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Albuquerque Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

Albuquerque Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

Whether you like to take an evening stroll downtown for some window shopping; a brisk walk around your neighborhood for exercise; or you get around on foot to work, school, and other places out of necessity; you probably have always been a bit apprehensive each time you head out. However, despite many close calls before in which someone almost struck you, it really happened this time, and now you’re hurt, or a loved one has lost their life. Know that New Mexico law affords you rights if a negligent motorist strikes you or a family member. An Albuquerque pedestrian accident lawyer is ready to share with you what your rights are.

How Common Are Pedestrian Accidents in Albuquerque?

According to an Albuquerque Journal report published in early 2023, there were 40 pedestrian deaths the previous year. Our city’s pedestrian fatality rate is 4.2 for every 100,000 residents, according to Source New Mexico, which means it ranks second among all U.S. cities for this index. While not all pedestrian-involved crashes result in fatalities, the data referenced above shows just how vulnerable our city’s pedestrians are to becoming injured while walking or worse.

Where Pedestrian-Involved Incidents Occur

Pedestrians are most likely to get struck in certain general areas, including:

  • When navigating non-pedestrian zones: Roadways like interstates are often off-limits to pedestrians because walkers not only serve as distractions, but if a motorist does veer off and strike them at a high rate of speed, their survivability is low. Additionally, some bridges are closed to foot traffic because lanes and potential sidewalks within them are too narrow to keep walkers safe if a motorist’s vehicle jumps a curb. Walkers may not always know that they’re prohibited from walking in these areas or do so despite knowing it’s unlawful to do so, leaving them vulnerable to getting hurt.
  • While walking along highways: Motorists tend to unconsciously glide their cars in the direction of distractors, which leaves walkers vulnerable to getting hit. Pedestrians navigating highways where they must teeter on the edge of the roadway due to there not being a wide or flat shoulder are particularly vulnerable to getting hit.
  • When traveling through urban areas: Downtown districts and other urbanized areas tend to be more densely populated, and it’s not uncommon to see cars parallel parked right up to the end of the curb. This can make it challenging to see pedestrians waiting to cross the street. Additionally, the heavier the crowd gathered to cross the street, the higher the potential there is for a pedestrian to decide to dart out, separating oneself from the crowd, to cross the street. That spontaneity can cause confusion for motorists and lead to a walker being struck.
  • Parking lots and garages: Shoppers walking into stores or heading back to their cars after leaving a store or returning a cart are particularly vulnerable to being hit. So, too, are individuals navigating the maze that often is a parking garage as they try to make it from their car to an exit (or vice-versa), the elevator shaft, or the stairwell. Users are particularly vulnerable to being struck when passing alongside or behind vehicles, where motorists may feel boxed in and not give their surroundings the once-over they require.
  • Near construction sites: There’s often just a chain-link fence (if even) that serves as a barrier between pedestrians walking down sidewalks and the heavy-duty machinery being used on a construction site. Unobservant construction workers may quickly zip around in or reverse their forklift, tractor, dump truck, or other equipment so quickly that a pedestrian has little to no time to respond. Additionally, in situations where there are office buildings that essentially abut the sidewalk unless there’s any scaffolding for pedestrians to walk under, they could potentially be hit by falling tools, people, and loads (being lifted overhead by a crane).
  • Around residential or school zones: While in an ideal world, we’d be able to watch our kids at all times, and they’d know and comply with the rules we tell them to follow as pedestrians, that doesn’t always happen. Children are particularly apt to be struck as they play in residential areas, where they may be walking unaccompanied, engaging in horseplay, or falling off their bikes into an active traffic lane. Motorists who are speeding also increase the risk of an accident in neighborhoods.
  • When venturing into roadways outside of intersections: Any situation where someone unexpectedly enters the roadway puts them at risk of getting hit. Examples of when this might occur include if a person engages in jaywalking (crossing the road mid-way instead of at the curb) or crossing in front of a parking garage or lot exit, driveway, or alleyway where a driver’s visibility of what’s happening in the periphery may be limited.

Whatever the circumstances surrounding how and where your injury incident occurred, an Albuquerque pedestrian accident lawyer can evaluate your case to advise you of any rights our state’s laws may afford you to recover compensation for your losses. So, call us for a no-risk, free consultation with one of our Barrera Law Group LLC attorneys today.

Albuquerque Roadways That Are Most Dangerous for Pedestrians

Data gathered for the aforementioned Albuquerque News Journal and Source New Mexico reports show that the following roads are where the most pedestrian accidents in our area occur along:

  • Central Avenue between Tramway Road and San Mateo Boulevard
  • Coors Boulevard along I-40 and in between Gun Club Road and Blake Road in the South Valley
  • Montgomery Boulevard
  • I-25

Why Pedestrians Get Struck in Bernalillo County

Law enforcement tasked with investigating incidents where walkers are struck often find they occur due to one of the following factors:

  • Poor road engineering: Shoulders or sidewalks may be non-existent, and individuals may have no other choice but to walk in active traffic lanes. Additionally, intersections may be far too active for pedestrians to cross safely at any time of the day.
  • Drug or alcohol intoxication: This may occur on behalf of either the person on foot or the driver who hits them.
  • Reckless driving: This is a catchall category that includes distracted driving, speeding, drivers failing to yield the right of way, failing to maintain one’s lane, running stop signs or stop lights, and drowsy driving.
  • Automobile mechanical issues: Included in this may be faulty brakes, for example.
  • Inattentiveness: Motorist may back out, pull forward without looking to each side, or otherwise employ tactics because they’re distracted by their phone, a conversation, or what they’re doing next instead of safely operating their vehicle (the task at hand).
  • Poor safety protocol: There may not be ample barriers between job sites and pedestrians or safety measures in place to minimize the chances of them being hit, like overhead nets or scaffolding or sidewalk closures and detours.
  • A lack of familiarity with roles and responsibilities: There’s an assumption that once a motorist secures their driver’s license, demonstrating a mastery of the rules of the road (including dealing with pedestrians), they remember them years down the road. And there’s a similar assumption that walkers know how to conduct themselves when in close proximity to cars when there’s no test to demonstrate whether they understand their responsibilities.

Just because the examples above may be plausible explanations for why a pedestrian accident occurred, it doesn’t mean that they’re viable “excuses” for negligence that allow drivers or walkers to deny liability for what happened. This is why attorneys spend a lot of time reviewing evidence, such as police reports, video camera footage, traffic and light pattern data, etc., in determining where liability lies. It’s critical to understand who can be held responsible for the injuries you suffered while walking.

Liability for Pedestrian Accidents in New Mexico

Our state is a tort or at-fault state, which means you can hold the vehicle operator who injured you or took a loved one’s life liable for their negligence if they harm you or someone close to you. However, our state is a pure comparative negligence one, which means that any damages you may be eligible to recover for your losses are subject to a reduction depending on your degree (percentage) of fault.

Generally, a pedestrian would need to establish the following to be eligible to recover compensation for their accident-related damages:

  • That the driver who struck them owed them a duty of care
  • That the motorist who hit them breached their duty
  • They (the pedestrian) suffered harm because the driver violated their duty
  • They have documentable losses resulting from the harm the negligent motorist caused

Potential Liable Parties When Pedestrians Are Struck in Albuquerque

When it comes to pedestrians being hit, most individuals automatically assume liability rests wholly on the shoulders of the motorist who actually made contact with the walker. That’s not always the case, though.

As hinted at above, a pedestrian can make decisions that leave them at least partially at fault for what happened. Hence, this is why you can expect an attorney to ask you what you did preceding your accident and about any statements you may have made afterward. This will let them know how much blame you might shoulder yourself.

Yourself and a vehicle operator that may directly strike you aside, the following parties may be listed as defendants in pedestrian injury cases:

  • Road designers and the government agencies that maintain them (and control traffic signals and signs)
  • The operator of a passing vehicle that had an improperly secured load that came loose and struck you
  • City officials or business owners who failed to maintain their sidewalks in a safe condition, a factor that contributed to you perhaps tripping and falling into an active traffic lane
  • A contractor or construction company that didn’t employ fall protection measures or used faulty equipment that caused someone or something to strike you
  • Vehicle manufacturers for producing defective auto parts that contributed to a motorist striking you

The list could go on and on as far as people or entities that could be directly or indirectly involved in causing a pedestrian to get hurt. When you work with our lawyers, you can count on us to identify and pursue any potential parties responsible for hurting you.

Recovering Compensation After a New Mexico Pedestrian Accident

New Mexico law allows pedestrians to file insurance claims against those responsible for hurting them. When demanding compensation, victims can request reimbursement of documentable losses like:

  • Current and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages and future earnings
  • Caregiver support
  • Assistive health aids like a walker or wheelchair
  • Home renovations to make your residence handicap accessible
  • Transportation to medical visits

Additionally, you may also be able to recover compensation for non-economic losses like pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life.

Punitive damages may also be ordered by a judge if the circumstances surrounding the accident that hurt you are classified as grossly negligent. Drunk driving is an example of this.

Determining How Much Your Pedestrian Accident Case Is Worth

Attorneys like ours often receive questions from prospective clients asking what they think their injury case may be worth. That’s actually a far more loaded question than they realize. We generally share with them the various factors that affect calculations we use in coming up with an amount we demand from insurers, which include:

  • Your age when the injury incident occurred
  • What the extent of the injuries you suffered are and whether they’re temporary or permanent
  • The lengths you’ve had to go to address or recover from your injuries (i.e., a conservative treatment approach like medicine and physical therapy or a more aggressive surgical intervention)
  • How impactful your injuries have been on your everyday life (i.e., have they caused you to miss work or precluded you from doing things you once enjoyed)
  • Whether you played any role in causing the accident that resulted in you being harmed
  • The type of insurance and respective policy limits the involved parties have

It’s sometimes possible for an injury lawyer like ours to review evidence in your case and give you a ballpark idea of its value as soon as during your initial meeting with them in response to hearing a narrative from you or witnesses as to what transpired. However, it’s often necessary for us to request the accident report, your medical records and bills, pay stubs, journal entries you may have kept, and insurance policy information for a negligent party before giving you a more definitive answer about your case’s worth.

Help Our Attorneys Provide To Injured Pedestrians

Since incidents where pedestrians are struck tend to result in catastrophic injuries, the road back to wellness can be particularly long and complicated. Stress does not help improve your mental and physical health but is instead detrimental to it.

Our law firm, Barrera Law Group, can compile the police report, medical records, pay stubs, and any other documentation needed to build a strong case for compensation for you. Additionally, we can bring in medical and crash reconstruction experts if needed to help make sense of your injuries and causation and how what you’ve been through may impact your future health and work prospects. The latter is key to substantiating your request for maximum compensation.

So, if you want to focus solely on getting better and prefer someone else to request documentation and handle back-and-forth communication with insurers and others, we’re your team to do that. We are also more than willing to take your case to trial if reaching an outside-of-court agreement on a settlement appears to be an effort in futility. In other words, we’ll fight for you and your right to a financial recovery until the very end. Contact us for a free consultation with an Albuquerque pedestrian accident lawyer today.

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