Helping Pedestrian Accident Victims Get the Compensation They Deserve
Pedestrians face higher dangers than most would care to admit when they walk on or alongside Georgia’s roads. Vehicle accidents involving pedestrians are unfortunately on the rise in Georgia. In turn, the increase in accidents leaves a larger number of pedestrians injured and killed.
According to a study by the Governors Highway Safety Association, Georgia saw a 32% increase in pedestrian deaths when comparing the first half of 2018 to the year before. Pedestrian fatalities doubled when comparing 2011 to 2016.
People who walk are put in serious danger when motor vehicle drivers choose to be careless. When these negligent drivers cause an accident that seriously hurts a pedestrian — or kills them — then victims and their families may be entitled to compensation for the resulting damages. A successful pedestrian accident injury claim can help victims pay for their medical bills, recover the income they lost if they missed work, compensate them for their pain and suffering, and more.
If you or a loved one have been hit by a car, LawyerUp will pair you with a pedestrian accident lawyer to help you seek the maximum amount of compensation available under the law. You can schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a personal injury attorney for pedestrians today when you contact us now.
Determining Fault in a Pedestrian Accident
Like most states, Georgia affords many protections to pedestrians who walk along roadways or attempt to cross them. After all, pedestrians are much more vulnerable to injuries than anyone in a vehicle, should the two get into a collision. Accordingly, Georgia pedestrian right of way laws expect vehicles to be wary of pedestrians and avoid compromising their safety, if at all possible.
O.C.G.A. § 40-6-91 states that, “the driver of a vehicle shall stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, or when the pedestrian is approaching and is within one lane of the half of the roadway on which the vehicle is traveling or onto which it is turning.”
This law is commonly interpreted to mean that a vehicle will be at fault in most situations where a pedestrian is crossing at a designated crosswalk and there is not a “DON’T WALK” signal present.
However, pedestrians are expected to not, “suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impractical for the driver to yield.”
A pedestrian must also yield right of way to vehicles when crossing somewhere other than a designated crosswalk, tunnel, or overpass.
Georgia law does acknowledge that pedestrians sometimes have no options for crossing at a crosswalk. In fact, there is no such thing as a “jaywalking” law in Georgia code, although some municipalities may have their own illegal crossing law.
Put together, these laws state that vehicles should do everything they can to not hurt pedestrians, especially when the vehicle is leaving a non-road area, such as a driveway or parking lot. Pedestrians do have a responsibility to obey traffic signals, cross at safe areas, and avoid walking into the path of an oncoming vehicle, so not every accident will automatically be deemed the fault of the driver.
An experienced injured pedestrian lawyer can use the legal protections afforded pedestrians to establish whether a driver violated their duty to exercise care in avoiding hitting a pedestrian. If the driver exhibited negligent behavior and the pedestrian did not, then the pedestrian injury claim has a strong chance of establishing the other party’s fault.
Reasons a Driver Could Be Determined At-Fault for a Pedestrian Accident
There are many reasons a driver could be legally held responsible for the consequences of a collision with a pedestrian, including:
- Distracted driving — Driving while texting, multitasking, getting distracted by passengers, and generally taking their eyes off the road.
- Driving under the influence — Driving after having consumed any inhibiting substance, including both illegal and prescription drugs. Drivers who do not have a documented 0.08 BAC could still be determined to be under the influence if a police officer believes their consumption affected their driving.
- Speeding and reckless driving — Dangerous driving maneuvers, such as speeding or changing lanes abruptly, can cause drivers to not see pedestrians in time to avoid a collision. A driver may also run off the road and strike a pedestrian when they drive carelessly.
- Failure to stop/yield — Drivers have a responsibility to stop at all designated pedestrian crossings and to avoid a pedestrian through all reasonable means when the pedestrian is crossing improperly.
- Failure to maintain vehicle — Vehicles that have problems as a result of owner neglect, such as bad brakes or steering wheel racks that turn slowly, can contribute to the circumstances of a pedestrian accident.
- Failure to survey surroundings — Drivers who do not exercise ordinary care may not spot a pedestrian in time to avoid them, such as when turning left through a crosswalk.
Pedestrians can also contribute to their accidents in some circumstances, such as when they walk on on-ramps, bridges, or other pathways where pedestrians are not permitted. In the event that a pedestrian contributed to the circumstances of their accident, Georgia’s modified comparative negligence laws can reduce the available damages by the percentage of fault that the injury victim contributed.
Paying for Your Medical Bills after a Pedestrian Accident
A driver who hits a pedestrian and does not flee the scene may use their third-party liability insurance to pay for the hospital bills and other expenses of the injured pedestrian. Unfortunately, a large percentage of pedestrian accidents turn into a hit-and-run incident, forcing police and victims to locate the perpetrator in order to recover liability compensation.
In the event that a driver hits a pedestrian and flees, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) can help pay for the costs of the accident.
How Working with a Personal Injury Attorney for Pedestrians Can Help Your Case
Working with a pedestrian injury attorney can give you the legal services and guidance you need to take the pressure off of you following your accident. Your attorney will explore all available legal options and undertake the process of filing claims on your behalf.
Insurers can use tactics that reduce your potential claim size, such as offering you an unfair settlement amount or disputing fault. In these cases, an injured pedestrian lawyer can fight on your behalf for fair compensation — up to and including taking your case to court when no fair settlement agreement can be reached.
Explore your options for filing a pedestrian injury claims when you speak with a personal injury attorney for absolutely free. You can schedule your free, no obligation case review when you contact LawyerUp today.