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.

Inadequate lighting

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.

Unsafe design

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.