Pedestrian accidents are a serious problem in Arizona. Statewide statistics show that Arizona is one of the top states in the country for vehicle-pedestrian collisions. Data from 2019 reported 1,842 pedestrian crashes, with 220 deaths and 1,697 injuries (the Arizona Department of Transportation).
Most pedestrian accidents would be prevented if everyone obeyed their duties of care. A breach of the duty of care is the reason for most pedestrian accidents; it also serves as the grounds for most injury claims. Understanding duty of care in relation to pedestrian accidents can help you protect your rights during a lawsuit in Arizona.
What Is a Duty of Care?
Duty of care is a legal phrase brought up during every personal injury claim. It refers to the requirement that every individual has to act toward others with the care, caution and prudence that a reasonable person would in the same or similar circumstances. If someone acts in a way that does not meet the accepted standards of care, he or she has breached his or her duty of care. In other words, that person has been negligent.
Understanding duty of care is critical as the injured victim of a pedestrian accident, as this is most likely what you will base your claim upon. In most pedestrian accident cases, the injured victim (plaintiff) has to prove the defendant’s negligence to obtain financial compensation. If you wish to bring an injury claim against someone in Arizona for a pedestrian accident, you will have to establish that person’s breach of the duty of care.
What Is a Car Driver’s Duty of Care for Pedestrians?
In Arizona, motor vehicle operators have strict duties of care for pedestrians, bicyclists and other drivers on the road. As someone in control of an instrument that is capable of inflicting serious and fatal injuries, a motor vehicle driver must exercise due care in preventing collisions with others. When it comes to protecting pedestrians, car drivers must adhere to different duties of care based on location.
- Within crosswalks. A crosswalk is a marked area where a pedestrian may lawfully cross the road, either at an intersection or between intersections. Drivers must always yield the right-of-way to pedestrians who are within crosswalks.
- At a marked or unmarked intersection. At a marked intersection with a traffic control signal, pedestrians must yield to drivers who have a green light. They may only cross when given the Walk signal. At an unmarked intersection, pedestrians automatically bear the right-of-way.
- Outside of crosswalks. Outside of crosswalks and intersections, a driver has the right-of-way. Pedestrians should not cross outside of crosswalks between two marked intersections (jaywalk). Pedestrians also should never step into the road when a vehicle is approaching too quickly to reasonably stop.
Yielding the right-of-way when applicable is a driver’s main duty of care to pedestrians. Drivers also bear general duties of care, such as paying attention to the road, obeying traffic laws, and keeping their vehicles under control. Obeying one’s duties of care as a motor vehicle driver is the most effective way to prevent pedestrian accidents.
What If This Duty of Care Is Breached?
If a driver breaches or acts outside of the duty of care for a situation, that driver has been negligent. When negligence causes a pedestrian accident and injury, the at-fault party will be financially liable for damages. In Arizona, liability for a pedestrian collision goes to the person most at fault for causing the accident. A driver who breaches a duty of care and crashes into a pedestrian, therefore, will be responsible for paying for losses.
If you were injured in a pedestrian accident in Arizona and believe the driver to be liable for breaching the duty of care, consult with a motor vehicle accident lawyer about pursuing compensation from the at-fault party. A lawyer can help you establish the driver’s duty of care, breach of duty and causation for your injuries. Then, your lawyer can negotiate with an insurance company on your behalf for maximum compensation.