I was Run Over By A Car While I was Crossing The Street but There was No Marked Crosswalk
One of the things I do, as a personal injury lawyer in Mesa, Arizona is legal research. It is one thing I enjoy and I have gotten good at it over the past thirty years or so. It is a skill that is rapidly disappearing as most hit by a car personal injury lawyers in Mesa now rely on “Natural Language” on-line research which lets algorithms do all the work.
So, one day, a person came to the office. He did not think he had a case. Even though he was walking his bicycle at the time a car ran over him, causing significant injury by the way, he believed that since the street he was crossing did not have a marked cross-walk, he could not bring a claim.
What happened was that he was getting ready to cross the street on his bicycle when a bus stopped in front of him. The driver waived him on. Just as he appeared from out in front of the bus, he was hit by a car that was passing the stopped bus.
The shape of the road was in a T. He was crossing from one corner on the top of the T to the sidewalk on the other side. The insurance company did not want to cover this saying that he was not in a crosswalk and therefore the accident was my client’s fault.
I went to work, did a lot or research although I admit that I thought it was hopeless at first. In the end, I wrote the following letter and he was compensated for every dollar that he deserved.
A. Mr.____________ was in an unmarked crosswalk at the time he was hit.
Arizona Revised Statute 28-601 3 (a) and (b) defines cross-walks in Arizona. This statute provides, inter alia:
3. “Crosswalk” means:
(a) That part of a roadway at an intersection included within the prolongations or connections of the lateral lines of the sidewalks on opposite sides of the highway measured from the curbs or, in absence of curbs, from the edges of the traversable roadway.
(b) Any portion of a roadway at an intersection or elsewhere that is distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other markings on the surface. (emphasis added.)
This statue was discussed In Boulware v Carbajal 138 Ariz 118, 673 P2d 216 (Az App. Div 2 1983) cert denied Dec 13, 1983. in Boulware the Court struggled with a then recent amendment to the definitional section for crosswalk (now found at ARS 28-601(3)(A).) Liability in that case hinged on whether the plaintiff was in an “unmarked crosswalk” at the time of the accident. At the time, he was crossing a “T” intersection.
Although unmarked crosswalks are something that had existed for a long time, the definition used to define a “crosswalk” did not contain the emphasized language above. Thus a crosswalk could not exist when two roads intersected in the form of a “T” (meaning that one road butted into the other in a perpendicular fashion but did not transgress through the other road) because, in that configuration, there are no opposite side curbs or sidewalks to connect. However, while the Boulware case wound through the court system, the legislature amended the definition of a crosswalk, by adding the emphasized language above, specifically to include T intersections!
The Court noted that the new language creating unmarked crosswalks at T intersections was: “. . . or, in absence of curbs, from the edges of the traversable roadway…” Although adopted by the legislature AFTER the accident at issue in Boulware, the Court was very clear that had it been adopted before the accident, the defendant would have been liable to plaintiff because, then, the plaintiff would have been hit inside an unmarked crosswalk.
In the opinion, the Court quoted, with approval, the minutes of the senate committee on transportation:
In fact, the legislature changed the statute in response to two cases where Arizona citizens were hit while crossing a T intersection and denied compensation.
In our case, by application of law, Mr. ____________ was crossing from 6th Street at a access cut, the logical extension of which, to the opposite corner of Packard Drive, is an unmarked crosswalk. (why else would there be an access cut?) An unmarked crosswalk is functionally, and legally, the same as a marked crosswalk.
Now, the fact that Mr. ____________ was on bicycle, as opposed to walking, has no bearing on the protections afforded him in the crosswalk. In Maxwell v Gossett (1980) 126 Ariz 98, 612 P.2d 1062, the Court stated specifically held:
In Maxwell, the Court reasoned that while A.R.S. § 28-815(A) requires that bicycles must be ridden on the right side of the road or with the traffic. [The rider] was riding his bicycle in the crosswalk at the intersection. Whether he had been operating the bicycle on the left side, contrary to the statute, before he entered the crosswalk, whether he intended to continue operating his bicycle on the roadway, contrary to statute, after he left the crosswalk, or even whether he intended to ride his bicycle on the available sidewalk …, is immaterial as to whether he was negligent while riding his bicycle in the crosswalk. … Finally, defendants contend that by this statute, A.R.S. § 28-812, the automobile traffic laws apply to persons riding bicycles, and that, when read with A.R.S. § 28-831 defining safety zones and A.R.S. § 28-602(2) which defines crosswalks, it is unlawful to ride a bicycle in a crosswalk. We agree that this section generally applies the same traffic laws to riders of bicycles as it does to drivers of motor vehicles. The statute excludes, however, provisions “which by their nature have no application.” We do not read the cited statutes as prohibiting the riding of a bicycle in a cross-walk. … We note also that some courts have held that a crosswalk is not a part of the roadway for the purposes of the statute. [Emphasis added]
In short, the Arizona Supreme Court did not make ARS 28-815(A) applicable to crosswalks and it is NOT illegal to ride in them.
B. Since Mr. ____________ was protected within a crosswalk, liability moves to the driver of the automobile.
Once you understand that Mr. ____________ was within an unmarked crosswalk while crossing the street, and that he is afforded the same protections as a “pedestrian” within the crosswalk, the focus shifts not on his actions, but on the actions of the driver of the automobile. There are a plethora of laws that the driver of the vehicle disobeyed. Had he followed any of these laws, Mr. ____________ would not have been injured and he would not be making a claim.
” * * * Miller contends that at the time of the accident, Kelley Ann was a bicyclist subject to the requirements of the Motor Vehicle Code, RCW 46.61.755; the Crawfords contend that she was a pedestrian. RCW 46.04.400. The instruction directed the jury to determine which law applied. RCW 46.61.755 reads as follows:
Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this chapter, except as to special regulations in RCW 46.61.750 through 46.61.780 and except as to those provisions of this chapter which by their nature can have no application.
“This statute does not apply because it governs the rider of a bike in a ‘roadway,’ which is defined as ‘the paved, improved, or proper driving portion of a public highway designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel.’ RCW 46.04.500. A cross walk is not a roadway.” Crawford v Mil1er, 18 Wash.App. 151, 152-53, 566. P.2d 1264, 1265-66 (1977).” Maxwell, Id. at P2d 1062
For example, Tempe Ordnance Chapter 19, Sec. 151 (b) states, in the negative, that unless one is in a marked or unmarked crosswalk, one must yield the right-of-way to all vehicles on the roadway. (See also; Arizona Revised Statute 28-793 (A)) This, of course, means that the duty to yield is on the operator of a motor vehicle when approaching a marked or unmarked crosswalk.
Arizona Revised Code 28-792(B) further states that: If a vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of another vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass the stopped vehicle.
As you may recall, the bus obstructed the view of the driver of the vehicle that hit Mr. ____________. Going blindly past that bus, without making any attempt to ensure that, in fact, no pedestrians were crossing the street, does not absolve him of this duty to stop. If anything, the fact that he was driving blind past a BUS heightens the duty of care since the probability of pedestrians crossing in front of a bus at a T intersection with an unmarked crosswalk is higher than in most other situations. This is particularly true when on a college campus where mass transit is used by a large percentage of the young population.
To further implicate the driver of the automobile, Arizona statutory law is very clear that a person shall not drive to the left of the roadway center when approaching within one hundred feet of or traversing any intersection… (See ARS 28-726.) The driver of the vehicle in this case violated so many laws in this single act, it is difficult to keep them straight.
The final duty breached by the driver of the vehicle was his failure to give warning by sounding the horn when necessary as required by A.R.S. 28-794. If there ever is a time to tap one’s horn, it is when driving left of center passed a stopped bus, through an intersection containing an unmarked crosswalk; particularly when the bus is stopped at a bus stop. Common, everyday experience dictates that it is highly probable that, in this situation, there may be people walking out from in front of the bus. A school bus has a mechanical stop sign to remind drivers of this probability.
- Left Ear Avulsion, Facial Laceration – pedestrian $202,500.00
- Bilateral Wrist Fractures – pedestrian $337,500.00
- Open Fracture with tendon wound small finger $175,000.00
- Neck, back, lower back, $19,767.50
- Whiplash, Disk displacement $15,000.00
- Whiplash $8,000.00
- Multiple back and neck issue, whiplash (elderly) $76,000.00
- Whiplash with Knee Meniscus Injury $75,000.00
- Whiplash Back and neck $12,550.00
3 See also ARS 28-601(8) which defines intersection:"Intersection" means the area embraced within the prolongation or connection of the lateral curb lines, or if none, the lateral boundary lines of the roadways of two highways that join one another at, or approximately at, right
angles, or the area within which vehicles traveling on different highways joining at any other angle may come in conflict…” Clearly this includes
a T intersection!
Daniel Marco – Marco Injury Law
1166 E Warner Rd #101
Gilbert, AZ 85296
Email: [email protected]