Can a Lack of Safety Gear Count Against an Injured Runner?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Arizona ranked sixth on a list of states with the highest pedestrian accident rates. In a state that is considered one of the most dangerous for those traveling on foot, it is important to understand the legal aspects and responsibilities associated with accidents involving runners. In this blog, we will discuss the legal duty of care motorists have to runners as well as the elements involved in determining negligence and liability.
Understanding the Legal Duty of Care in a Runner Accident
In personal injury law, a duty of care exists when the law acknowledges a relationship between the defendant and the plaintiff, which requires that the defendant employ a standard of care to avoid causing harm to the plaintiff. In the context of an accident involving a runner, motorists have a legal duty of care to drive in a manner that could reasonably avoid causing injuries to others. When drivers breach this duty, resulting in an accident, the injured party could pursue a personal injury claim.
Pedestrians also have a legal duty to exercise reasonable care when traveling on foot. Since Arizona follows pure comparative fault laws, injured runners could be partially at fault for an accident if they behaved negligently. For example, if the court determines that you were 30% at fault for the accident that caused your injuries, compensation would be reduced by 30%.
That said, while runners are expected to obey the rules of the road and act cautiously, Arizona law does not require them to wear specific gear though it is advised.
Assessing Negligence in Runner-Related Accidents
Negligence consists of four main elements:
- Duty of care: Establishing that a duty of care existed.
- Breach of duty: Demonstrating that there was a breach of that duty.
- Causation: The breach of duty caused the accident.
- Damages: The accident resulted in damages, including medical expenses, lost income, pain, and suffering, and more.
In a runner-related accident, there are many key factors involved in establishing negligence, including:
- Whether or not the runner was following traffic laws.
- If the runner was distracted. For example, they were texting, using a phone, or running with headphones on.
- The runner was on private property without permission or running in a prohibited area.
- The runner was ignoring the safety of others and was willfully unaware of their surroundings.
Gathering Evidence in a Runner Accident Case
To improve your chances of recovering compensation in a runner accident claim, it is important to obtain and preserve as much evidence as possible. Immediately after the accident, it is imperative to call 9-1-1 so that a report can be filed and a paper trail can begin. You should also collect the contact information of the person who hit you, as well as any witnesses who might have seen what happened. If possible, do what you can to document the scene by taking photos of your injuries, your surroundings, the vehicle that hit you, and anything else that may be vital to your case. Most importantly, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible so that your injuries can be officially documented.
It is also crucial to seek legal counsel after an accident, even if the at-fault party’s insurance company tries to advise you against it. You need an experienced personal injury attorney to speak to them on your behalf, so you do not end up with a low settlement offer.
Let Our Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers in Arizona Fight for You!
Were you injured in a runner-related accident? If you were, now is the time to consult with a Phoenix runner accident injury lawyer who can guide you through the process of pursuing a claim. At The Husband & Wife Law Team, our Arizona personal injury lawyers are here to provide the experienced advice you need to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions. Call our law office today at (602) 457-6222 to schedule a case review.
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During a free consultation, we will look at the important aspects of your case, answer your questions, and explain your legal rights and options clearly. All submissions are confidentially reviewed by Mark Breyer.
Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer