One might assume that when a driver hits a pedestrian, the driver will have to pay the losses of the injured walker. The liability of the driver, however, is not automatic. The injured person will have to prove all of the required legal factors for liability before the court will make the driver pay financial damages.
Pedestrians do not always have the right of way, and neither do drivers. Even when there are clear rules, there can be exceptions. For example:
- A pedestrian enters the crosswalk even though the crosswalk signal says, “Do Not Walk.” Drivers in the cross-traffic lanes have a green light. Despite the fact that a driver in these lanes has the right of way, he must make a reasonable effort to avoid striking the pedestrian.
- A pedestrian steps into the crosswalk when the crosswalk signal says, “Walk.” The cross-traffic lanes have a red light. Nonetheless, the pedestrian should not step out into the path of a vehicle that does not stop for the red light.
Both drivers and walkers must exercise common sense. They should not risk anyone’s safety on the grounds of the right of way. Pedestrians and drivers should pay attention to their surroundings and take reasonable measures to avoid accidents.
Determining Liability When a Car Hits a Pedestrian
Although the law appears to be murky on the issue of who has the right of way, it is not that difficult to determine who is at fault. We must prove all four of these factors to hold someone responsible for your losses:
- Duty of care. The person you are suing for your injuries must have owed you a duty of care. All drivers of motor vehicles owe a duty of care to everyone within harm’s way. The driver must operate the car cautiously and obey the traffic regulations.
- Breach of duty. It is negligence when someone’s conduct fails to measure up to a legal standard. Let’s say that the driver was speeding through an area with many shops and pedestrians. Failure to drive at a safe speed violates the duty of care, so the driver is negligent.
- Causation. The careless act must be what causes the accident and injuries. In this scenario, the driver lost control of his car because of his unsafe speed. The car jumped the sidewalk and plowed through a group of pedestrians, injuring several of them. In this situation, the negligence caused the accident and injuries.
- Quantifiable losses. To pursue an injury claim for negligence, you must have measurable damage. A physical injury satisfies this element. A bystander who saw the event but did not get hurt physically usually cannot sue for compensation.
When we can prove all four factors, we can go after your financial losses like medical expenses and lost wages, as well as appropriate noneconomic damages like pain and suffering.
Damages When a Pedestrian is Hit by Car
When a driver hits a pedestrian, we cannot throw out a number to represent the amount of compensation we pursue. Every case is different. We will have to talk to you and investigate your claim to determine the amount of money damages for your case.
Some of the common types of compensation in these cases include:
If you missed paychecks because of the accident and your injuries, you can seek to recover the wages, salary, self-employment, and other forms of income that you lost.
Diminished Earning Potential
Sometimes, people cannot work long hours, or they have to take a lower-paying job because of a severe injury. For example, a machinist whose job requires him to stand most of the time might not be able to work full-time or perform his job at all after a pedestrian accident that shattered his hip or pelvis. The difference in income can be part of an injury claim.
Georgia law allows you to recover the reasonable cost of medical treatment you needed for your injuries. Some examples include the ambulance, emergency room, surgery, doctor appointments, x-rays, lab tests, hospital, prescription drugs, physical therapy, and pain management costs.
Pedestrians struck by a car often sustain severe injuries. For example, a walker who suffers spinal cord damage might need weeks or months of treatment in a specialized care center.
If the pedestrian experienced a traumatic brain injury, he might have to live in a long-term care facility. When catastrophic harm causes significant impairment, the person might be incapable of living independently. He might need daily help with medical treatments and ordinary tasks like eating or dressing. A person whose injuries leave him in a minimally conscious or vegetative state will need to live in a long-term care center.
Pain and Suffering
This category of damages accounts for the physical discomfort and emotional distress of getting hit by a car. Payment of the medical bills alone does not fairly compensate the victim.
The financial damages you can pursue will depend on the facts of your case.
At S. Burke Law, we treat our clients like family. If you want attentive, personalized legal services, call us today at (404) 842-7838. The initial consultation is free, and there is no obligation.