Motor Vehicle-Pedestrian Accidents Happen More Often Than You Think

In a study released earlier this year, the Governor’s Highway Safety Association reported that Georgia ranked 16th in the nation in the number of pedestrian traffic fatalities. While every other type of traffic fatality decreased, pedestrian fatalities increased by 27% from 2007 to 2016. These are alarming statistics that underscore the importance of increasing our efforts to make sure our roadways are safe for everyone, not just motorists. However, these numbers also serve as a sobering reminder of the risks you face every time you go out for a walk. And of course, these risks include very serious injury and even death.

You May Be Entitled to Compensation

If you or a family member were injured in an accident as a pedestrian, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. However, in order to receive compensation, you need to prove that the driver owed you a duty – namely to drive in a manner so as not to cause you injury. You then have to prove that the driver breached that duty, typically by driving negligently. Finally, you have to prove that the driver’s breach of his duty to you caused the accident and thereby caused your injury.  

Common Causes of Motor Vehicle-Pedestrian Accidents

Whenever a pedestrian is hit by a car, people typically assume that the driver committed some severe wrong. Unfortunately, this is not the case – pedestrian accidents are typically caused by the same lapses that cause other accidents.  These could include:

  • Distracted driving, especially phone usage
  • Speeding
  • Failure to obey traffic laws
  • Running stop signs and stop lights
  • Disregarding weather or road conditions
  • Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol

Georgia Law

Georgia law specifically addresses what drivers are supposed to do when they encounter a pedestrian on the road.   

Georgia Code Section 40-6-91 establishes the right of way for pedestrians while in a crosswalk: the driver shall stop and remain stopped when a pedestrian is (1) in a crosswalk and (2) on the same half of the roadway as the driver or within one lane of the driver’s side of the roadway.  In other words, the driver cannot attempt to squeeze by, drive around, or otherwise try to get by the pedestrian. The driver must come to a stop.

Georgia Code Section 40-6-92, on the other hand, requires the pedestrian to yield the right of way to vehicles on the road when crossing somewhere other than the crosswalk.  However, it is very important to note that once the pedestrian has safely entered the roadway, drivers are obligated to yield the right of way to the pedestrian.

When the Pedestrian is at Fault

It is critically important to understand the law concerning pedestrians. If the pedestrian has failed to follow the law, he or she may be considered to be contributorily negligent, which may affect his or her ability to seek recovery from an accident. For example, crossing the road when the signal says “Don’t Walk” or walking while intoxicated may be factors that prohibit recovering from the accident.    

Contact an Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney

The lawyers at Slappey & Sadd have been helping accident victims for over twenty-five years, including pedestrians. If you or a loved one have been injured as a pedestrian, we can help you with your case. Call us at 404-255-6677 or send us an email in order to schedule a free consultation.

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