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Phoenix Pedestrian Accident Attorney

With its dry desert climate and many days of clear weather, it can be tempting to believe that Arizona is a pedestrian-friendly state when it comes to road safety. 

Unfortunately, however, national and Arizona traffic statistics do not support such wishful thinking. In fact, the available evidence suggests the opposite is true: Arizona is one of the most dangerous states for pedestrians in all of America.

If you have been involved as a pedestrian in an Arizona motor vehicle accident, our Phoenix personal injury attorneys can help you to know your rights as a plaintiff and to recover money damages for your injuries, property damage, and mental trauma.

Call us at (480) 498-8998 to schedule a free consultation appointment with an experienced Phoenix pedestrian accident lawyer.

How Unsafe Is Arizona for Pedestrians?

Arizona ranks second in the United States when it comes to the rate of fatal motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians. In 2022, on a per-capita population basis, Arizona had the second-highest rate of pedestrian fatalities at 4.17 per 100,000 residents. 

Only New Mexico had a higher rate, at 4.4 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 residents.

US Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 population in 2022

In the same year, 302 Arizona pedestrians died in 1,888 accidents, up from 260 pedestrian deaths in 2021. The year 2022 was also the fourth year in a row in which pedestrian accident fatalities increased:

Pedestrian crash history

Source: Arizona Department of Transportation, “2022 Arizona Crash Facts Summary

Being a pedestrian in Arizona is a hazardous activity at any time of day, in any weather. The overwhelming number of pedestrian accidents in the state happen during clear weather:

Source: Arizona Department of Transportation, “2022 Arizona Crash Facts Summary

Most of the time, pedestrian accidents take place during daylight, or if at night, in lighted areas:

Source: Arizona Department of Transportation, “2022 Arizona Crash Facts Summary

And in about two-thirds of Arizona motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians, intoxication was not a contributing factor:

Pedestrian physical condition in motor vehicle crashes

Source: Arizona Department of Transportation, “2022 Arizona Crash Facts Summary

Taken together, the meaning of these statistics is clear: being a pedestrian in the state of Arizona can be risky no matter the time of day, the weather, the lighting conditions, or whether the vehicle driver is intoxicated or sober.

Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in Arizona

Many of the reasons why drivers hit pedestrians are the same reasons they collide with one another: distracted driving, driving too fast for the prevailing weather, road and lighting conditions, ignoring traffic signals and signs, failing to yield right of way, vehicle malfunctions, and intoxication.

Drivers are not always exclusively at fault for pedestrian accidents. Sometimes pedestrians can contribute to their own misfortune, such as by walking outside of marked sidewalks or crosswalks, ignoring traffic signals, walking alongside roadways when it is dangerous to do so, crossing roads and highways illegally (“jaywalking”), and by being intoxicated.

What Are Arizona Pedestrian Laws?

“The pedestrian always has the right of way” is not how traffic laws work in Arizona. State and local laws balance the legal duties that drivers and pedestrians have to one another and to the public. What this means is that depending on the circumstances, as a pedestrian you can have more legal right of way in some situations than you do in others.

Here are some specific circumstances that pedestrians find themselves in in Arizona, and how the law applies to them and to drivers.

Who Is a Pedestrian?

Under Arizona law, a pedestrian is a person walking on foot or who is in a wheelchair (powered or otherwise). 


In some cases, bicyclists can be pedestrians, including:

  • If the bicyclist is riding on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk, then unless a local ordinance prohibits it, the bicyclist is a pedestrian.
  • Unless prohibited by local law from being on a sidewalk or crosswalk, bicyclists can ride in either direction (with traffic or facing traffic) when they are using a sidewalk or crosswalk.

In other situations when a bicyclist is riding on a road, the cyclist is subject to motor vehicle laws.

Who is a pedestrian?

Intersections and Crosswalks

Most of the time, if you can cross a street at an intersection, whether it has crosswalks or not, you should do so instead of crossing the road elsewhere. Most drivers will expect you to cross at intersections, and if a crosswalk exists at an intersection, then you must use it to cross instead of “jaywalking” (see below).

If a crosswalk exists, then it puts legal obligations on drivers and pedestrians alike. 

Crosswalk obligations for drivers and pedestrians

Crosswalk Obligations for Drivers

Drivers must yield right-of-way to pedestrians in crosswalks. When a pedestrian is crossing a road by a crosswalk, drivers must either slow down or bring their vehicles to a complete stop before reaching the crosswalk to allow the pedestrian to cross.

If a pedestrian is waiting at a crosswalk that does not have a crosswalk signal, then under Arizona law drivers need to stop and yield right of way to the pedestrian. 

While a vehicle is stopped before a crosswalk to allow a pedestrian to cross, other vehicles approaching the crosswalk must stop before it as well. It is illegal under state law for a following vehicle to pass another vehicle that has stopped to let a pedestrian cross at a crosswalk.

Crosswalk Obligations for Pedestrians

Pedestrians must follow Arizona “rules of the road” themselves when they are using crosswalks. Here are some these legal requirements:

  • Pedestrians must obey crosswalk signals when using crosswalks. It is illegal under Arizona law to cross a crosswalk when the signal indicates “Don’t Walk”. 
  • If the crosswalk signal is showing an orange-colored countdown, pedestrians who have not yet entered the crosswalk should not do so, but rather wait until the next green “Walk” signal.
  • If the crosswalk does not have a crosswalk signal, then pedestrians must allow an approaching vehicle time to stop before entering the crosswalk. In other words, a pedestrian should not step out in front of an oncoming car in a way that leaves the driver no time to stop or slow down.
  • If one or more vehicles have stopped before a crosswalk to allow a pedestrian to cross, then it is illegal for the pedestrian to delay crossing once the car or cars have yielded right of way.

Sidewalks and Walking on the Side of a Road

If you are walking alongside a road instead of crossing it, there are some Arizona laws that apply to you depending on whether a sidewalk is available.

  • If a sidewalk is available to you, then it is illegal to walk on or alongside a roadway. You must use a sidewalk if one is present.
  • If no sidewalk is available, you have the right to walk alongside the road but you must walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic.
  • Hitchhiking is permissible in Arizona only when the pedestrian is on a sidewalk when soliciting a driver to stop. Hitchhiking from the side of a road is illegal.

School Zone Crosswalks and School Buses

School zones in Arizona exist to protect a special kind of person, the schoolchild. Drivers are subject to school zone reduced speed limits during school hours, and school crosswalks are often identified by their yellow paint. School crosswalks are frequently attended by crossing guards.

School buses can effectively create their own sidewalk rules for their passengers when the bus driver turns on the red flashing lights. When these lights are flashing, it is illegal to pass the bus in either direction.

What Is Jaywalking?

Jaywalking is a colloquial term used to describe a pedestrian crossing a road without using a crosswalk. Jaywalking is legal in Arizona, subject to the crosswalk laws above. Meaning, if a crosswalk is available then you must use it instead of crossing the street outside of the crosswalk.

If you are crossing a road in Arizona without the aid of a crosswalk, then as a pedestrian you must yield right-of-way to vehicular traffic.

Types of Pedestrian Accident Injuries

Pedestrian accident injuries are the same as you would experience as a driver or passenger in a car accident. The main difference is in the potential severity of bodily injury: as a pedestrian, you have no airbags or vehicle frame to protect you when you get hit.

Here are some of the serious injuries our Phoenix pedestrian accident lawyers often see in personal injury claim accident victims:

  • Broken bones
  • Joint dislocations
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Facial injuries
  • Open head wounds
  • Neck injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Burns
  • Puncture wounds
  • Lacerations
  • Avulsions
  • Internal organ damage and bleeding
  • Crush injuries
  • Amputations

Among a variety of other factors that can vary based on the situation, the extent of the pedestrian’s injuries can affect the settlement amount—consult our personal injury calculator for more information. 

Proving Your Arizona Pedestrian Accident Injury Case

Arizona pedestrian accident cases are a variation of personal injury law. To prove a pedestrian accident, claim for damages against another person who caused your injuries, you must be able to show that you meet the following basic legal requirements:

  • You are filing your claim in a timely way.
  • The driver of the car owed you a duty of reasonable care.
  • The driver breached that duty.
  • The breach of this duty to you caused you harm.
How to prove a pedestrian accident injury case

Filing Your Claim in a Timely Way in Arizona

After you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, you have a limited time to make claims against insurance policies and to file any lawsuit for personal injury, wrongful death, or a survival action.

The Arizona Car Accident Statute of Limitations

The two-year Arizona statute of limitations governs personal injury claims, including pedestrian accident claims. You must file a lawsuit within this time, or you will lose your claim.

In most pedestrian accidents, the two-year countdown of the statute of limitations begins on the day of the accident. The starting point can move, however, under certain circumstances. For example, not all physical injuries might manifest symptoms right away. An emotional distress claim, like for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), might also not be apparent to you immediately because it can take time for you to realize you are suffering from it.

Timely Insurance Claims

Car insurance companies ordinarily have policy requirements that require claims against policies to be made in a reasonable time. What is a “reasonable” or “prompt” time within the claims process can be a matter of subjective interpretation. Insurance companies are apt to think it means, “Within a few days after the accident occurred.”

The longer you wait before making a claim with the driver’s insurance company or your own, the greater the chance comes that you will meet resistance from the insurer based on what it will claim is your “unreasonable delay” in filing the claim.

We recommend that you consult with a Phoenix personal injury lawyer, like one of ours at Stone Rose Law, as soon as possible after you have been involved in an accident as a pedestrian. One of our attorneys can help you understand how much time you have within which to make an insurance settlement claim or to file a lawsuit in time under Arizona law. We can also help you to act on your claims, on a contingency fee basis.

The Duty of Reasonable Care in Arizona

The duty of reasonable care applies to everyone who uses streets, roads, and highways in Arizona. Without everyone observing this duty, safe travel by motor vehicle or on foot would be impossible. If you can imagine a world in which all traffic signs and signals are purely advisory because nobody follows them, a world where driving with an open container of alcohol in one hand and the steering wheel in the other is considered acceptable behavior, then you can imagine a world in which no one owes anyone else a duty to behave reasonably while on the road.

This duty of reasonable care takes many forms. For example, we have seen above that drivers owe pedestrians a legal duty to slow down or stop when a pedestrian is in a crosswalk. Drivers also owe pedestrians a duty of reasonable care not to speed in the vicinity of a crosswalk. 

So, if a driver hits you while you are crossing at a crosswalk, then you have at least an argument that you can prove that the driver owed you a duty of reasonable care and breached it.

Can a Pedestrian be Liable for a Pedestrian Accident?

The short answer to this question is, “Yes.”

Just as drivers owe a duty of reasonable care toward pedestrians, the reverse is true. We have shown, for example, that you should not jaywalk if a crosswalk is available, and that you should not cross a crosswalk against the crosswalk signal. Similarly, as drivers owe you as a pedestrian a reasonable duty of care not to drive while intoxicated, you owe those drivers a reasonable duty of care not to be intoxicated when you are crossing a public street.

It follows, then, that if you breach a duty of care you owe to a driver who gets into an accident with you as a pedestrian, you are at least partly at fault for the accident.

Comparative Negligence in Arizona Pedestrian Accidents

Arizona law allows for “split decisions” in personal injury cases when a court allocates blame for a pedestrian accident. Here is an example of how this works: Let’s say you were using a crosswalk to cross a street when a speeding driver did not stop in time and struck you in the crosswalk. Assuming you win your negligence-based personal injury case against the at-fault driver, what happens if the driver can show that you were looking at your cell phone when you began crossing the crosswalk as the signal was flashing an orange “Don’t Walk”?

We begin with a 100 percent figure for fault, representing your successful negligence claim against the driver. 

Next, the court must weigh your contributory negligence against that 100 percent, reducing your damages award by assigning to you a percentage-based measure of your fault. In this example, the court might decide that the driver was 80 percent at fault for the accident, but that you were 20 percent at fault. This would reduce your damages award by 20 percent.

Damages Recovery After a Pedestrian Accident in Arizona

Recovery for Negligence Leading to Injury or Property Loss

Your measure of recovery for injuries you sustain from a pedestrian accident is “money damages.” If you win a pedestrian injury lawsuit in court, then in its judgment the court will convert the kinds of harm you suffer – physical injury, emotional distress, and property damage – into dollar values.

Sometimes this conversion is comparatively easy to do, like adding up your current medical bills, expected future medical expenses, lost wages, and property replacement or repair costs. 

Other kinds of harm are harder to calculate with mathematical certainty. These are non-economic or indirect damages, and they compensate you for emotional trauma like PTSD, loss of affection, or the loss of your ability to engage in normal life activities. In some cases, like if the driver’s behavior that caused your injury was willful or malevolent, you might be able to recover punitive damages.

Recovery for Wrongful Death Pedestrian Accidents

If a pedestrian accident results only in injuries, then except if the victim was a minor child most of the time the injured pedestrian will be the plaintiff in a pedestrian accident lawsuit. But if the accident leads to the death of the pedestrian, then instead of a personal injury lawsuit Arizona law provides for survival actions and wrongful death claims by family members as ways to recover compensation.

Arizona Survival Action and Wrongful Death Claims 

Survival actions and wrongful death claims allow for damages for harm done to the injured pedestrian before death and for the effects of that death on the surviving relatives. These are distinct claims, but they can run parallel to each other and can have overlapping plaintiffs. 

Survival actions and wrongful death lawsuits against negligent drivers can involve different plaintiffs (for example, surviving relatives in a wrongful death claim and the estate of the deceased in a survival action). They can also be different in the kind of damages they seek. In a wrongful death claim, the damages claims are for the benefit of the surviving relatives, while in a survival action the estate seeks damages for harm done to the deceased person only.

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Phoenix Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

At Stone Rose Law, our experienced Phoenix personal injury attorneys represent injured pedestrians throughout Arizona to negotiate with insurance companies and when necessary to take legal claims to litigation or to alternative dispute resolution channels like arbitration.

We know how important it is to gather all the available evidence to support your personal injury and property damage claims. We will investigate your accident and collect evidence of negligence to prove the driver is at fault, including witness statements, photographs taken at the time of the accident, video surveillance recordings of the accident scene, and more.

Our plaintiffs’ personal injury attorneys are savvy negotiators when it comes to dealing with insurance companies and opposing legal counsel in a Phoenix pedestrian accident case. We stand between you and them. We will not let them try to bully or trick you into accepting an unfair early offer before we uncover the maximum compensation claim you can include in a fair settlement.

Remember: time is not your friend when it comes to preserving your legal rights and remedies after a pedestrian accident. The insurance company is hoping to tell you that you delayed too long to claim compensation. You have only two years before you lose your right to sue. And every day that passes without gathering and taking steps to preserve evidence increases the chance that it can disappear or be subject to increasingly hazy memories.

Don’t let your claims slip away or get lost in the legal process. Call our personal injury law firm at (480) 428-2697 for a free case review of your legal options or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with a Phoenix pedestrian accident lawyer.