What to Do if You Are a Pedestrian Who Was Struck by a Car
With the large number of cars on Georgia’s roads, it doesn't seem like a surprise that hundreds of traffic accidents occur every day. If you personally haven’t been involved in a car crash, you certainly have a friend or family member who has. However, it’s less likely that you’ve experienced being a pedestrian hit by a car, and these accidents can be some of the most horrific. In fact, in 2021, according to Georgia’s Office of Highway Safety, there were 306 pedestrians who lost their lives due to traffic accidents.
If you or a loved one has recently been in a pedestrian accident and you’d like help filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim, contact The Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, LLC for compassionate legal assistance. Attorney Walter Gabriel is proud to represent those around Atlanta, Dunwoody, and Alexandria, Georgia.
In any accident case, the first task is to figure out who was at fault, but determining liability in a pedestrian accident can be more complicated than you may expect. Each state sets out its own laws about a pedestrian’s right of way, and it’s essential to understand these before you can begin assigning blame. Both drivers and pedestrians should be aware of the state’s laws and the responsibilities involved. When determining liability in a personal injury claim, both sides will investigate to see whether the pedestrian and driver were following the rules of the road.
Obey any pedestrian traffic control device (ie. a walk sign or crosswalk).
Never leave a curb or the side of the road and move into traffic so suddenly that cars are unable to properly yield.
If you’re not crossing at a marked or unmarked crosswalk, you should yield to oncoming traffic.
You may not cross an intersection diagonally unless indicated by a sign or a law enforcement officer.
You may not start to walk across the street if the “DON’T WALK” sign is flashing or steady.
Must stop and stay stopped at any marked or unmarked crosswalk to let a pedestrian cross till they are at least halfway across (i.e. out of your lanes of travel).
No driver can overtake or pass another driver who is lawfully stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross.
All drivers must use caution to avoid any collision with a pedestrian and may use their horn to warn the pedestrian of danger.
Both pedestrians and drivers should exercise extreme caution when traveling in hazardous conditions be it a construction zone or inclement weather. Drivers should reduce their speed and watch for pedestrians.
Georgia is a “fault” state regarding accident claims, meaning whoever is found to be at fault for causing the accident is also responsible for paying any damages related to the accident. That said, Georgia also follows a comparative fault model, which states that fault can also be shared by the two parties. For instance, if a car is taking a right turn without signaling and hits a pedestrian who is crossing the street, but it was found that the pedestrian was looking at their phone and didn’t check to see if a car was coming, both parties could be found liable. In this case, the driver may be found to be 70% at fault and the pedestrian 30%, so the pedestrian’s final settlement would then be reduced by 30% to adjust for their share of liability.
Statute of Limitations
For both personal injury and wrongful death suits, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim. Only in very limited cases will a judge hear a lawsuit that extends past this date. This may seem like a lot of time, but it will pass by more quickly than you expect, so it’s best to contact a pedestrian accident attorney right away.
The damages you seek will depend on the nature of your case, but they all must be directly related to your accident and can include:
Pain and suffering
Funeral and burial expenses
Loss of consortium
What steps Should I Take Next?
The first step, whether you were the victim, or if you’re representing a loved one who lost their life, is to contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Your lawyer can help you understand the process of filing a claim and what you can expect in the coming weeks and months. They can then help get you the medical care you need, gather evidence and documentation, contact and interview witnesses, and advocate on your behalf with the insurance provider or the other party’s legal team.
Pedestrian Accident Attorney Serving Atlanta, Georgia
If you’re in the Atlanta, Georgia, area and want to speak with a lawyer about a recent pedestrian accident, call The Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, LLC, to schedule an appointment. An attorney at the firm can walk you through the entire process while keeping your best interests in mind.