The weather in Phoenix, Arizona is some of the most consistently beautiful in the nation, and this results in a high level of outdoor activity involving pedestrians, skateboarders and those out and about. Unfortunately, statistically speaking Orange County also accounts for a high percentage of pedestrian accidents nationwide. Beach communities such as Phoenix and Tucson may only have a few thousand permanent residents, but annual visitors number in the millions. The pedestrian traffic in and around beaches, restaurants, shopping and entertainment properties is quite high, and many motorists are not prepared for or expecting the pedestrian traffic they encounter.
When a pedestrian is struck by a car, truck or motor vehicle they are at a substantial disadvantage, and resulting injuries can be quite severe. A recent French study noted that the majority of these cases involve head trauma, as well as multiple bone fractures and damage to internal organs. The medical expenses in these cases alone can exceed the insurance coverage of some drivers, not to mention other financial and life altering ramifications such as lost wages, as well as the compensation for having to endure the experience and recovering from the injuries.
In some cases, pedestrian injuries can be permanent such as paralysis or a substantially restricted range of motion in the limbs. This requires modifications to the home and vehicles of the injured victim, as well as ongoing costs for care, treatment and equipment.
Who Pays for Injuries Received in a Hit and Run Accident Involving Pedestrians?
A number of drivers involved in pedestrian accidents will flee the scene, perhaps to cover driving under the influence or a lack of insurance, and in some cases out of shock and panic. Fortunately, there are multiple cameras covering many intersections, shopping and beach areas and retail establishments, as well as the cell phones of witnesses who capture information about the driver and/or vehicle as it leaves the scene. If the driver is apprehended, their insurance is the primary source of recovery. But what happens if the hit and run driver is never identified?
Many Arizonans (and visitors to the area) are surprised to learn that the Uninsured/Under-Insured Motorist or UM/UIM portion of your own automobile insurance provides coverage in hit and run cases. This is why it is so important to maximize this coverage within your own policy. The combination of the hit and run coverage, along with the value of today’s vehicles, state minimum coverage and those without insurance makes it important to protect yourself. UM/UIM coverage is some of the least expensive insurance you can purchase, and it is especially important for residents of Orange County.
What to Look For in an Attorney if You Have Been Injured in a Pedestrian Accident
Pedestrian cases can be legally quite complex. The defending insurance companies will often raise substantial questions of who was at fault, and the amount the behavior of the pedestrian contributed to the accident itself. Many people are surprised at how difficult their own insurance companies can be when attempting to file UM/UIM claims. This is why it is most important to be represented by an experienced and seasoned attorney with extensive expertise in pedestrian cases. Look for a lawyer with actual trial experience with verdicts in pedestrian cases, which often require expert testimony and accident reconstruction evidence.
While the majority of injury cases are settled prior to trial, insurance companies carefully monitor the record of every injury attorney and use this information to determine the amount of the settlement they are willing to offer. If an attorney has not taken enough cases to trial, the insurance company knows that there is less risk of losing before a jury and they will attempt to offer much less than they are required to compensate by law.
You should ask to see the recommendations of the legal industry including awards and independent rankings. Testimonials from former clients and your attorney’s peers in the legal industry also provide excellent insight into the quality of representation you can expect. Finally, it is important to work with an attorney who is accessible to you personally, who will not push your calls and inquiries off onto a junior associate or staff.
If you’ve been involved in pedestrian accident Arizona please contact the AZ Hometown Lawyers at (602) 495-1005.