Frequently Asked Pedestrian Accidents Questions
Pedestrian Accidents FAQ’s
What rights do pedestrians have under Georgia law?
Unlike car drivers, pedestrians aren’t shielded by a tough layer of steel when walking on a sidewalk or crossing a busy intersection. This makes them especially vulnerable to accidents involving cars, trucks and other vehicles. Under Georgia law, drivers are supposed to pay careful attention to pedestrians and yield to them when approaching crosswalks.
Some pedestrian-specific Georgia laws state:
- Pedestrians have the right-of-way in crosswalks
- Drivers are not allowed to park their vehicles on sidewalks
- Unless they’re in a crosswalk, pedestrians entering a road must yield to oncoming vehicles
- Drivers pulling into or out of an alley, driveway or private road must yield to pedestrians
When are motor vehicle drivers at fault for pedestrian accidents?
Pedestrians have the right-of-way over drivers when crossing the street in a crosswalk. If the driver fails to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk and hits them, the driver will likely be at fault for the accident.
If a pedestrian is approaching a crosswalk and is within one lane of incoming traffic, he or she has the right of way, even if they haven’t entered the crosswalk yet.
There are some exceptions to the pedestrian’s right-of-way in a crosswalk. For instance, when the “do not walk” sign is on the pedestrian does not legally have the right of way. A pedestrian who walks into traffic because they are distracted, or they are impaired by drugs or alcohol, may end up being partially or fully responsible for their own injuries.
What if the pedestrian was jaywalking?
Generally, pedestrians must yield to drivers if they’re crossing a street where there’s no crosswalk. However, if a pedestrian is hit by a driver who was speeding, intoxicated or driving at night without lights, the driver may be held liable for the accident, even if there was no crosswalk and the pedestrian was jaywalking.
The amount of fault shared by a driver in a jaywalking accident will depend on the driver’s behavior and whether they made adequate effort to avoid the accident (or if it was even possible to avoid the pedestrian).
Are pedestrians allowed to walk on the shoulder of a road?
Unless there’s a sidewalk to walk on, pedestrians can (and often must) walk on the shoulder of a road. While it’s permittable to use the shoulder if no sidewalk is available, pedestrians should walk as far away from the road as possible.
How can pedestrians avoid accidents and injuries?
While pedestrians cannot control the actions of drivers, there are several things they can do to minimize the risk of being struck by vehicles and suffering injuries:
- Crossing the street at designated crosswalks
- Looking both ways before entering a roadway
- Avoiding distractions like listening to music, texting or talking on the phone
- Wearing bright, reflective clothes, especially when walking at night
- Walking against traffic in areas where there are no sidewalks
What damages can I recover in a pedestrian accident?
If you were injured in a pedestrian accident and the driver was at fault, you can claim several different types of damages, including past and future medical expenses, lost wages and loss of future earning capacity.
You can also seek compensation for the pain, trauma and suffering you had to endure in the aftermath of your accident. It’s not uncommon for victims of pedestrian accidents to suffer from PTSD or emotional distress as a result of their injuries.
Some cases allow Georgia pedestrians to recover punitive damages. These are usually awarded if the at-fault driver’s actions were exceptionally negligent (like in a drunk driving accident) or the driver acted with malice.
How long do I have to file a personal injury civil lawsuit?
In Georgia, plaintiffs have two years from the day of their accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. This is commonly referred to as the statute of limitations.
The sooner you contact an Atlanta pedestrian accident lawyer, the more time they will have to help you gather necessary evidence and negotiate a fair settlement.
The driver was texting when they hit me. How can I prove this?
When you pursue a personal injury claim, you are solely responsible for proving your case. If you believe the driver who injured you was texting at the time of the accident, a personal injury lawyer can help you gather the necessary evidence to prove this.
Your attorney will likely have the power to subpoena the driver’s phone records. A subpoena is a legal order that requires the defendant to provide the requested documents. Once the attorney obtains the phone records, they will have invaluable insight into the driver’s phone activity, which will help determine if the defendant was texting during the time leading up to the accident.
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