Who Is at Fault If a Pedestrian Was Hit by a Car?

Whoever was negligent in causing the pedestrian accident is at fault. Under Georgia law, pedestrians do not always have the right-of-way, and neither do cars.

Contact S. Burke Law today, at 404-842-7838, for a free case review.

Location of the Accident Is a Significant Factor in Determining Fault

One factor that will determine fault is location. Where the accident happened will affect the duty of the driver and the pedestrian.

On a sidewalk: the car is most likely liable, but there are situations in which the walker can be at fault. For example, a vehicle was entering a parking lot whose entrance went over a sidewalk with curb cuts. The driver proceeded slowly and cautiously, but a pedestrian ran into the path of the car, and the driver could not stop in time. On the other hand, if a drunk driver jumps the curb and hits someone walking down the sidewalk, the driver is at fault.

In a crosswalk: the pedestrian usually has the right of way, but not always. If the pedestrian has a crossing signal (“Walk” as opposed to “Do Not Walk”), looks both ways, and crosses within the crosswalk, a car hitting the pedestrian will probably be liable. If, however, the walker enters the crosswalk when the signal displays the “Do Not Walk” instruction or steps out into the path of a car that is already in the intersection, the driver might not be responsible.

When jaywalking – it depends on the facts of the case. A pedestrian should not expect drivers to have to slam on their brakes for a pedestrian who does not want to walk to the crosswalk or wait for traffic to pass. On the other hand, drivers have to make a reasonable effort to avoid hitting walkers who step into the street.

Event Prior to the Accident

The events that transpired just before the collision are vital information to determining whose negligence caused the accident. Here are some examples of driver or walker behavior just before the wreck that can be a factor in deciding who is liable:

  • The driver drove too fast for the conditions.
  • The driver ran a red light or stop sign.
  • The driver was not paying attention to the road or keeping a careful lookout for vehicles and walkers.
  • The driver was impaired by alcohol or other drugs.
  • The pedestrian darted out into the road in front of a car that did not have sufficient time to stop.
  • The walker was jaywalking or crossing inside a crosswalk but in violation of the signs or electronic signals.
  • The pedestrian was not looking where she was walking because she was distracted by her companions or her cellphone.
  • The walker was impaired by alcohol or other drugs.

Multiple Negligent Parties

In some accident scenes, both parties are at fault. Even if one person committed the vast majority of the negligence, the other party might be slightly at fault. For example, a speeding driver lost control of her vehicle and hit a walker who was in the crosswalk but crossing against the light and signal. Both the driver and pedestrian may be at fault, but in widely differing degrees.

How we sort out liability when both parties were negligent.

Georgia follows the doctrine of modified comparative fault. Comparative fault allows an injured party to recover some damages despite his own negligence. The law will reduce the amount of his compensation in proportion to his fault.

The term “modified” refers to a limit that Georgia imposes on negligent injured people. If the plaintiff’s negligence was 50 percent or more of the total fault, he will get nothing for his losses. If he is only responsible for 49 percent or less of the total negligence, he will get some reduced damages.

How modified comparative fault works in a case.

If the judge holds the speeding driver at 90 percent fault and the pedestrian at 10 percent fault, the pedestrian can recover compensation for damages. For example, if his damages were $100,000, the law will deduct 10 percent ($10,000) to account for his negligence. Since the driver was more than 49 percent at fault, she cannot recover any compensation from the walker.

Contact S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation and case review.

How You Can Get Help With Your Pedestrian Accident Claim

A car accident lawyer from S. Burke Law can help you to file a claim. Call us at 404-842-7838 and we will schedule your no-cost case evaluation. There is no obligation, and we do not charge legal fees until you receive compensation.