Dangerous Crosswalks Can Lead to Pedestrian Injuries
If you have been injured due to a pedestrian accident at a crosswalk, you may not only be entitled to recover damages from the defendant-driver who collided with you — you may also be entitled to recover damages from the person/entity that owns or otherwise controls the crosswalk on which you were injured. Crosswalks attract pedestrian traffic, as they are intended to be “safe zones” for pedestrians. When crosswalks represent a hazard to pedestrians, however, with no adequate warning of the dangers therein, then the defendant who owns or controls the crosswalk may be held liable.
Crosswalk injuries fall under the premises liability framework. What this means is that you’ll have to show that the crosswalk was unreasonably dangerous for those making use of the property. By introducing evidence that the crosswalk was designed or maintained in such a way that it presented a danger to pedestrians, you can more effectively litigate your injury claim.
There are a number of factors that contribute towards making a crosswalk dangerous. Let’s explore a few common ones.
Crosswalks must be reasonably visible to oncoming traffic at all times. There are a number of visibility issues that can crop up: vegetation growing in adjacent property may be poorly trimmed and may therefore interfere with sight-lines, or there may be inadequate street lighting. If visibility of the crosswalk is a serious concern even after certain measures have been implemented, signs should be installed to give drivers warning of the crosswalk ahead.
Traffic Flow Requires Additional Measures
Depending on the street, traffic flow may be high volume, high speed, and otherwise complicated (i.e., the street has many mergers close to the crosswalk) by various factors. In such cases, the standard safety measures implemented at a crosswalk may not be enough. Additional crosswalk safety measures — such as blinking crosswalk lights — may be necessary to sufficiently manipulate traffic flow and create a safe environment for pedestrians.
Failure to Consider Pedestrian Age, Health, and Ability
Crosswalks do not exist in a vacuum. Reasonable crosswalk design considers the type of pedestrian foot traffic that will be using the crosswalk. For example, if a crosswalk is built next to an adult disability center, then it should take into account that many of the pedestrians using the crosswalk will have to use the crosswalk in a slower and more deliberate manner.
Crosswalk Signals Not Working
A well-designed crosswalk must be properly maintained in order to remain safe for pedestrian use. In fact, if a crosswalk has existing signals that suddenly stop working, or is otherwise in disrepair, it could serve as a “trap” that lures in pedestrians who believe that the crosswalk is safe to use. If the property owner (or possessor) fails to maintain the crosswalk in safe condition, and a pedestrian is injured as a result, they could be held liable.
Inherent Danger Revealed by Accident History
A substantial pedestrian accident history at the crosswalk is proof that it is inherently dangerous and therefore needs to be modified or removed. If a property owner is aware of a high volume of pedestrian accidents occurring at the crosswalk, it will operate in some cases as notice of the dangerous condition of the crosswalk.
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident due to the fault of another, you may be entitled to recover damages as compensation for your injuries, pursuant to Arizona law. Your pedestrian accident case should be handled with seriousness and care. To ensure that your case is handled effectively, contact an experienced Phoenix pedestrian accident attorney here at Hirsch & Lyon. Call (602) 535-1900 today. Initial consultation is free — our attorneys will assess your claims and help you navigate the litigation process.
We look forward to speaking with you.