While any type of car accident can result in injuries to every party involved, those involving unprotected pedestrians often have especially severe consequences. Without the frame of a vehicle around them or any other safety measures to speak of, a person hit by a car while walking is at risk of suffering catastrophic harm, including broken bones, lacerations, internal organ damage, and life-altering brain and/or spine injuries.
If you or a loved one were struck by a negligent driver while you were walking, an Alpharetta pedestrian accident lawyer could help you pursue civil compensation for every injury and loss you suffered and will suffer as a result. Additionally, a qualified personal injury attorney could help you understand how Georgia traffic laws apply respectively to pedestrians and drivers, as well as contest any allegations of comparative fault made against you by the defendant in your case.
By far the most common cause of pedestrian accidents in Alpharetta and across the United States is distracted driving, particularly with cell phone usage. In fact, both drivers and pedestrians have an increased risk of being involved in an accident if they are focused on their phones instead of the road ahead.
Other major contributing factors to pedestrian accidents include:
Any of these behaviors could constitute negligence on a driver’s part and make them liable for any ensuing accident.
According to Official Code of Georgia §40-6-91, drivers must always stop and give the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks, and other drivers may not overtake a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk occupied by a pedestrian. If a driver fails to stop appropriately for a pedestrian in a crosswalk because they were driving recklessly, not paying attention, or impaired in any way, they may bear civil liability for any injuries they cause by striking that pedestrian.
However, under the aforementioned statute, pedestrians are also forbidden from walking out into the road so suddenly that an oncoming vehicle cannot reasonably stop in time to avoid hitting them. O.C.G.A. §40-6-22 further establishes that pedestrians must obey electronic signals showing when they can and cannot cross the street in a crosswalk. If a pedestrian is hit because they crossed the street improperly, they may bear partial liability for their injuries even if they were in a crosswalk at the time.
Under O.C.G.A. §51-12-33, a civil plaintiff may have their recoverable compensation reduced by whatever percentage of fault they bear for their own accident, or they may be barred from recovering anything at all if they are more than 50 percent to blame. Representation from an Alpharetta pedestrian accident attorney is often crucial to ensuring comparative negligence does not unduly restrict an injured plaintiff’s recovery.
Under O.C.G.A. §40-6-144, motor vehicle drivers emerging from alleys, driveways, and/or building garages must stop before crossing a sidewalk and give the right-of-way to any pedestrians nearby. Failing to do so may confer civil liability in the event of a pedestrian accident, as may operating a motor vehicle on a sidewalk in any other contexts other than an attempt to avoid an accident.
Comparative liability is typically not a significant factor in pedestrian crashes on sidewalks in Alpharetta, as a seasoned lawyer could affirm. However, the same two-year statutory filing deadline set by O.C.G.A. §9-3-33 applies to all civil cases based on pedestrian accidents, so it is often still important to work with legal counsel to ensure this deadline is not missed.
Officially, “jaywalking” is not a defined term under Georgia state law, nor is it expressly illegal for a person in Alpharetta to jaywalk. In fact, O.C.G.A. §40-6-82 explicitly allows pedestrians to cross the street without using a crosswalk so long as they yield to oncoming traffic. Therefore, it may still be possible for a person to file suit if they are struck by a careless driver.
However, it is illegal for a pedestrian to cross the street without using a crosswalk if a crosswalk is available nearby. Furthermore, anyone who does cross the street outside of a crosswalk must cross in a straight line rather than diagonally. Failure to obey either of these rules may limit a pedestrian’s chances of civil recovery, since they would be partially at fault for the ensuing accident.
In the immediate aftermath of a pedestrian accident as well as in the days following, it is important to collect as much evidence as possible. This information can help establish what happened and what each involved party was doing right before the incident. Potential plaintiffs should take pictures of the scene, note vehicle damage and the presence or absence of skid marks, see if any nearby security cameras caught the accident on film, and get contact information from witnesses to the crash.
Most importantly, injured parties should try to obtain the police report filed by the responding officer and retain all medical documentation for treatment sought after the crash. A skilled legal professional could help with collecting this evidence and use it to build a convincing and comprehensive case for restitution.
While pedestrians may be particularly susceptible to serious injuries in traffic accidents, that does not mean it is always easy to recover compensation after being struck by a vehicle while walking. Especially in cases involving incidents in or around crosswalks, defendants often try to accuse plaintiffs of being partially responsible for their own injuries, which could potentially reduce their final damage award or even bar them from recovery altogether.
Fortunately, an Alpharetta pedestrian accident lawyer could help you prove liability on the part of the driver who hit you while also working to ensure you recover as much compensation as you need and deserve. Call today to schedule a consultation.