Pedestrian accidents are a big problem in Georgia. Statistics by the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety recorded 236 pedestrian fatalities across the state in 2019, the second-highest in over a decade. The State of Georgia Road Safety Performance Review identified pedestrian’ right of way’ attitude as one of the leading causes of accidents and the confusion over responsibility.
While every road user has a right to use a public road, pedestrians must remember they have a responsibility to follow traffic rules, just like everyone else. In crosswalks, drivers must yield the way to pedestrians. However, in some cases, a pedestrian is expected to yield to oncoming vehicle traffic.
The question of who is at fault in an accident occurs when both the driver and the pedestrian expect the other to yield the way is not easy to answer. This is why both the driver and pedestrian need a lawyer.
If you are in a pedestrian accident, you must know the process of establishing responsibility whether you are the driver or pedestrian. More importantly, it is a good idea to talk to a pedestrian accident law firm to get a qualified professional to examine the details of the accident and help you understand your options.
What is Your Legal Claim as a Pedestrian in a Crosswalk Accident?
The law recognizes that pedestrians are more vulnerable to injury in the event of a road accident. Consequently, the law in Georgia grants all pedestrians some elevated rights over the use of public roads.
Pedestrian Right of Way
A crosswalk is a designated area of a road where a pedestrian can safely cross the road or street. In Georgia, a crosswalk is marked with black and white stripes of paint or bricks. A crosswalk may have controlling traffic lights that designate the moments when pedestrians can walk across the crosswalk, but many do not.
Although most crosswalks in Georgia are clearly marked for both pedestrians and drivers to see, crosswalk markings are not a legal requirement on roads. Drivers are, however, required to watch out for pedestrians while driving. They are also required to exercise extra care to avoid hitting them – even away from crosswalks.
Drivers are also required to yield to pedestrians on a crosswalk. They should not attempt to squeeze their vehicles through pedestrians walking the street and must not cut them off. or Pedestrians have the right of way on sidewalks. To improve pedestrians’ safety, the law demands that drivers bring their vehicles to a come stop and wait for the pedestrian to reach the opposite end of the crosswalk.
Can the Pedestrian be at Fault?
Note that while the law accords a pedestrian preference over drivers, the right of way is not absolute. A person on foot may also be held fully or partially at fault for an accident on a crosswalk. For instance, if you leave a safe location on the side of the road, such as the curb, and run or walk into the path of a vehicle, you would be at fault for the accident if it is practically impossible for the driver to yield effectively on time.
The law also holds pedestrians responsible for accidents on a crosswalk if they ignore traffic signals. When using a crosswalk with traffic lights, a pedestrian should not attempt to cross the road as long as the ‘Don’t Walk Light’ is on. They must remember not to cross the street when the ‘Walk’ signal is still flashing either.
How Fault is Determined in a Pedestrian Accident Case
Understanding what the law says regarding pedestrian accidents is one step in successfully seeking justice in a road accident case. Every accident victim wishes for a favorable verdict in a case in which they are victims. When you entrust your legal pedestrian accident case to an experienced team of lawyers, they will evaluate it and advise the best way forward.
If you were struck by a negligent driver on a crosswalk or by a vehicle that veered onto the sidewalk, you should find the best representation to collect the maximum damages you deserve. It takes time, effort, and resources for the victim’s lawyer to establish the cause of the accident, such as driver negligence. The lawyer will have to establish circumstances such as the time of the day and lighting conditions, the speed of the car, and whether the driver was distracted.
There is an easy rule of thumb that lawyers use to determine who is at fault in a pedestrian accident. They start by establishing who had the right of way at the time and point of the pedestrian accident. Despite how straightforward it sounds, your lawyer must study the police report, collect video evidence, and interview witnesses when necessary. Since many businesses with surveillance cameras in Georgia only keep their footage for a few days, an accident victim must move fast to provide all the necessary information for the lawyer to collect all required information to build a water-tight case.
How Jaywalking and Negligence Can Affect a Pedestrian Accident Case
The state of Georgia does not recognize jaywalking as a traffic offense. However, the term is generally understood to describe the action of a pedestrian attempting to cross the road in an area not designated as a crosswalk. Jaywalking may be illegal in some states, but it is not in Georgia. This means that as a pedestrian, you can cross the road at any point provided you yield to oncoming traffic.
Many cases of pedestrian accidents in Georgia revolve around the argument of negligence, with drivers often ready to accuse the pedestrian of failing to be reasonably careful. Whether the driver or the pedestrian was negligent depends on many factors, some of which can be proven in a court of law. It is the responsibility of the pedestrian accident lawyer to prove the other party culpable of the accident and absolve their client of fault.
Take the First Step: Talk to an Accident Lawyer
The first and most crucial step to take when you are involved in a pedestrian accident is to talk to an experienced lawyer. Cambre and Associates is a family of young, fresh, energetic, and modern attorneys and counselors at law who have made it their responsibility to help victims get through pedestrian accidents.
Cambre & Associates uses a team-approach to put together water-tight cases and ensure speedy and thorough investigations. To get your pedestrian accident case analyzed by a sharp legal mind, talk to an attorney at Cambre & Associates for free today.