Albuquerque Pedestrian Accident Attorney
In a collision between a vehicle and a pedestrian, the pedestrian always loses. It is up to drivers to always pay attention to the road, obey traffic laws, and yield the right-of-way to pedestrians when necessary to protect their safety. Unfortunately, thousands of negligent and reckless drivers endanger the lives of pedestrians every day.
If you or a family member has suffered an injury in a pedestrian accident in Albuquerque, contact our accident lawyers at the Fine Law Firm to discuss your case against a negligent driver and/or another party in New Mexico. We want to help you achieve fair results for your insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. Call today.
Why Choose Us?
The Fine Law Firm understands the complexities of pedestrian accident law in New Mexico. We have been in practice in the state since 1975. We bring more than 100 years of combined experience to the cases we cover.
- We have a 99% success rate representing victims of personal injury.
- We maintain close, personal contact with all our clients.
- We keep a consistent fee of 33% or lower if necessary to ensure we don’t make more than our clients.
- We only collect attorney’s fees if we are able to secure a settlement for our client.
- We have plenty of experience in personal injury trials against major corporations.
Why Do You Need a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer?
As an injured pedestrian, you could have serious or even permanent personal injuries. Broken bones, neck or back injuries, internal organ damage, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries are all common in pedestrian accidents. They are also severe injuries that deserve full financial compensation. Hiring an Albuquerque pedestrian accident attorney to represent your case maximizes your odds of obtaining fair financial recovery from the at-fault driver or other party. It also lets you focus on healing while your lawyer navigates case legalities.
Pedestrian Accident Statistics
New Mexico has the highest pedestrian death rate in the country. The state’s pedestrian fatality rate in 2016 was 3.45 deaths per 100,000 population. The second-highest was Florida, with a rate of 3.22. The majority (84%) of fatal pedestrian accidents in New Mexico occurred after dark. In 2016, 35 pedestrians in New Mexico lost their lives in traffic accidents. Hundreds of others suffered injuries in collisions with vehicles. Throughout the country, almost 129,000 pedestrians visited emergency rooms from auto accident injuries in 2015.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Human error causes pedestrian accidents. Driver inattention, negligence behind the wheel (e.g. driver distraction or drowsiness), and pedestrians failing to wait for the cross signal are the main reasons pedestrian collisions occur in Albuquerque. Despite drivers having a duty to reasonably prevent accidents to vulnerable road users, many fail to pay attention and drive prudently. Speeding, drunk driving, and ignoring right-of-way can be fatal for pedestrians.
Common Types of Pedestrian Accidents
Drivers may strike pedestrians in Albuquerque in many different types of accidents. Collisions most commonly occur on roads and intersections that see a lot of foot traffic, such as in downtown Albuquerque or at school crossings. Danger zones for pedestrians include intersections, school zones, crosswalks, parking garages and parking lots. Anywhere people travel on foot and have to interact with vehicles, serious accidents can happen.
School Zone Accidents
School zones are especially high-risk areas for pedestrians due to a combination of child pedestrians and negligent drivers. Drivers may speed or text and drive in school zones, failing to notice crossing children. Child pedestrians are prone to unexpected behaviors such as darting out from between parked cars or crossing the street without looking for oncoming traffic. Together, these hazards can lead to deadly pedestrian collisions.
Parking Lot Accidents
Parking lot accidents also commonly involve pedestrians. Grocery stores and shopping centers in Albuquerque often see thousands of pedestrians daily. Drivers must maneuver slowly, safely and with 100% awareness in parking lots to avoid collisions. Distracted and negligent drivers may back into pedestrians, cut off crossing shoppers, or strike pedestrians walking to their vehicles. Unsafe parking lot designs could contribute to these types of accidents.
Laws That Affect Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accident cases in New Mexico involve many state laws. New Mexico Statutes 66-7-334 outlines pedestrians’ rights-of-way at crosswalks and intersections. It states that pedestrians have the right-of-way to cross at crosswalks that do not have traffic-control signals. Drivers may not pass vehicles that have stopped at crosswalks or intersections to allow pedestrians to cross. It also states that pedestrians have a responsibility not to step off curbs or sidewalks in front of vehicles that are too close to reasonably stop.
Rights-of-way laws could impact a pedestrian accident case by proving which party had the right to cross at the time of the collision. This can make it easier to assign liability. Another law that could affect a pedestrian accident case is New Mexico’s comparative fault statute. Many drivers in pedestrian accident cases allege the pedestrian’s partial responsibility. If a pedestrian was not paying attention or was jaywalking, for example, the driver could argue the pedestrian’s comparative fault.
In New Mexico, comparative fault will not bar a pedestrian from financial recovery. Instead, the courts will reduce the victim’s award by an amount equivalent to his or her degree of fault. If the courts award $100,000 and the plaintiff was 20% at fault, for example, the plaintiff would receive $80,000. New Mexico is a pure comparative fault state, meaning a victim could be 90% responsible and still receive some compensation. Knowing how the state’s fault laws could impact a claim may take help from an attorney.
Factors That Affect Pedestrian Accident Cases
Aside from state laws, many other factors could also affect pedestrian accident cases in New Mexico. After any type of collision, the police and other investigators may analyze factors such as the location, time of day, road conditions and weather to see if factors other than human error may have contributed. Contributing factors may lead to more than one defendant or an at-fault party other than the driver or pedestrian.
For example, if an analysis of the location finds the crosswalk had an unreasonably dangerous design, the City of Albuquerque could be liable for an accident. Designing and maintaining safe crosswalks is one of the city’s legal duties. If a factor such as bad weather contributed to the collision, it could reduce the driver’s liability. Discovering all the factors related to a pedestrian accident is an important step in determining fault.
Types of Insurance
New Mexico is a fault, or tort-based, insurance state. The insurance requirements are at least $25,000 in bodily injury liability insurance per person ($50,000 per accident) and $10,000 in property damage liability insurance. Bodily injury insurance will cover someone else’s injuries in an at-fault accident. If a driver causes a pedestrian accident, for example, his or her $25,000-$50,000 policy would pay for the pedestrian’s medical expenses. Property damage liability insurance pays to repair the not-at-fault party’s vehicle.
If a driver wants insurance coverage for his or her damages after an at-fault accident, the driver must purchase additional types of insurance. Comprehensive coverage, for example, covers the at-fault driver’s property repairs and medical bills, as well as damages from events such as acts of God or vandalism. Collision coverage pays for the at-fault driver’s vehicle repairs after an auto accident. Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance pays for repairs if the at-fault driver does not have insurance, as well as after a hit-and-run accident.
If you suffer a serious injury as a pedestrian in an accident, be careful when discussing your case with insurance companies. The driver’s insurance provider may use tactics to get out of paying for your damages, such as denying a valid claim or trying to place fault with you. If the driver’s insurance company contacts you, stick to the facts and do not admit fault. Do not accept a settlement offer until you have spoken to an attorney.
Consulting with a personal injury lawyer in Albuquerque before accepting a settlement could save you from getting less than your injuries deserve. A lawyer can give you an honest and accurate estimate of the true worth of your claim. If you retain an attorney to take your case, he or she will take over settlement negotiations on your behalf. A lawyer can put the pressure on insurance companies to increase settlement offers. A pedestrian lawyer could also take the at-fault driver to court if the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement.
How Pedestrian Accident Cases Are Fought
When a driver strikes a pedestrian, the fault usually goes to the driver. Yet in some cases, factors such as defective vehicle parts or unsafe crosswalks could contribute to pedestrian collisions. It often takes an investigation to determine fault for a pedestrian accident. The injured party or parties may then seek damages from the at-fault parties, usually in the form of insurance claims. The injured party (or his or her lawyer) will have to prove the defendant’s fault to secure compensation.
- Duty of care. All drivers owe pedestrians strict duties of care. These duties include watching the road, keeping a proper lookout and obeying roadway signs at pedestrian crosswalks.
- Even minor lapses in judgment could cause pedestrian accidents. A breach of duty could refer to any act of negligence that goes outside of a driver’s duties to pedestrians.
- The pedestrian must have suffered damages in the collision, such as injuries, medical costs, or pain and suffering. Proof of damages may take the form of hospital bills or testimony from physicians.
- The driver or other defendant’s actions must have caused the pedestrian collision. New Mexico is a comparative negligence state, meaning even if the victim was partially responsible, he or she may still be eligible for compensation.
Most pedestrian accident cases settle without having to go to trial. If you or your attorney cannot convince the at-fault insurance company to offer a settlement, however, your case may need to go to court in Albuquerque for fair compensation. A pedestrian accident trial often involves a discovery phase, presentation of evidence and testimony from witnesses. Then, a judge or jury will rule on fault and award the victim compensation for damages, if applicable. Compensation during a trial could exceed a settlement award from an insurance company.
Damages I Can Recover
If you succeed at a pedestrian accident claim in New Mexico, you could recover damages such as past and future hospital bills, lost income, the lost capacity to earn, pain and suffering, mental anguish, lost quality of life, and wrongful death damages (if you lost a loved one). The total value of your case will depend upon the severity of your injuries and their impact on your life.
Contact Us Today
The skill of your Albuquerque pedestrian accident attorney can also determine how much you receive for your claim or lawsuit. Hire a lawyer from The Fine Law Firm to maximize your odds of securing compensation. Contact us today for your free pedestrian accident consultation in Albuquerque.