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Your Rights as a Pedestrian in Phoenix

June 8, 2023 | 5 min read

The Phoenix pedestrian accident lawyers at Burg Simpson Law Firm can protect your rights if you were injured by a motor vehicle in a crosswalk or other area of the road. Drivers have a duty to exercise caution when pedestrians are present. That said, pedestrians are also subject to rules designed to prevent pedestrian accidents.

Do not wait to exercise your legal rights. Contact Burg Simpson at 602-777-7000 today for a FREE and confidential case evaluation with a Phoenix pedestrian accident lawyer.

How Common Are Pedestrian Accidents?

In Arizona as a whole, pedestrian accidents account for 1.41% of all crashes. This seemingly low number belies the devastating impact of these accidents.

According to the latest Arizona Motor Vehicle Crash Facts, an alarming 15% of pedestrian crashes were fatal. In total, 257 pedestrians were killed after being struck by a vehicle in 2021.

Injuries are also extremely common in pedestrian accidents in Arizona. Nearly 85% of the pedestrians involved in accidents suffered some degree of injury. Serious injury was suspected in more than one-quarter of reported crashes.

Unsurprisingly, most accidents occurred when pedestrians were crossing a road. The majority of collisions happened in urban areas during the daytime when skies were clear.

When Do Pedestrians Have the Right of Way?

The Arizona law on pedestrians’ right of way at a crosswalk states the following:

“… if traffic control signals are not in place or are not in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be in order to yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is on the half of the roadway on which the vehicle is traveling or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.”

Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 28-792(A)

In addition, a driver coming up behind a vehicle that is stopped at a marked or unmarked crosswalk may not pass the vehicle. This measure is designed to protect pedestrians in the crosswalk.

Do Pedestrians Always Have the Right of Way in Arizona?

No, they do not. At intersections with pedestrian control signals, the pedestrian’s right of way depends on whether a “WALK” or “DON’T WALK” signal is displayed (see A.R.S. § 28-646). 

Furthermore, according to A.R.S. § 28-791, “Pedestrians are subject to traffic control signals at intersections.” Who has the right of way in an intersection rests on whether a traffic light is green, yellow, or red, as well as the presence and direction of travel of other vehicles (see Section 28-645).

Although pedestrians have the right of way when approaching a crosswalk, A.R.S. § 28-792(A) prohibits them from suddenly leaving the curb or any “other place of safety.” Drivers have little or no time to stop when pedestrians dart into traffic, which can easily result in an accident.

Pedestrians are required to yield to vehicles in the roadway before crossing the road outside of a crosswalk (see A.R.S. § 28-793). Similarly, if a pedestrian is walking on a road with no sidewalk, the pedestrian is required to walk “only on the left side of the roadway or its shoulder facing traffic that may approach from the opposite direction” (see Section 28-796). Pedestrians are required to walk on the sidewalk—not the road—whenever a sidewalk is available.

Do I Have the Right to Sue After a Pedestrian Accident?

Drivers in Arizona have a general duty to “exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian on any roadway” (see A.R.S. § 28-794). Pedestrians’ right of way is not absolute, but this provision enables pedestrians to hold motorists accountable when their negligence results in an accident.

Phoenix pedestrian accident lawyers will investigate to determine if you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. You may have a claim if the driver engaged in any of the following:

  • Speeding
  • Failure to yield or come to a complete stop
  • Unsafe lane changes and passing
  • Distracted driving
  • Errors when turning
  • Failure to obey traffic signs and signals
  • Drunk driving

It is important for pedestrians to exercise caution when they are crossing the street, walking along the road, etc. When drivers fail to share the road, however, serious and even fatal accidents may occur.

What If I Was Partly At Fault for a Pedestrian Accident?

You should not assume or admit fault for any collision. Timely investigation by the police, the insurance company, and your attorney should uncover evidence to establish who is at fault, and you do not want any words said in haste coming back to haunt you.

If the evidence shows that you are partly responsible for the accident, that does not mean you are barred from filing a claim or recovering damages. Arizona personal injury law operates on the basis of comparative negligence. Claimants who are partly responsible for an injury can still recover partial compensation for their losses, with the award “reduced in proportion to the relative degree of the claimant’s fault” (see A.R.S. § 12-2505).

Drivers often blame pedestrians for accidents that they themselves cause. As a result, the driver’s insurance company may contact you soon after the accident with a low settlement offer. If pressed for more money, the adjuster may say that you were partly responsible and they can’t offer any more.

You should not take insurance companies at their word when they say a low settlement is “the best they can do.” A knowledgeable attorney can help you preserve your right to compensation for injuries sustained in a pedestrian accident.

Our Phoenix Pedestrian Accident Lawyers Can Help

Pedestrians often underestimate how serious their injuries are after an accident. They might also be unaware of the damages they may be entitled to recover.

Burg Simpson Law Firm has recovered more than $2 billion for our clients in a wide range of personal injury claims. Our role is to protect your rights. You can rely on the attorneys at Burg Simpson to fight for your best interest and make every effort to obtain the compensation you deserve.

If you have been injured by a careless driver, contact Burg Simpson today. Our pedestrian accident lawyers serve clients in Phoenix and other areas of Arizona.