Every year, thousands of pedestrians pass away in motor vehicle collisions. In a busy city like Atlanta, pedestrian accidents are inevitable. Distracted and careless drivers roll through stop signs and fail to yield the right-of-way to people in crosswalks. These acts of negligence severely injure and kill innocent pedestrians in The Peach State on an almost daily basis. If you suffered serious injuries while on foot, such as broken bones or brain injury in a pedestrian crash in Georgia, you need to schedule a legal consultation with the experienced Atlanta pedestrian accident lawyer team at Butler Wooten & Peak LLP. You may have grounds for financial recovery. Call today! (404) 321-1700
Pedestrians have little protection from the force of an oncoming vehicle, so many pedestrian accidents end with severe injuries or fatalities. Some of the most common injuries resulting from pedestrian accidents include:
Victims of pedestrian accidents can seek compensation for all their medical expenses resulting from the accident. This can include hospital bills as well as surgery fees, emergency medical transportation costs, prescription costs, and any other expenses related to medical treatment. However, the plaintiff will need to provide extensive proof that these damages directly resulted from the pedestrian accident and not some other cause.
In addition to medical expenses, plaintiffs in pedestrian accident cases may also seek compensation for their physical pain and mental suffering after an accident. A plaintiff’s attorney will need to secure testimony from expert witnesses to provide the court with an accurate portrayal of the plaintiff’s pain and suffering. If a pedestrian accident results in destroyed personal property or lost income from missed time at work, the victim can pursue compensation for these damages as well.
It’s vital for anyone who has suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident to seek legal counsel before accepting any settlement offers from insurance companies or the at-fault party. A good attorney will advise a full medical review, so you know exactly what to expect from your injuries in terms of future medical costs, motor function, and ability to work. Accepting a settlement offer without legal counsel may bar you from future recovery if the full extent of your damages exceeds the settlement amount.
In determining eligibility for compensation, one must first consider civil liability for the pedestrian accident. “Pedestrians always have the right of way” is a common misconception in Atlanta. While drivers do have to yield to pedestrians in most cases, walkers must still obey traffic signals and walk signs. Stepping out into traffic without waiting for the walk signal can lead to liability for a subsequent collision – at least in part.
To succeed with a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff will need to prove the negligence of the defendant and that the defendant’s negligence directly resulted in the plaintiff’s damages. It is the plaintiff’s responsibility to establish that the defendant owed a duty of care under the circumstances and then show the court how the defendant violated their duty. Next, the plaintiff will need to provide evidence that shows the extent of his or her losses and proof they resulted directly from the defendant’s negligence and not some other cause. While a pedestrian accident involving a driver striking a pedestrian may seem like a straightforward case, this isn’t always true. It’s possible for a pedestrian to share some of the liability for a pedestrian accident.
Comparative negligence is a common defense tactic in pedestrian accidents in Atlanta. The vehicle driver could allege that the pedestrian was texting and walking, then stepped into the crosswalk without looking for oncoming traffic. In the event that the courts split liability between the plaintiff and the defendant, this does not bar the plaintiff from financial recovery. Georgia’s modified comparative negligence laws offer the opportunity for compensation as long as the plaintiff is less than 50% at fault for the incident.
If a plaintiff shares any fault for the accident in question, a jury assigns a fault percentage to all parties involved. The plaintiff then loses his or her fault percentage of the case award. For example, in a $50,000 case in which the plaintiff is 10% at fault, the plaintiff loses 10% or $5,000 of the awarded compensation, receiving $45,000 instead.
Minimizing your own degree of fault for a pedestrian accident can require help from an attorney. A lawyer can investigate the collision, gather eyewitness statements, and hire expert witnesses to testify on your behalf. These measures may help prove the driver of the vehicle was mostly or entirely at fault for your injuries.
A recent study conducted by Smart Growth America concluded that Atlanta ranks eighth in the nation among the most dangerous cities for pedestrians. City officials note that many pedestrians in the Atlanta area simply walk where they should not, and many drivers disregard traffic signals. Pedestrians walking on highways are at exceptionally high risk of suffering serious injuries, and many pedestrian accidents in the Atlanta area occur on Buford Highway, Covington Highway, Tara Boulevard, and South Cobb Drive.
Most pedestrian accidents in Atlanta happen at night and at non-intersection locations. This points to a marked problem with jaywalking in the city. “Jaywalking” refers to pedestrians crossing streets where there is no intersection or marked crosswalk. If a car strikes you while jaywalking, you may be most at fault for the accident. However, it may be possible to prove comparative negligence if the driver was drunk, speeding, distracted, or otherwise driving recklessly.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports about one pedestrian death every 1.6 hours in the U.S. due to collisions with vehicles. The population most at risk of injury and death in pedestrian accidents are adults 65 and older, followed by children 15 and under. Almost half (48%) of pedestrian accidents in one year’s time in the U.S. involved alcohol consumption on the part of the pedestrian or intoxicated vehicle driver. Alcohol can impair the senses enough to make it highly dangerous to walk the bustling sidewalks and streets of Atlanta. Speeding is another significant risk factor, since drivers may not be able to stop in time to avoid colliding with crossing pedestrians.
If your incident wasn’t the fault of the driver, but a party such as the staff responsible for maintaining walk signals, you could pursue a lawsuit against the third party. For help with pedestrian accident claims in Georgia, call the accident lawyers at Butler Wooten & Peak, LLP in Atlanta at (404) 321-1700 or toll-free at (800) 242-2962 or get in touch online.