In today’s harried times, it seems like most people are in a constant hurry. Sometimes, that hurry can even extend to crossing busy streets. Of course, you know the safest way to cross any street is to wait at the crosswalk for the traffic light to signal when it is safe.
Were you in a hurry to cross the street and jaywalked where there was no designated crossing area or when the traffic light was not in your favor? Were you involved in a car accident when you were jaywalking and are left wondering what to do next? If so, you are probably asking yourself, “Can I sue if I was hit by a car while jaywalking?”
Even if you were jaywalking at the time of your car accident, the state may still allow you to sue the driver who hit you. This happens because the law holds drivers and pedestrians equally responsible for safely navigating the roads. If you were hit while jaywalking, seek the advice of an attorney as soon as possible.
How the Law Governs Pedestrians in Georgia
You should make a point of paying careful attention to the road and refraining from crossing a busy street while texting, chatting, or doing anything else that takes your concentration off of traffic and the crosswalk. In the state of Georgia, pedestrians are required to be alert and to obey the following laws for their own safety and for the safety of other people on foot and road traffic:
- Pedestrians must obey all traffic lights, signs, and signals.
- Pedestrians should avoid entering a crosswalk or leaving a curb when street traffic makes it unsafe to do so.
- Pedestrians should only enter the street at designated or safe areas and should yield the right of way to vehicles unless he is already in the roadway.
Georgia puts these laws in place for safety reasons, and pedestrians should obey them at all times. If you did not meet one of these conditions and were struck by a car, you may need the help and guidance of an attorney.
How the Law Governs Drivers in Georgia
In Georgia, the driver of a vehicle is required to exercise caution when driving on streets and highways. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-93 states that drivers must acknowledge pedestrians in the following ways:
- Drivers should do everything in their power to avoid hitting a pedestrian.
- Drivers must beep their horns to alert pedestrians to their approaching presence.
- Drivers must show extra care and caution for certain pedestrians like children, adults with cognitive impairments, or inebriated adults.
In other specific incidences, pedestrians are required to yield to vehicle traffic. In certain situations, you may be able to sue if you were hit by a car even while you were jaywalking. Speak to an attorney in your area who can examine and explain the circumstances of the jaywalking car accident that caused your injuries.
Common Pedestrian and Jaywalking Accident Causes
In 2016, almost 129,000 pedestrians sought emergency medical care as the result of being struck by a car, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Of those, almost 6,000 pedestrian-involved car accidents resulted in fatalities. Sadly, many of these deaths were caused by pedestrians who crossed urban streets in areas other than at designated intersections.
- Pedestrian accidents and fatalities are more likely to occur in urban versus rural areas, according to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration.
- Pedestrian accidents are less likely to happen at designated intersections.
- Pedestrian accidents occur significantly more frequently occur at night.
Additional research shows that children and older adults have high incidents of pedestrian accidents.
Penalties for Striking a Pedestrian
If you or a member of your family was involved in a jaywalking accident, speak to a pedestrian accident lawyer who can help you understand your rights and the responsibilities of the driver who hit you.
The state of Georgia holds drivers who strike pedestrians responsible for their actions and can impose criminal penalties such as misdemeanors, which might result in fines of at least $250 for a first offender. Additional infractions could result in a driver paying fines of up to $1,000 in addition to mandated jail time.
You May Be Able to Recover From a Jaywalking Accident
If you were involved in a car accident while you were crossing the street against traffic, you may feel as if you have no claim against the driver who struck you.
You might be surprised to learn that in some instances, you may be able to recover the cost of the medical bills you incurred as a result of the accident. Before you assume you do not have the right to legally pursue the driver of the car that hit you, speak to a lawyer. Contact S. Burke Law at (404) 842-7838 to discuss your case and possible financial recovery with a lawyer near you today.