Atlanta Pedestrian Injury Attorney
Pedestrian accidents are among the most dangerous, as — like accidents involving motorcyclists — there is little to protect the plaintiff-victim from injury. When a motor vehicle collides with a pedestrian, the full force of impact is felt by the injured pedestrian. This can lead to catastrophic or even fatal injuries. According to aggregate data collected and reported on by Louisiana State University, there were 127 pedestrian deaths in 2016 alone (in keeping with the national pedestrian death toll of 6,000 total).
If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident, then Georgia and Louisiana law may give a right of action against the defendant (or multiple defendants, depending on the circumstances) for significant damages. All injury claims have a statutory deadline by which you must file a lawsuit or lose access to formal legal recovery – the general rule is that an injured pedestrian has two years to file a lawsuit in Georgia, and a pedestrian injury claim has only one year before a lawsuit must be filed in Louisiana. We encourage you to contact the Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, LLC for comprehensive and timely assistance with your dispute.
Many pedestrians mistakenly assume that by walking through a crosswalk, they are “safe” from incoming traffic. In truth, however, crosswalks are often poorly designed and maintained, and as such, may expose the pedestrian to an unreasonable risk of harm. For example, if the crosswalk has been poorly maintained, the “crossing light” might not activate when the pedestrian presses the button. This can trick the pedestrian into crossing during heavy traffic conditions, thinking that incoming motor vehicles will stop due to the light (when in fact the light is defective).
Crosswalks can be hazardous for a number of reasons, including:
- Poor visibility upon approach
- Inadequate signage
- Inadequate traffic control signals
- Inadequate maintenance
- Failure to consider circumstantial factors (i.e., crosswalks near schools and hospitals must take into account the likely users)
- And more.
In the event that a crosswalk hazard has contributed to your pedestrian injury, you may be entitled to bring a pedestrian injury claim against the individual or entity responsible for designing, implementing, or maintaining the crosswalk. For example, if a crosswalk was not properly maintained, leading to a defective traffic signal that caused you to suffer injuries, then you could ostensibly sue and recover damages from the city government for failing to properly maintain such crosswalk. Keep in mind, however, the rule that provides injured claimants only 6 months before properly serving the at-fault city in Georgia with an ante litem notice.
Availability of Car Insurance for Pedestrians
If a pedestrian injury occurs because the pedestrian is struck by a car, the pedestrian is able to recover for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, future medical bills, loss of enjoyment of life, and other consequential damages sustained from the at-fault driver’s car insurance policy. Furthermore, the pedestrian is able to recover from the pedestrian’s own uninsured motorist policy. This is the case if the driver did not have insurance, and also if the at-fault driver had insufficient insurance coverage to compensate the pedestrian injury victim.
Comparative Fault/ Pure Comparative Fault
Georgia applies the doctrine of comparative fault. Under this doctrine, if the injured person is found to be 50 percent or more responsible for the accident that caused their own injuries, then the person cannot recover monetary damages. Therefore, if a claimant decides to take a pedestrian injury claim to litigation, the claimant must ensure that the pedestrian’s culpability in the incident is far less than that of the motorist.
Louisiana applies the doctrine of pure comparative fault. Under the pure comparative fault doctrine, an injured plaintiff may recover damages even if they are partially liable for their own injuries. In fact, pure comparative fault empowers a plaintiff to recover damages even if they are found 99 percent at-fault for their own injuries. This makes injury claims less risky to pursue in Louisiana.
In any injury case, the court will evaluate the fault contribution of each party — the damages liability will be assigned in accordance with such fault. How does this work? Suppose that you are hit by a car while crossing the road. Your damages total $50,000. The court determines that you were 20 percent at-fault, as you did not adequately assess traffic conditions before crossing the road. You would be entitled to recover up to $40,000 (80 percent of the maximum potential damages).
Hit and Run Injuries
If the defendant-driver committed a hit and run, then — as the pedestrian plaintiff — your case will be significant impacted. For example, in some cases, it may be a challenge to identify the liable driver, as there may not be video, photo, or other evidence of the incident. In pedestrian injury cases under this scenario, it is critical for a claimant’s attorney to be fully aware of uninsured motorist laws that would apply to the injured pedestrian.
If you can determine the identity of the hit and run driver, however, then you will likely have an advantage during litigation. The fact that the driver fled the scene is almost certain to damage their legitimacy before a jury, which will create a negative bias against them that is to your benefit overall. Further, if the circumstances indicate that the defendant-driver was particularly wanton or reckless in their disregard of your safety, then the court may award bonus punitive damages.
Contact an Experienced Atlanta Pedestrian Injury Attorney
The Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, LLC is a personal injury litigation firm with experience handling a range of claims — including pedestrian injury lawsuits.
We are committed to the provision of client-oriented representation. We develop a close and collaborative relationship with our clients. This enables us to tailor our advocacy to the particular needs, goals, and limitations of the client, and ensures that we have an informational advantage that we can use to act decisively on your behalf.
Ready to have your claims evaluated by an experienced Atlanta pedestrian injury attorney at the Law Firm of Walter Gabriel? Call 404-549-6742 or send us a message online to schedule a free and confidential consultation today.