Pedestrians in Arizona have a responsibility to obey traffic laws. Despite being the road’s most vulnerable users, pedestrians still have an obligation to protect others and prevent accidents. This includes only crossing the road when they have the right to do so. If a pedestrian is hit by a car while breaking a traffic law – such as while jaywalking – he or she may still have the right to recover financial compensation (damages). However, the settlement value may be reduced. An experienced Scottsdale pedestrian accident lawyer can help you determine the value of your case.
Jaywalking is the colloquial term for crossing the road in the middle of the street where there is no intersection or crosswalk. Most states have laws that prohibit jaywalking. According to Arizona Revised Statute 28-793(C), pedestrians legally cannot cross at any place except in a marked crosswalk when crossing a road between two adjacent intersections where traffic control signals are present. Jaywalking in between two marked intersections is against the law in Arizona.
If a pedestrian wishes to cross the road at a place other than between two traffic-controlled intersections where there is no marked crosswalk, he or she can do so but must yield the right-of-way to all vehicles on the roadway. However, when crossing within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, the pedestrian will have the right-of-way. Even if a pedestrian has the right-of-way, he or she cannot legally step off of a curb and into oncoming traffic if a vehicle is close enough to constitute an immediate hazard.
If a motor vehicle driver hits a pedestrian in Arizona, the police will be notified and an investigation will take place. Law enforcement officers will gather information for the police accident report, such as the names of all parties involved, the direction the vehicle was traveling, statements and contact information from eyewitnesses, any video surveillance footage, photographs of the crash scene, and statements from both involved parties. Although the police will not determine fault, they can give an opinion as to the cause of the crash.
Arizona is a fault car accident state. This means that anyone who is injured in an accident can seek financial compensation from the insurance provider of the at-fault party through a Scottsdale car accident claim. If a pedestrian is injured, he or she will most likely file a claim with the driver’s car insurance company. The insurance company will then investigate to determine if its policyholder is at fault. The insurer will rely on the police report as well as its own investigation to determine fault or liability for the accident.
If there is proof that the pedestrian was jaywalking or illegally crossing the street at the time of the collision, this could lead to the insurance company rejecting the pedestrian’s claim or reducing the payout offered. Jaywalking can place blame for the accident on the pedestrian rather than the motor vehicle driver. Rather than rejecting the claim outright, however, the insurance company must apply Arizona’s comparative negligence law to diminish the pedestrian’s payout by an appropriate amount.
Comparative negligence is a defense that could be used against a plaintiff or injured party if the plaintiff caused or contributed to his or her own injuries. According to Arizona Revised Statute 12-2505, comparative negligence does not bar a claimant’s action, but it does reduce the damages awarded in proportion to the degree of the claimant’s fault. In other words, if a plaintiff is found to be at fault for the injury being claimed, his or her financial recovery will be reduced by a corresponding amount.
For example, if jaywalking places 60 percent of the fault for an accident with a pedestrian, the pedestrian’s financial settlement from the driver’s insurance company will be reduced by an equivalent 60 percent. This would reduce a $100,000 award to $40,000, for instance. Since Arizona is a pure comparative negligence state, there is no cap on the amount of fault that can be given to a plaintiff. The law does not cap damages at 50 percent of fault, as is the case in most modified comparative negligence states.