Do Pedestrians Have the Right of Way Outside of a Crosswalk?

May 30, 2022

Pedestrian accidents are rarely minor. If you’re lucky, you may walk away with a few cuts and bruises, but more serious pedestrian accidents can cause severe injuries, permanent disability or even death.

Unlike motor vehicle operators, pedestrians are completely exposed to outside elements. Thus, when they get hit by a car, the consequences can be devastating. But who has the right of way in situations where a pedestrian is crossing the street outside of a crosswalk? If they’re hit by a car when they don’t have the right of way, are drivers still liable?

While it may be assumed that drivers should always yield to pedestrians attempting to cross the street, this isn’t true. If you’re trying to cross a street outside of a designated crosswalk, drivers aren’t obliged by law to stop for you. Instead, you’ll have to wait patiently for traffic to clear before crossing the street.

That doesn’t mean drivers have a right to hit you just because you’re crossing the street illegally.

Who Is Responsible for a Pedestrian Accident in Georgia?

Establishing fault in a pedestrian accident is usually dependent on the-right-of-way principle. Determining fault in a scenario where a driver struck a pedestrian with the right of way while they were on a crosswalk is typically straightforward. The driver will be held responsible for not yielding to the pedestrian while they were attempting to cross the street in a designated area. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For instance, if a pedestrian carelessly walks into oncoming traffic without giving drivers enough time to stop, chances are they pedestrian will be responsible for their own injuries.

Is Jaywalking Allowed in Georgia?

While jaywalking is legal in Georgia, it’s not the safest way to cross the street. However, if you’re left with no other choice, it’s important to yield the right of way to the vehicles on the road.

There are situations where both the pedestrian and the driver may share fault in accident. These situations include:

  • A pedestrian crossed the street outside a crosswalk, but the driver who hit them was intoxicated or wasn’t paying attention to the road at the time of the accident
  • The driver operated their vehicle without working headlights
  • The driver struck the pedestrian on purpose
  • The driver had enough visibility that they should have seen the pedestrian and enough time to stop but failed to do so


Even if the driver is found to be partially at fault for your injuries, you will likely only recover a percentage of your requested compensation since you did not have the right of way when the accident occurred.

How Can You Reduce Your Chances of Getting Injured in a Pedestrian Accident?

Not all Atlanta residents have the luxury of driving a car. If you’re someone who uses public transportation or walks to and from work, you can take several steps to minimize your risk of an injury while crossing the street. These steps include:

  • Walk on a sidewalk or crosswalk whenever possible
  • Avoid distractions while walking, such as using your cell phone, reading a book or listening to music on full blast
  • If you can’t locate a crosswalk, look for a well-lit intersection and wait until all oncoming traffic has cleared before crossing the street
  • Avoid crossing the street at night; if you must do so, wear bright clothes and reflective stickers or use a flashlight to make yourself more visible
  • Make eye contact with the driver to ensure they can see you

What Damages Can You Seek in a Pedestrian Accident?

If you’re a pedestrian who has suffered injuries at the hands of a negligent driver, you can file a personal injury claim with their insurance company.

You can request compensation for medical care, property damage, lost wages, future medical and rehabilitation costs and damages resulting from the mental pain and suffering you’ve endured.

Were You Injured in a Pedestrian Accident in Atlanta? Talk to a Pedestrian Accident Attorney

Were you injured by someone else’s negligent driving? Are you thinking about making a personal injury claim against the driver but you’re not sure where to start? Allow the experienced pedestrian accident attorneys at the Dressie Law Firm to help you get the compensation you deserve.

Contact our Atlanta office at 678-619-2977 for a free case evaluation.