Las Cruces Pedestrian Accident Lawyers
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Most of the time, a car accident is between two vehicles. However, in any location where pedestrians and vehicles are in the same vicinity, there exists the possibility of a pedestrian accident. Pedestrians don’t have the protection and safety features as a passenger in a car. They are also less visible. In these situations, dealing with severe injuries, it may be crucial to solicit the help of an experienced Las Cruces pedestrian accident attorney.
PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENT STATISTICS
Pedestrian accidents, though they may not happen as frequently as car accidents involving only vehicles, do still occur at an alarmingly high rate. This is especially true in a city like Las Cruces that has a bustling downtown area where businesses have been relocating to and foot traffic has been projected to increase at a rate of 10 percent each year. Some more statistics dealing with pedestrian accidents include:
- In 2017, 5,977 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in the United States. That equals out to about one death every 88 minutes.
- In New Mexico in 2018, pedestrian fatalities rose to a five-year high of 84. Alcohol was noted as a contributor of at least half of these fatalities.
- Las Cruces was one of the three cities in New Mexico, including Albuquerque and Santa Fe, that had the highest rate of total crashes as well as fatalities.
PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENT CAUSES
Many of the factors that end up causing car accidents can also come into play when discussing pedestrian accidents. However, there are also factors that are unique to pedestrian accidents or that impact pedestrian accidents at a disproportionately high rate.
Weather and Environmental Factors
Given that pedestrians are much smaller than traditional passenger vehicles, they can be more difficult for drivers to see. This means that they are more susceptible to being affected by different weather conditions. For example, at sunrise and sunset, sunlight might be in drivers’ eyes, which can cause them to lose focus or not see a pedestrian. Driving at night also impairs visibility, so drivers may not have as much time to react to the sight of a pedestrian. Conditions like rain or snow may also have an impact, as they add an additional factor for drivers to be aware.
Failure to Follow Traffic Rules
Many drivers might fail to comply totally with traffic rules because it doesn’t always seem important in the moment. For example, a driver might ease into a bike lane before making a right-hand turn or drive through a crosswalk before a pedestrian has fully exited out onto the sidewalk on the other side. These rules might not seem to matter as much when pedestrians are not around, but it only takes one lapse of judgment to cause serious injury or death.
When most people think of distracted driving, their mind immediately goes to taking a phone call or texting while driving. However, distracted driving encompasses activities that seem more innocuous, like fiddling with the GPS or air conditioning, or changing the song on the music console. It only take a moment for the driver to take their focus off the road and fatally impact a pedestrian.
HOW TO FILE A PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENT CLAIM
Many minor car accidents, like a fender-bender or a low-speed collision in a parking lot, don’t result in any sort of physical injuries. Though no accident claim is simple per se, these sorts of accidents can require less time and effort to seek compensation. However, pedestrian accidents often result in serious physical injuries given the lack of protection that pedestrians have from vehicles. This means that the claim process can be complicated and may require the assistance of an experienced Las Cruces lawyer. The general steps involved in the process will typically be:
1. Contact a Las Cruces Pedestrian Accident Attorney
The first step after being injured should be to seek the advice of an attorney with experience in the area of pedestrian accidents in Las Cruces. An attorney may be able to guide you through the process of seeking maximum compensation for your injuries and ensure that you do not make any mistakes that could end up damaging your claim. In addition, they may be able to formulate an argument that maximizes the strengths of your position while minimizing its weaknesses.
Learn More: Why Hiring a Lawyer Will Help Your Case
2. Investigate the Accident
After you have an attorney lined up, they may be able to begin the process of researching and gathering the information necessary for your specific situation. For a pedestrian accident, this might include speaking with any witnesses to the accident, talking to the city about the area where the accident took place, and handling discussions with insurance companies.
3. Negotiate a Settlement
Negotiating a settlement is where the rubber hits the road in terms of figuring out how much compensation you might be entitled to. It is important to remember that the other parties involved would like to pay you as little as possible, and that it will require experience and technique in order to negotiate your position successfully. An experienced attorney may be able to handle this process for you in order to maximize your chances of receiving a fair settlement.
WHAT IS MY CASE WORTH?
Pedestrian accidents often leave their victims with severe injuries. Generally speaking, the more severe an injury is, the more the injury victim might be entitled to. However, it is difficult to give an accurate estimate of what a claim might be worth without an understanding of the specific details that went into the accident. That being said, damages that might be paid out in an accident settlement generally include both the economic and non-economic variety.
Economic damages in a pedestrian accident will typically be comprised mainly of medical bills. Given that injuries can be severe, the cost to diagnose and treat those injuries can be fairly high. Economic damages might also include damage to property that the victim had on their person as well as lost wages if the victim is unable to work due to their injuries.
Non-economic damages for an accident refer to the pain and suffering that a victim experiences as a result of their injuries. On top of the economic damages that can be proven by bills or receipts, a victim might be eligible to receive non-economic damages, which can be more difficult to prove. Generally, the more severe that injuries are, the higher that this number could possibly end up being.
Learn More: How to Calculate the Value of Case
LEGAL TIME LIMITS
For every sort of personal injury claim, there is an associated time limit, called the “statute of limitations.” The statute of limitations is the term for the amount of time that an accident victim has to file a claim based on a specific accident. In New Mexico, the statute of limitations for pedestrian accidents is three years. This means that an accident has three years from the date of their accident to file their claim. If a claim is brought outside of this three-year window, then it will likely be dismissed by the court.
There may be exceptions, however, to the general statute of limitations. If the accident victim is a minor, then the statute of limitations could be “tolled,” or paused, until they hit the age of 18. In addition, some injuries are latent injuries, meaning they don’t present any symptoms any until some time after the accident itself. In this scenario, it may be possible that the statute of limitations could be extended. However, it is advisable to seek the advice of a Las Cruces lawyer as soon as possible to avoid running into any sort of problem in this area that could be easily avoided.
HOW A PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENT ATTORNEY CAN HELP
A pedestrian accident attorney may be able to assist your claim in any number of ways. First, they may be able to handle the communications between you and insurance companies. It is important to remember that insurance companies operate a business, which means that they are looking to pay you as little as possible as they are legally required to. A lawyer also may be able to give you a better idea of what your case might be worth based on their experience in the area, which means that you are less likely to accept a settlement offer that is lower than what you may actually be entitled to.
CONTACT THE ZINDA LAW GROUP TODAY
Zinda Law Group believes that accident victims shouldn’t need to worry about their ability to afford legal representation, which is why we use a no-win, no-fee policy—if we don’t win your case, you don’t owe us anything.
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