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.