Car 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 severe 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.
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, Georgia law requires the driver to pay damages to the pedestrian for the 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, the deadline for filing a pedestrian accident claim is two years after the time of the injury.
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.
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.