I Was Hit by a Vehicle While Crossing the Street; Who Is at Fault?

Feb 8, 2022

Motor Vehicle Accident Involving a Pedestrian: Who’s Really At Fault?


If a car hits a pedestrian who has the right-of-way, meaning they’re in a crosswalk (and they have a green walk indicator if they’re at an intersection with a stoplight) at the time of the accident, the driver will be at fault.

The pedestrian will be at least partially at fault if they are in the street illegally when the accident occurs. While you might still be able to collect damages (under no circumstances is it permissible for a vehicle to hit a pedestrian), you might not be entitled to full damages.

Pedestrian car accidents tend to result in more serious injuries than car or truck accidents. A person who gets hit by a car is at risk of being catastrophically or even fatally injured since they have no protection to shield them from the impact of the collision.

Suppose you’ve been hurt in a pedestrian car accident. In that case, it’s likely in your best interest to contact a personal injury lawyer who will help determine who is at fault and help you negotiate a fair claim settlement.

Read on to learn more about pedestrian accidents and personal injuries and what your rights are if you’ve been involved in a similar incident.


Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents


Pedestrian accidents can occur for various reasons, including but not limited to the following factors:

  • Distracted driving: The driver is distracted by their phone, eating, or any other activities that take their eyes off the road.
  • Failure to yield: Drivers fail to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks or stop signs.
  • Speeding: Speeding increases the likelihood of an accident, and it gives drivers less time to react to pedestrians crossing the street.
  • Intoxication: Drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs have reduced reaction times and are more likely to cause accidents involving pedestrians.

In some cases, the driver is not the only one at fault. Pedestrian accidents can also occur due to:

  • Pedestrian negligence: A pedestrian may cross the street illegally or not pay attention while walking.
  • Poor visibility: Inclement weather, poor lighting, and poorly marked crosswalks can make it difficult for drivers to see pedestrians, leading to accidents.


When Do Pedestrians Have the Right-of-Way in Georgia?


Under Georgia law, a pedestrian has the right-of-way if they’re crossing the street in a crosswalk. If there’s a red “don’t walk” sign at an intersection with a traffic light, pedestrians must wait for the light to change before they can legally cross in a crosswalk.

Drivers must yield to all pedestrians who are on the same side of the street as them or when the pedestrian is within one lane of the driver’s side of the street.


What if the Pedestrian Was Jaywalking?


If a pedestrian was hit by a vehicle but wasn’t in a crosswalk, determining who’s at fault may be a more complicated and ambiguous issue. Typically, if a person is crossing a street without a designated pedestrian crosswalk, the vehicle has the right-of-way over them.

However, drivers have a legal duty to avoid colliding with pedestrians, regardless of whether the pedestrian is on the road illegally or not. The only scenarios in which a driver could potentially be entirely without fault in a pedestrian accident are situations in which:

  • The pedestrian darts unexpectedly in front of oncoming traffic that doesn’t have adequate time to stop
  • The pedestrian is wearing dark clothing while crossing a dark street at night, and it is extremely difficult to see
  • The pedestrian illegally crosses the street at a particular time of day when the setting or rising sun is shining into the eyes of oncoming drivers, drastically reducing visibility
  • Weather conditions, such as fog or heavy rain, reduce visibility, and a driver doesn’t see a jaywalker until it is too late

Even in those scenarios, a judge or jury could still decide the driver shares some of the blame. For example, if the driver was speeding, drunk driving, or driving at night without their lights on, they will likely be found to be significantly at fault.

Georgia law allows pedestrians to have the right-of-way even when crossing a street or a road with no crosswalk as long as they practice caution. If a pedestrian takes adequate time to ensure they’re clear to cross the street, but a reckless driver comes out of nowhere and hits them, the law will likely side with the pedestrian.

There are often many variables in auto accidents, especially those involving pedestrians. If you’re not sure who is liable for your injury accident, it may be in your best interest to speak with a skilled pedestrian accident attorney.


What Damages Can a Pedestrian Recover?


If a driver who hits a pedestrian is determined to be at fault, traffic laws requires the driver to pay damages to the pedestrian for the life changing injuries they suffered. Common types of pedestrian accident damage include:

  • Medical bills: If the pedestrian’s injuries resulted in health care costs (emergency care, hospital stays, surgeries, physical therapy, etc.), they can be compensated for their past and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages: If the plaintiff is forced to miss several days, weeks, or months of work because of the injuries they suffered, they are entitled to compensation for their lost earnings
  • Pain and suffering: The injured pedestrian is entitled to damages for the physical and emotional pain they’ve suffered as a result of their accident
  • Wrongful death: If a pedestrian is killed in an accident, their family will be able to pursue monetary compensation for the loss of their loved one by filing a wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver


How Long Does an Injured Pedestrian Have to File an Accident Claim?


According to Georgia’s statute of limitations, a pedestrian accident claim must be filed two years after the injury occurs.

If you don’t file an injury claim or a lawsuit against the driver at fault within the two-year window, you will likely be barred from filing your claim. An experienced pedestrian accident lawyer can help ensure that all necessary paperwork is submitted in a timely manner and can walk you through each step of the legal process.


What to Do if You’ve Been Hit by a Vehicle While Crossing the Street


If you’ve been hit by a vehicle while crossing the street, it is essential to follow these steps:

  1. Seek medical attention: Call 911 immediately and get medical help for your injuries. Even if you feel fine, it’s crucial to seek medical attention as some injuries may not be apparent right away.
  2. Gather evidence: If possible, take pictures of the accident scene, your injuries, and any damage to your personal property. Get contact information from the driver and any witnesses who saw the accident.
  3. File a police report: It’s always best to have a police officer come to the scene and file an accident report. This will help establish facts about the collision that can be used in court if necessary.
  4. Contact a pedestrian accident attorney: An experienced pedestrian accident lawyer can help protect your rights and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. They can also handle communication with insurance companies on your behalf.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, don’t hesitate to seek legal help. With the guidance of an experienced attorney, you can get the compensation you need to cover medical bills, lost wages, and other damages caused by the accident.


How Can a Pedestrian Car Accident Attorney Help?


When you’re involved in a pedestrian car accident, the insurance company of the driver will likely try to settle the case quickly for an amount that might not be adequate to cover your damages. A personal injury attorney can make sure that you are receiving fair compensation for your losses.

Your lawyer can also help:

  • Gather evidence to prove- Negotiate with the driver’s insurance company on your behalf
  • Make sure the at-fault party is identified correctly
  • Represent you in court if needed

Working with a personal injury law firm to pursue a personal injury lawsuit is often the best way for you to recover all of the damages that you are entitled to. Your lawyer will be able to provide valuable insight and guidance as they fight on your behalf for a just outcome.


Our Atlanta Pedestrian Accident Attorneys Will Fight for Your Compensation


The experienced pedestrian and bicycle accident lawyers at Dressie Law Firm will carefully investigate the circumstances of your accident and gather the necessary evidence to help you get the compensation you deserve.

We understand the stress and financial burden of a serious injury, which is why we work quickly to resolve your case so that you can move forward with your life. Contact us today to discuss your pedestrian accident case and learn more about how we can help.

Request a free consultation by calling us at (678)-735-3734.