upfront. The lawyer should clearly explain the fee structure and provide a written agreement for the fees.
How You Can Help a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
While the attorney handles the legal matters of an injury, you bear some responsibility for the success of your case. What you do in the aftermath of an accident, as well as how you address the legal issues you face, has an impact on how effectively an attorney can litigate your claim.
Know Your Rights According to the Law
Although you aren’t expected to be an expert, you should have a basic understanding of your rights as a pedestrian in the state of Arizona. By obeying these laws, you have a stronger case if you are struck by a motor vehicle when walking. State law provides several scenarios to protect the pedestrian right of way.
All vehicles must yield to pedestrians walking on a crosswalk. It doesn’t matter if you are waiting at a crosswalk that has a signal or not, cars are required to stop and yield. Stopped vehicles, whether in a single-lane or multi-lane crosswalk area, are a signal to other drivers to stop for pedestrian traffic. Cars are not allowed to pass in these situations. These types of violations that led to your injury can be used by a Phoenix car accident lawyer to support your case.
Unfortunately, if there are no crosswalk signs at a street crossing, pedestrians must yield to all traffic. Darting out into traffic in a non-crosswalk area can make holding a driver at fault more difficult. However, factors like the driver’s speed or potential intoxication could make it a challenge for a pedestrian to achieve a safe crossing.
Side of the Road
Under Arizona law 28-796, a pedestrian must walk along the side of the road against traffic. This means the cars should be coming towards you as you go down the street, as this lets both you and the vehicle operator see each other. Drivers must exercise caution when passing by a pedestrian, and if the vehicle veers toward the pedestrian, the law provides protection to the pedestrian in a personal injury case.
Pedestrian accident lawyers are familiar with the specific driving laws that protect pedestrians, and school zones are another area where pedestrians need to pay attention. Maricopa and Pima Counties account for 81.32% of all Arizona pedestrian fatalities, and with 58 school districts in Maricopa County alone, there is a lot of reason for concern.
School zones have slower speed limits and designated crosswalk areas with yellow paint to help protect pedestrians. Cars aren’t able to pass a school bus stopped with flashing lights on, regardless of the direction or lane of the school bus. The law protects the children and adults needing to access the school during school hours.
Seek Professional Medical Attention
What you do in the immediate aftermath of an accident is important to your case. Your first priority is taking care of your health and treating any injuries you received. You should promptly report your accident and injuries to a medical provider or your personal doctor. Even if you think the accident was minor, there are many injuries that have delayed onset.
An early medical record of your injuries supports future claims of the impact the accident had on you. You can preserve the evidence of any injuries by having them photographed or video recorded right away. As your wounds heal, they won’t look as serious. This could impact how a jury or insurance representative views what happened to you.
Have a special folder or filing location for all of your medical care, whether it’s an intake form, treatment plan, prescription or other information. Your pedestrian accident lawyer needs evidence to build a strong case on your behalf, and your ability to present documentation is important.
Gather Supporting Evidence
It’s not only the attorney’s job to collect all the evidence needed for your case. You have the easiest access to medical records, witness information, the police report and other documentation. Determining who is at fault is a key part of successfully litigating injury claims, and the evidence should support the position that you are the victim.
Physical evidence often helps establish who is at fault, whether it’s damage to the car, your personal injuries, bloodied clothing or something else. The more you can preserve the physical evidence in the way it was at the accident, the stronger your case will be.
Photographs and videos are compelling ways to show proof of what happened. While on the scene of the accident and if physically able, take pictures or record the scene. Here are a few pointers for getting useful photographic evidence:
- A smartphone can capture both videos and photographs of a site, and you should do both.
- Take photos from different angles and include both close-up and distance shots.
- Take the photos as soon as possible, though you can return to the scene later for additional pictures.
- Make sure there is a time stamp on the images to defend when the accident occurred.
- Be sure to photograph the weather conditions, roadway, nearby buildings and any other identifying details of the accident.
You don’t have to be a professional photographer to get good evidence for your case. The key is getting photos that preserve strong physical evidence for your pedestrian accident lawyer.
Locate Any Witnesses
According to state law, private citizens have no obligation to report an accident. However, law enforcement officers must file an official accident report if the accident resulted in property damage over $1,000, bodily injury or death. An officer should take witness statements for the official report, but you can seek out their assistance on your own.
After the accident, speak to anyone nearby who saw what happened. Take their contact information and their statement. It’s important to write everything down as soon as possible because memories will fade over time. If you can record what they witnessed, it preserves their version. Obtain a police report to give to your attorney as well.
Be Available and Patient With the Lawyer
You will not be the only case your lawyer handles, and it’s likely that resolution could take weeks, months or longer. It’s important that you do your part to be available to answer questions or sign forms whenever the attorney needs you. Harassing a lawyer or complaining about the process won’t help resolve your case any faster.
What To Expect from a Your Lawyer
If you have done your part to preserve evidence and be available and present when requested, you should expect your lawyer to give your case the attention it deserves. Your case shouldn’t be left to legal aides. A close working relationship with your lawyer and clear expectations can help prevent your case from getting lost or ignored.
Experienced, Committed Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
With the reputation and experience behind the Sargon Law Group, our team is the answer when you need a pedestrian accident lawyer. Trust us to work tirelessly on your behalf for compensation and damages in your injury case. Contact us to find out more.