School Zone Pedestrian Accidents
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Everything You Should Know About School Zone Pedestrian Accidents
School zones are highly protected areas with marked crosswalks and reduced speed limits. However, pedestrian accidents in school zones still occur at an alarming rate, with five teen students killed each week, according to a report by Safe Kids Worldwide. The number of fatalities from teen school zone accidents has increased by 13% since 2013. In 2015, teen pedestrians between 15 and 19 made up nearly half of pedestrian fatalities.
School zone accidents differ from other accidents because they often involve children as the victims. Here’s what that means from a legal perspective:
Since children can’t represent themselves in court, lawsuits are filed by their parents, guardians, or legal representatives.
School zones are considered high-risk areas, so drivers are held to a higher duty of care.
Minor pedestrians are rarely considered contributorily negligent and are held to a lower standard than adults.
Common Causes of Accidents in School Zones
School zone crashes are caused by various factors. However, distracted driving is among the leading causes. Other common causes of accidents include the following:
Inadequate infrastructure, such as missing crossroad markings
Reckless driving, such as ignoring speed limit signs and other traffic rules
Driving under the influence (DUI)
Unsafe drop-off and pick-up behavior
Limited visibility and unpredictable behavior from small children
Distracted pedestrians, such as crossing while wearing headphones, texting, or talking
Liability in Pedestrian Accidents in School Zones
Understanding fault in pedestrian accidents can help you determine the right course of action if your child is a victim of a school zone accident. Drivers, school bus drivers, pedestrians, and local authorities can be liable for such accidents.
However, drivers and other motorists are required to exercise caution in school zones. When they are negligent, they are often the liable party. Driver negligence includes:
Using a cell phone while driving
Ignoring traffic signals
Driving in any kind of unsafe manner or failing to abide by school zone laws can lead to penalties even if no crash occurs.
If an accident is caused by a lack of safety measures, traffic signs, or poor road conditions, the local authorities may also be held liable. Pedestrians can also be held liable if their negligence or violation of traffic rules caused the accident, as they don’t have the right of way outside of a crosswalk.
Georgia follows the modified comparative rule to determine compensation based on fault. Under this rule, the victim can recover compensation even if partially at fault, provided that it doesn’t exceed 49%. If more than one party is found liable, they pay the victim’s damages based on their percentage of fault.
What to Do If Involved in a School Zone Accident
If you or your child has been involved in a pedestrian accident within a school zone, seek medical attention immediately. Let a licensed practitioner assess all serious injuries and keep all receipts of your medical bills. You can also contact a lawyer to start building your case.
Speaking to a lawyer is important if you want compensation for accident injuries and other damages. You can leverage our free consultation to talk to lawyers at Dressie Law Firm. We have decades-long experience in personal injury cases, including pedestrian accidents.
Navigating the Claims Process
Following a crash, you must file a personal injury claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company to recover damages, including medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, disability, and more.
Your lawyer will file a claim on your behalf and negotiate a fair settlement. They will investigate the case, estimate your damages, and advocate for your and your child’s rights. If negotiation fails, you can take your claim to court. Although lengthy and costly, litigation can bring you a higher compensation amount.
Dressie Law Firm has competent lawyers who are readily available to assist you if injured in a school zone pedestrian accident.
Safety Measures and Prevention
School zone safety measures can reduce the chances of a car accident and serious injury. Drivers, pedestrians, local authorities, and schools are all responsible for protecting children in school zones. Common safety measures and prevention guidelines include the following:
Reducing speed limits in school zones to give drivers more time to react to unpredicted situations
Maintaining visible signs and markings, including speed limit signs, zone markers, pedestrian crossing signs, and crosswalks
Adding flashing lights and beacons near crosswalks to alert drivers to slow down
Using physical speed bumps in school zones to regulate speed and make drivers slow down
Adding marked crosswalks and pedestrian islands to provide safe passage for students
Using safety programs and initiatives to help bring awareness to school zone safety practices
Schools and local governments can do more to prevent accidents. Local authorities can increase law enforcement presence to deter reckless drivers, and schools can also deploy crossing guards to assist pedestrians in crossing busy intersections.
Other measures include periodic zone audits to assess traffic flow, potential hazards, and improvement areas. Drivers found violating traffic rules can also get harsher penalties, including jail term and loss of driving license.
Contact Dressie Law Firm For a Free Consultation
Pedestrian accidents are often very serious, leading to severe injuries, disabilities, and death. When these occur in and around school zones, they become even more fatal and heartbreaking. Children are supposed to be safe on their way to and from school, but unfortunately, accidents still happen.
If you or your child is a victim of a pedestrian accident in a school zone, our personal injury lawyers at Dressie Law Firm are here for you.
Dressie Law Firm has been the go-to personal injury law firm for the Atlanta community for years, helping those unlawfully injured receive full compensation. With our experienced, compassionate, and dedicated team of personal injury professionals, you can rest assured that your case is in the right hands.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation!
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