If you've suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one, an Atlanta injury lawyer can help answer your questions on how to win your personal injury claim in a Georgia personal injury court!
At S. Burke Law we are here to help give answers to these important questions. Our Frequently Asked Question database covers the common questions you may have regarding what to do after a serious accident, how to file a claim in personal injury court, and tips on how to win your personal injury claim. When researching information on the legal process following a serious accident you want legitimate advice from a source you can trust.
When you’ve suffered serious losses and damages from an accident due to the negligence of another you aren’t alone. An Atlanta injury lawyer from our office is always available to answer additional questions not addressed on our page. Contact us for a FREE consultation and get the answers you need to seek compensation for your losses!
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Who Can You Sue for a Pedestrian Accident?
Many things can cause a pedestrian to get hurt. An inattentive driver can strike a person who is walking across the street. A construction company can create a hazardous condition on a sidewalk that hurts a walker. Under Georgia law, you can sue for a pedestrian accident or whoever was negligent in causing the accident that injured you. Sometimes, more than one party caused or contributed to the incident.
The Right-of-Way and Pedestrians
It can be hard to provide a simple answer to questions about who has the right-of-way between cars and walkers. Here are some of the general concepts you need to know:
- Pedestrians do not have an absolute right-of-way.
- Drivers of motor vehicles do not have an absolute right-of-way.
- Pedestrians and drivers should obey all applicable laws, like traffic signals and signs.
- If a walker is crossing the street, a driver must slow down and wait for the person to cross safely, even if the car has a green light.
- A driver might not be liable if a pedestrian suddenly darted into the street, and the vehicle operator could not stop in time to avoid a collision.
- Both walkers and drivers must make a reasonable effort to avoid accidents, regardless of who has the legal right to proceed at that moment.
You do not have to try to figure out who will be liable in your pedestrian accident case. There are so many variables that we cannot possibly list all of them here. We will be happy to evaluate your situation and let you know if you might have a right to compensation for your losses.
When a Driver Can Be Liable for Your Pedestrian Accident Damages
If a driver was careless and that negligence caused you to sustain harm, the driver can be responsible to pay your losses. Scenarios in which the driver of a motor vehicle can be liable include a driver who:
- Struck a pedestrian who was in a crosswalk with the “walk” signal.
- Ran a red light or stop sign.
- Was speeding.
- Was impaired by alcohol or other drugs.
- Was distracted.
- Was talking or texting.
- Drove onto the sidewalk.
- Struck a pedestrian on the edge of the road where there was no sidewalk.
- Was sleep-deprived.
There are many other factors that can cause a pedestrian accident due to the fault or negligence of the driver.
When a Non-Driver Can Be Liable for Your Pedestrian Accident Losses
Sometimes people on foot get hurt by something that is not the fault of a car driver. Let’s say that a construction company is working on a site adjacent to a sidewalk and street. The firm should erect protective devices to shield walkers from harm by the construction activities or vehicles on the street.
The construction company closed the sidewalk and put up signage that directed pedestrians to use the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street. If the contractor blocks the view of walkers so that they cannot see oncoming traffic before stepping into the street to get to the sidewalk, the company can be responsible for pedestrians who get injured as a result.
Also, the contractor can be liable for harm to walkers from falling debris and other injury caused by the construction work. The law will look to the source of the negligence that harmed you to determine who will be responsible for your losses.
Damages in Pedestrian Accident Claims
Pedestrians can go after the same types of money damages as people in any other type of personal injury lawsuit. Every case is different, and the compensation you can collect will depend on the facts of your claim. Here are some of the common kinds of personal injury damages:
- Lost income damages can help to replace time that you missed from work without pay because of the injuries and recuperation time. This category can include things like wages, salary, self-employment, and benefits.
- Decreased ability to earn income. Pedestrians often sustain severe injuries when motor vehicles hit them. If your injuries leave you incapable of making as much money before or prevent you from working at all to support yourself, this loss can be part of your damages claim.
- Medical expenses. Georgia law allows you to recover the reasonable cost of treatment you needed for your injuries, beginning with the ambulance and going through until you achieve full recuperation. The emergency room, diagnostic testing, imaging studies like x-rays, surgery, doctors, prescription drugs, and physical therapy are but a few examples of recoverable medical expenses.
- Long-term care can add up to an astronomical cost if you suffered catastrophic injuries.
- Non-economic losses. Once we prove your physical injuries, we can go after money damages for things like your pain and suffering, disfigurement, and loss of consortium.
- Wrongful death. If your close relative died in a pedestrian accident, we can pursue compensation for additional losses.
According to Georgia’s statute of limitations, you have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit, so don’t wait to take legal action and receive the compensation you deserve.
Getting Legal Help After a Pedestrian Accident
Call S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 to call for a free consultation if you want to sue for a pedestrian vs. car accident, or other accident or event in which you were injured. We treat our clients like family. You will feel valued instead of feeling like a number. We want to help you get all the compensation you deserve from your pedestrian accident so that you can rebuild your life.
What Are the Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?
Many different things can cause pedestrian accidents. While walkers might automatically blame vehicle drivers and people operating cars might think that pedestrians are careless, in reality, the situation is far more complicated than that.
Because a vehicle can cause catastrophic or even fatal injuries when it strikes a person who is on foot, it is essential for both pedestrians and drivers to be aware of what can cause these devastating accidents. Knowing the factors that can lead to a crash can help you avoid this type of accident.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Here are some of the most frequent causes of accidents involving pedestrians:
Impaired drivers and pedestrians
One of the leading causes of pedestrian accidents is that either the driver, the walker, or both are under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. A drunk or drugged driver is less likely to notice a walker.
If the impaired driver does see the pedestrian, she might not be able to react in time to avoid hitting the person on foot. People need to be aware that prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications can have as much of an effect on a person's ability to operate a vehicle safely as alcohol or street drugs.
Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol can also put the pedestrian at risk of injury. He is more likely to stumble and fall into the street than a sober walker. Because alcohol or drugs can impair his ability to make sound judgments, he might step right out into the street into the path of oncoming traffic. His reaction times can be slower, and he might be less attentive to his surroundings than a person who is not under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
Both drivers and walkers are guilty of not paying attention to what they are doing. Even the mere act of being lost in thought about a difficult day at work or an argument you had with your spouse can cause you not to notice, for example, a pedestrian in the crosswalk.
Today's high-tech vehicles have many gadgets that can distract the driver. Onboard navigation systems, apps that can locate nearby shopping or restaurants or direct you around a traffic jam and changing the radio station can pull the driver's attention away from the street. A tragic accident can happen within a few seconds.
Younger drivers tend to have different distractions, like talking with their passengers, using the cell phone to talk or text, and using apps on mobile devices.
Also, pedestrians are prone to having their attention diverted while walking. At any busy intersection crowded with pedestrians, you can find people who are staring at their cell phones instead of looking at the path ahead of them. You do not have to drive very far in any city to see a pedestrian step right out into the street without looking. Distracted walking is an issue.
Many pedestrians get hit by cars on dark or dimly lit streets. The highest risks for these situations are when walkers are out at night time, at dawn or dusk, during bad weather, and on poorly lit or unlit sidewalks and roads.
Also, poor lighting can lead to a pedestrian stumbling on an obstruction or uneven pavement that he could not see. If he falls into the street, a car could hit him.
Pedestrians can be hard for drivers to see, but sometimes cars are not easy to spot either. If the car is driving without its lights on in low light or bad weather situations, a pedestrian might step out in front of the vehicle because she did not see the car coming. Hybrid and electric vehicles increase the risk of pedestrian accidents because walkers cannot always hear these cars.
Many pedestrians do what it takes to stay safe when crossing streets but some towns are not pedestrian-friendly. These city planners do not put much effort into designing streets, sidewalks, and pedestrian walkways that are safe. In these environments, walkers are at higher risk of getting hit by a car.
What Happens if More Than One Person is Negligent in a Pedestrian Accident
It used to be the case that if an injured person was even one percent at fault for an accident, he would get absolutely no compensation for his damages. Georgia is one of the states that follows a different rule.
Under George's law of comparative negligence, a pedestrian whose carelessness contributed to the accident can still recover some damages for his injuries. The rule will reduce the amount of his recovery in proportion to his percentage of the total fault in the accident. In other words, if a walker was distracted by having a conversation with another pedestrian when a car hit him, he can still recover some damages from the car's driver if the driver was also negligent.
Let's say that the walker had $100,000 in damages from his injuries. If the judge decided that the pedestrian was 10 percent fault, the role of comparative negligence would reduce his recovery by 10 percent, and he could get $90,000 in compensation.
You can call S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 and get a free consultation. There is no obligation.
What Is an Unmarked Crosswalk in Georgia?
An unmarked crosswalk is a place where pedestrians can cross the street at intersections, located at the point between one side of the roadway and the other. A marked crosswalk has painted white lines to designate the pedestrian pathway, but an unmarked crosswalk does not.
An unmarked crosswalk can only exist at an intersection. Unmarked crosswalks can be at four-way intersections as well as other types of intersections. In contrast, a marked crosswalk can exist at an intersection, in the middle of a city block, or at some other location that is not an intersection.
How to Identify an Unmarked Crosswalk
Unmarked crosswalks do not have pedestrian crossing signs or flashing lights. These crossing points also do not have lines, images, or words painted on the surface of the roadway. While it can be difficult to identify or notice an unmarked crosswalk as opposed to a marked one, the pedestrian has the right-of-way in both types of crosswalks, marked and unmarked.
An unmarked crosswalk is usually the space between the sidewalk on one side of a street and the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street, in other words, from curb to curb. When there are no sidewalks or curbs, an unmarked crosswalk can be the space from the edge of the road on one side of the street going over across the traffic lanes to the edge of the road on the opposite side of the street.
Why the Term "Unmarked Crosswalk" Is So Confusing
An "unmarked crosswalk" can cause confusion because the lack of white lines or other indicators makes it appear as though a crosswalk does not exist at that location. From a legal standpoint, however, there is no difference between a marked crosswalk in an unmarked crosswalk.
The Legal Responsibilities of Pedestrians at Marked or Unmarked Crosswalks
The law designates crosswalks as the locations where pedestrians are supposed to cross streets. Pedestrians are not supposed to step out into the street in areas that are not crosswalks. A common term for crossing the street in a place that is not a crosswalk is "jaywalking."
When a pedestrian is not in a crosswalk, the pedestrian is supposed to yield the right-of-way to drivers. This concept means that you must wait until traffic has cleared to cross the street if you are not in a crosswalk.
Pedestrians have the right-of-way when in a marked or unmarked crosswalk (in a marked crosswalk they must have the walk sign), but even this rule has limitations. A walker is not allowed to dart out into the path of a moving vehicle, even in a marked or unmarked crosswalk, if the car will not be able to stop in time safely. This rule means that if you get hurt because you step out into oncoming traffic, even in a crosswalk, the driver might not have to pay for your damages.
What Motor Vehicle Drivers Must Do at Marked or Unmarked Crosswalks
Whether the crosswalk is marked or unmarked, motorists have to stop and remain stopped when a pedestrian is in the crosswalk. The driver is not allowed to proceed until the pedestrian has cleared the driver's side of the road.
In other words, if there are two lanes of traffic going north and there are two southbound lanes, a driver going north must stop and remain stopped until pedestrian in the crosswalk has cleared both northbound lanes. The northbound drivers do not have to wait until the pedestrian also crosses the southbound lanes and reaches the far sidewalk.
Georgia law prohibits motorists from passing or going around drivers who have stopped for pedestrians in the crosswalk. This rule applies to both marked and unmarked crosswalks.
Because they can be hard to spot, as they lack painted lines, flashing lights, or signs, unmarked crosswalks are often the site of pedestrian accidents.
What to Do if You Were Hurt in a Pedestrian Accident in a Crosswalk
If you were injured in a pedestrian accident while crossing the street, you may be entitled to compensation. Call S. Burke Law today at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation with us. Our car accident lawyers can explain how crosswalk laws can affect your injury claim and answer any questions you might have about your legal right to compensation.
How Do I Stay Safe as a Pedestrian in Georgia?
Every situation is different, so the steps you should take to keep yourself safe as a pedestrian in Georgia can vary from these suggestions. Be sure to evaluate what you need to do on a case-by-case basis.
Assess the Risk of Injury as a Pedestrian
People going around on foot have little if any physical protection from injury. If something crashes into you when you are out walking, you could sustain severe injuries. Let’s say that a car jumps the curb and hits a walker. The pedestrian could suffer catastrophic or fatal injuries, and the people in the vehicle could come through the accident without a scratch.
People on foot should assess their risks at all times. Some of the common dangers that pedestrians face includes
- Drivers of motor vehicles who do not notice people on foot walking along the street, crossing the road, or in a crosswalk.
- Drivers who leave the roadway and come up into the sidewalk because of a medical emergency, mechanical failure, collision with another vehicle, trying to avoid an accident, inattentiveness, or driving drunk.
- People riding bicycles, mopeds, or motorcycles.
- Animals, like stray dogs or pets not wearing a leash.
- Hazards on the walking surface, like uneven pavement, debris, slick spots, and open utility hole covers.
- Other pedestrians, including people who are running, riding skateboards, or not looking where they are going.
Staying Safe While Walking
In addition to knowing the risks pedestrians face when out walking, there are additional things you can do to stay safe as a pedestrian in Georgia:
Be vigilant. Put away the cell phone. This is no time to be texting, talking on the phone, taking photos, or playing with apps or games. You cannot take evasive action around a hazard if you are oblivious to it.
Be sober. Many pedestrians who get hurt are under the influence of alcohol or other drugs and fall or walk out into the street, where they get hit by a car.
Use crosswalks and traffic signals, especially after dark or around dawn or dusk. You are more likely to become an injury statistic during those times. If you have to be on foot then, assume that drivers and other people cannot see you.
What to Do if You Get Hurt as a Pedestrian
After you get immediate medical attention, call a personal injury lawyer to protect your right to compensation. We investigate every pedestrian accident injury case we handle. We can collect the evidence we need to build and prove your claim.
The insurance company might try some sneaky tactics, like offering you a quick check for a paltry amount that does not begin to cover your losses. That check can be tempting, but it could cost you in the end.
If you have not yet completed all of your medical treatment and healed entirely, you do not know if you will need additional medical procedures, like surgery. Once you accept the settlement check, the insurance company will not pay you any more money, even if you have a stack of medical bills from later treatment.
Your personal injury lawyer can protect you by:
- Dealing directly with the insurance adjuster so that you do not have to.
- Protecting you from lowball settlements that can ruin you financially.
- Gathering the documents like police reports and talking to witnesses.
- Reviewing settlement documents to make sure that they are fair and reasonable.
Damages in Pedestrian Accidents
Every pedestrian accident is different. Your damages will depend on the facts of your situation. The damages in these cases can include things like:
Medical expenses: for the treatment you needed because of your injuries, including the ambulance, emergency room, surgery, hospital, doctors, diagnostic testing, and physical therapy.
Lost wages: to replace income that you lost because of your injuries, including wages, salary, self-employment, and other income.
Decreased earning potential: if your injuries cause you to be unable to make as much money as before the accident.
Disability: if you cannot maintain employment to support yourself because of the harm you sustained.
Long-term care: for people whose catastrophic injuries leave them in need of daily medical treatment and assistance with personal care.
Assistive equipment: that you need because of your injuries, for example, crutches, walkers, wheelchairs, home modifications like wheelchair ramps, and adaptive vehicles.
Pain and suffering: for the physical discomfort, emotional distress, and inconvenience you experienced because of the accident.
How to Get Help for Your Pedestrian Injury Case in Georgia
We know that the laws about negligence, liability, and damages can be confusing. Do not worry. We will be happy to explain these legal issues and answer your questions. Just call the office of S. Burke Law today at 404-842-7838, and we will line up a free consultation for you. There is no obligation. Because our legal fees come out of the settlement or verdict, there are no upfront legal fees.
Can a Pedestrian Hit by a Motorcycle File an Insurance Claim?
Yes, a pedestrian hit by a motorcycle can usually file an insurance claim against one or more insurance policies. It can be confusing to try to make sense of several different kinds of insurance policies, but we can navigate through that process so that you do not have to. We deal with insurance companies every day.
The Motorcycle Rider’s Liability Insurance
If the motorcyclist was negligent and caused the wreck, you should be able to make a claim against their liability insurance policy for your damages. The purpose of liability insurance is to pay for the harm that a person causes when their negligence hurts someone else.
The Pedestrian’s Uninsured or Underinsured Automobile Policy
The pedestrian might be able to make a claim on their own automobile insurance policy if they carry uninsured coverage and the motorcycle rider does not have liability insurance. Another possibility is if the walker has underinsured coverage and the motorcycle rider does not have enough coverage to pay the pedestrian’s losses in full.
The Motorcycle Rider’s Umbrella Liability Policy
This insurance can cover amounts that the motorcyclist’s bike liability policy does not pay, or if they do not have liability insurance on their motorcycle. Not everyone buys “umbrella” liability policies, but if the motorcyclist who hit you does have this coverage, it can provide a high level of compensation.
The Pedestrian’s Health Insurance Policy
If there is no other insurance that can help with your losses, you might be able to get your health insurance to pay for some of your medical bills. Be aware, however, that many health insurance policies specifically exclude coverage for motor vehicle accidents.
How to Determine Who is Liable for Your Injuries
You cannot file a claim against someone’s insurance merely because they were in an accident with you. We must prove that the person is responsible for your injuries before we can pursue damages.
We will have to satisfy all four of these elements of liability to seek compensation for your pedestrian vs. motorcycle accident:
Duty of care: The motorcycle rider must have owed the pedestrian a duty of care. This factor is easy since every driver of a motor vehicle has a responsibility to obey the law and operate their car, truck, or motorcycle with caution.
Breach of the duty: If the motorcycle rider does not live up to the legal duty of care, they are negligent. Let’s say that the motorcycle rider’s blood alcohol level was over the legal limit. Breaking the law that prohibits driving while under the influence of alcohol is negligence.
Causation: Their negligence must have caused the accident that injured the pedestrian. Because of their intoxication, the motorcycle rider lost control of their bike, running off the road and onto the sidewalk, where they struck the walker. This fact pattern satisfies the causation element of liability.
Actual harm: The pedestrian must have suffered damages to file an insurance claim for the wreck. This can include medical bills, lost wages, etc.
Damages in a Pedestrian-Motorcycle Accident
Once we establish liability, we can pursue compensation for your damages. Every case is different, and the actual recovery you get will depend on the facts of your case, but here are some of the common damages in pedestrian accidents:
- Lost wages: These damages compensate you for wages, salary, self-employment, and other income that you lost because of the wreck and recuperation.
- Diminished earning capacity: You may entitled to compensation if you cannot make as much money as before because of your injuries.
- Disability: In the event that your injuries leave you unable to support yourself through gainful employment.
- Medical expenses: All of the reasonable and necessary medical bills you incurred because of the collision. These costs can include things like the ambulance fees, emergency room, hospital, diagnostic testing, x-rays, surgery, doctors, prescription drugs, and physical therapy.
- Ongoing or future medical care: For situations in which you will need additional or continuing medical services because of your injuries.
- Long-term care: In a case involving devastating injuries, you might need daily assistance with medical treatments and personal care.
- Pain and suffering: This category honors the physical discomfort and emotional distress you endured.
- Loss of enjoyment of life: If your injuries make you unable to engage in activities that brought you joy before the accident, like walking or hiking, you might experience loss of enjoyment of life.
- Disfigurement: This type of damage applies when the injuries caused significant scars or other disfigurement.
Every case is unique, but it can be complicated for a pedestrian hit by a motorcycle to file an insurance claim after a motorcycle hits you. The multiple possibilities of insurance coverage that could apply to your losses can be overwhelming.
You do not have to sort through all of those issues on your own. Just call S. Burke Law, and we will be happy to talk with you about your claim at no charge to you. Call us today at 404-842-7838 for your free consultation. We do not charge legal fees until you win.
How Much Is a Pedestrian Accident Settlement?
Every pedestrian accident has unique facts, so the amount of compensation a person can get in a settlement for a pedestrian accident claim will vary widely. If you were lucky, and you suffered only minor harm, your settlement will be much less than the settlement for a person with life-changing injuries.
Although we cannot tell how much a pedestrian accident claim will be worth for purposes of settlement value without meeting with you and getting more information, several factors consistently affect how much compensation you can receive.
Contact S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 to schedule a free case evaluation and consultation.
Initial Financial Losses You Sustained
Getting injured comes with costs. The initial losses are usually:
Medical expenses. Any reasonable amount for services you needed because of the wreck will usually be a part of your settlement. In the early days, your medical care can include things like:
- Emergency room
- Diagnostic imaging (x-rays, CAT scans), blood tests, and other lab work
Lost wages. Even a minor injury can cause you to miss a few days or more of work. Whether your pay is hourly or salary, you can get compensation for the income you missed out on because of the pedestrian accident. We will use your wage records to show the income you lost.
Your Long-Term Financial Losses
Some people heal completely after the initial medical care and recuperation time. Others, unfortunately, have to endure more extensive medical procedures. Some people never achieve a full recovery of their pre-accident function. The more severe your injuries and more significant and lasting the impact on your life, the larger your settlement is likely to be.
Your settlement can include:
Ongoing medical procedures: such as subsequent surgeries, physical therapy, occupational therapy, complications from the injuries, and wound care.
Rehabilitation: usually for head trauma, spinal cord injuries, and other catastrophic harm.
Decreased earning potential: in the event that you can no longer earn as much money after the accident because of your injuries.
Disability: if you are unable to work at all because of the injuries.
Long-term assistance: if your injuries render you unable to perform some functions of daily living, like dressing, bathing, eating, and meal preparation.
Assistive equipment: if your injuries make it necessary for you to use modified transportation, need home modifications like wheelchair ramps, buy equipment for home use like lift devices, or require mobility items like crutches, wheelchairs, or walkers.
Your Non-Economic Damages
Having someone reimburse you for the out-of-pocket costs you incurred because of that person’s negligence is a positive first step toward making you whole, but if you sustained physical injuries in a pedestrian accident, you might also have suffered these damages, which can be part of your settlement:
Pain and suffering: for the physical pain, inconvenience, and mental distress you experienced.
Loss of enjoyment of life: to give value to things the accident took away from you – things that brought you joy – like hiking, running, and living independently.
Disfigurement. If someone’s negligence caused you to sustain extensive scars or dismemberment, you have suffered a loss in addition to the medical bills.
Emotional consequences. The trauma of experiencing a pedestrian accident can cause you to suffer depression, anxiety, fear, PTSD, and other mental health conditions that you would not have in your life but for the wreck.
How Comparative Negligence Affects the Amount of Your Settlement
We all make mistakes. In the state of Georgia, your negligence will not necessarily bar you from recovering damages for your losses. You can still collect compensation if:
- Someone else was also at fault; and
- Your negligence was less than 50 percent of the total fault in causing the accident.
The law of comparative negligence will reduce your compensation in proportion to the amount of your fault. On the other hand, if the judge says that you were 50 percent or more at fault, you will get nothing for your losses.
Thus, work with a lawyer who can help establish the other party’s negligence and fight back against any allegations of comparative negligence.
Tips to Avoid a Reduction in the Settlement Value of Your Pedestrian Injury Claim
Talk with a personal injury lawyer right away. The insurance company might try to get you to agree to a quick, early settlement for a lowball amount before you know the full extent of your injuries or how they will impact your life.
Taking the money will prevent you from getting any more money from the insurance company for this wreck, even if it turns out that you are never able to work again. Your lawyer will deal directly with the insurance company on your behalf.
Getting Help with Your Pedestrian Accident Injury Claim
There are specific actions you should take after an accident. S. Burke Law will talk with you and evaluate your pedestrian accident. Call us today at 404-842-7838 for your free consultation.
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.
Can I File a Pedestrian Accident Claim If I Was Hit by a Car Outside a Crosswalk?
Yes, you can file a pedestrian claim if you were hit by a car outside of a crosswalk. However, your ability to win that claim depends on the circumstances of your accident. While crosswalks are one area where pedestrians have the right of way, they are not the only place where drivers must exercise care.
Drivers must exercise a duty of care when navigating the streets. And that certainly applies to pedestrians, who are at greater risk to suffer injuries than drivers of other cars, even if they are outside a crosswalk. Georgia’s crosswalk laws cover the duties owed by drivers and pedestrians, and many of them translate outside of crosswalks.
Establishing Duty of Care and a Driver’s Responsibilities
Like most personal injury cases, the strength of your claim hinges on proving liability and negligence. And determining if a driver acted negligently requires establishing how a reasonable driver must act in a situation.
The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety in Georgia codifies how drivers and pedestrians alike must behave when sharing the road. Specifically, the office says that pedestrians have the right of way at crosswalks and all vehicles must yield to them. However, vehicles have the right of way in most other places such as intersections.
Drivers Have a Duty of Care to Pedestrians
While drivers often have right of way outside a crosswalk, this does not mean that you are automatically at-fault if you are hit by a car outside of a crosswalk. In fact, O.C.G.A. § 40-6-93 states: “every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian upon any roadway, shall give warning by sounding his horn when necessary, and shall exercise proper precautions upon observing any child or any obviously confused, incapacitated, or intoxicated person."
This Georgia code effectively establishes that even though drivers have the right of way, they must still do everything possible to avoid potential accidents. That may involve the driver changing lanes, honking their horn, or slowing down. Whatever it is, the driver must do his or her best to avoid the accident.
You Can Still Collect Damages
So, if you as a pedestrian crossed a street when there were no cars, but you get hit by a vehicle who pops into your line of sight late because the car was speeding, you can still file a claim and collect damages. Another instance when the pedestrian would likely not be at-fault is if the driver was drinking.
Comparative Negligence in Pedestrian Accidents
Georgia’s comparative negligence laws may factor into pedestrian accidents outside of crosswalks. Georgia is one of 12 states that use modified comparative negligence in personal injury cases.
Compensation Varies on Your Percentage at Fault
This means you can file a claim if you were less than 50 percent at fault for an accident. Pedestrian accidents outside of a crosswalk are an instance where this law could be very important. As a pedestrian, you are required to yield to oncoming traffic. But, like we mentioned above, there are instances when you may be unable to yield, and the driver must do everything in their power to avoid the accident.
If the driver’s inability to fulfill this duty of care was a larger cause of this accident than where you crossed the road, then you can file a claim.
Another way comparative negligence impacts your case is in how much you can collect. For example, if you were 35 percent at-fault for your pedestrian accident, then you can only collect 65 percent of the value of your damages.
An Atlanta Pedestrian Accident Attorney Can Help
Many people are under the impression that you are automatically at-fault if you are involved in a pedestrian accident outside of a crosswalk. This is far from the truth, and every accident deserves evaluation within context. And that is what a pedestrian accident lawyer at S. Burke Law can do for you.
Call S. Burke Law For a Free Case Evaluation
If you or someone you care about was involved in a pedestrian accident, we encourage you to call S. Burke Law. Pedestrian accidents are among the worst injuries you can suffer. You are likely facing high medical costs while also unable to work.We will pore over the details of your case and lay out your options. We understand how trying a time this is for you and your family. That is why we offer these services in a free consultation. Also, we do not collect a payment unless you win a settlement. So, you can feel at ease knowing there is little risk in contacting us. Call us today at 404-842-7838 to learn more about how we can help.
What is the Definition of Distracted Walking?
Distracted walking occurs when someone travels somewhere on foot without paying attention to their surroundings.
Why Is It Important to Know About Distracted Walking?
Most people commonly think about distracted driving as a leading cause of accidents. But distracted walking comes with many hazards and risks as well.
Dangers of Distracted Walking
Distracted walkers often cross streets more slowly and put themselves in danger. A University of Georgia study from 2013 shows that people who cross streets while distracted spend about one second longer in the crosswalk than those who are not distracted. The study also found that the distracted pedestrians were 2.34 times more likely to engage in “unsafe crossing behaviors,” such as a failure to look left or right, obey a traffic signal, or use a crosswalk.
Distracted walkers often misuse crosswalks. Distracted walkers often assume crosswalks are a safe time to pull out their handheld devices. While a driver should always stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk, this is not always the case. If a pedestrian is distracted while crossing an intersection, he will not have time to perform an evasive maneuver to avoid being hit by a distracted, reckless, or otherwise negligent motorist.
While a distracted driver can suffer injuries in a car accident, he has a steel frame to protect him from the force of impact. A distracted pedestrian has absolutely nothing to protect himself from impact with a vehicle.
Types of Distracted Walking That Can Cause a Serious Collision
There are several different types of distracted walking that could cause a serious accident:
- Walking while texting or browsing the web
- Walking while using a tablet
- Walking while talking on the phone
- Walking while having a conversation
- Walking while listening to music
- Walking while drunk
How Distracted Walking Affects an Atlanta Car Accident Claim
When a distracted motorist or pedestrian causes an accident, liability for any injuries falls on them. This means that if you caused an accident while you were walking and engaging in any of the distracting behaviors above, you may be financially responsible for your injuries and any other injuries that occur.
Responsibility in a Shared Fault Collision
Fault is not always cut-and-dried. In many cases, both the driver and pedestrian will share fault. For example, let us say you were texting and did not look for vehicles before stepping into the crosswalk. You had the right-of-way to go. A driver turned right when you stepped into the intersection, hitting you. The investigation found you to be 45 percent at-fault because you were distracted; the investigation found the driver to be 55 percent at-fault for the collision because you had the right of way.
Per Georgia’s comparative negligence laws, you are entitled to recover 55 percent of your damages. If your injury costs totaled $100,000, the driver would pay you $55,000.
Safety Tips for Atlanta Pedestrians
Like we mentioned above, texting while walking, active conversations, and listening to music represent a significant portion of pedestrian accidents. And while Atlanta does not have any distracted walking laws, distracted walking could limit your ability to collect damages if you are involved in a pedestrian accident. There are a few things you can do to lower the chances that distracted walking contributes to an accident:
- Put your phone away while crossing streets.
- Keep your head up when crossing intersections.
- If you are listening to music, either use only one headphone or keep the volume low enough to hear what is in your surroundings.
- Follow the rules of the road and follow street signals.
- Try not to use your handheld devices in parking lots.
However, we know that not all walkers pay attention at every second. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a distracted walking accident, we may be able to help you recover compensation.
Call an Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney for Help Today
Most of us are guilty of distracted walking at some point or another. We may climb a set of stairs while responding to a text and trip over a step. Or take a phone call while crossing busy intersections.
If you were involved in an accident recently, do not hesitate to call S. Burke Law. An Atlanta pedestrian accident attorney can discuss your case with you and determine whether you may be entitled to damages. If so, we can investigate your accident and begin creating defenses against accusations of fault on your part.
Call us now at 404-842-7838 for more information. Our consultations are always free, so there is no commitment.